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Recording History by Barbara Newman

In 1979, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and the Dance Film Archive of the University of Rochester in New York restored 15 minutes of silent film shot between 1902 and 1906 and featuring the leading artists of the Royal Danish Ballet. Nine tiny ballet excerpts sprang to life, with added piano accompaniment matching the appropriate music […]

Risks Worth Taking by Barbara Newman

In 1921 when Serge Diaghilev produced The Sleeping Princess (commonly called The Sleeping Beauty) in London, he had trouble selling it. Accustomed to an assortment of styles, subjects, music and design in every programme, the public was disappointed by the endless string of classical ensembles and variations, and the production closed halfway through its intended […]

Come Again

Barbara Newman considers works by Richard Alston and Alain Platel Violette Verdy once told me, “Style is a moving field, moving sand. It can be reproduced but it doesn’t always necessarily reflect something that is present or actual, so it has to be done for itself, as a demonstration. It’s like yoga. Yoga is not […]

New choreography

In 1947, having hit the big time only three years earlier with his first ballet, Fancy Free, Jerome Robbins began choreographing his fourth Broadway musical. A satire about a touring Russian ballet company and the stage-struck heiress who keeps it afloat, the show, which lasted for 188 performances, was called Look Ma, I’m Dancin’! That’s […]

Log-in From London – February 2018

Emerging contemporary choreographers, flamenco and Shakespeare dominated February’s dance scene in London. The annual Flamenco Festival London took up residency at Sadler’s Wells for a fortnight, while another annual festival, Resolution, came to a close at The Place. The month ended with three successive shows – each in a very different dance form – based […]

Permeable Borders

By Barbara Newman When is it dance and when is it theatre? Before Pina Bausch turned up in the early 1980s, the term dance-theatre wasn’t bandied about as often as it is now. The defining lines were still quite firmly drawn, so when you booked a performance, you knew what to expect. Mark Bruce has […]

Jerome Robbins Centennial

Daniel Pratt attends Miami City Ballet’s Jerome Robbins Centennial Celebrations I saw Miami City Ballet for the first time in March 2017 and it prompted me to write an appreciation of the company in my July blog. February was my birthday month, so for an early birthday treat I made another trip to see the […]

Log-in From London

In the third instalment of his regular blogs, Graham Watts, summarises the dance he has seen in London during December 2017 and January 2018 Nuts for Christmas, Resolutions for the New Year: dance mirrored most of our lives at the turn of this past year. December’s dance in London was dominated by The Nutcracker, with […]

Daniel Pratt considers Conversations on Dance

January is a time for reinvention and renewal. Looking back over more than a year of this blog, I wrote in my first post that I wanted “to reveal something of the voice of the dancer”. Bringing that intention into fresh focus for 2018 is Conversations on Dance, a fantastic podcast I discovered last year. […]

The Brexit Effect by Barbara Newman

Are you worried about Brexit? You should be. Its impact on the arts in the UK could be greater than you might anticipate. In the February issue of Dancing Times, an excellent letter to the editor from Fiona Biddulph in Rutland raises important questions about the opportunities for British dancers that may be limited by […]

Barbara Newman offers some ideas for New Year’s Gifts

On New Year’s Eve, New York City Ballet used to slide tiny jokes into The Nutcracker – I don’t know if this tradition continues – to delight the cognoscenti and relieve the dancers’ exhaustion after weeks of performing the same ballet. If you’re also tired of fairytales and eager for a change of pace, you […]

Daniel Pratt celebrates The Nutcracker

Clement Crisp and Peter Brinson wrote pithily of The Nutcracker: “other productions proliferate.” This 1892 ballet is seen across the globe in countless versions and is an obligatory ingredient to the perfect Christmas. Though dancers – and critics – can groan at the annual reappearance of the work, it occupies a special place in our […]

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