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Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s LAC in Melbourne

It’s strange where you find yourself watching ballets. I was in Melbourne during the summer and through good fortune finally got to see Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo after years of admiring its dancers from afar. Directed by Jean-Christophe Maillot, the company exuded glamour in my mind. Alluringly feline in its movements, the company stretches the […]

Alvin Ailey and Deborah Hay in London

In 1958, the choreographer Alvin Ailey combined seven black dancers and his urge to celebrate black culture in a new company called the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Integrated with white and Asian performers in 1964, it drew its repertoire from an equally multiracial collection of choreographers, including José Limón, Donald McKayle, Anna Sokolow and […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 2

Ah, the Strictly Week 2 comedown – very much the morning after to Week 1’s revelry. It didn’t help that the show was frontloaded with… let’s say imperfect performances, meaning viewers really had to hang on in there before finally getting to ballroom boys Kelvin and Karim, plus Michelle Visage Wears, Dances, Eats, Loves, IS […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 1

And we’re off! Strictly Come Dancing Series 17 began its competition proper with a surprisingly buoyant show, overcoming both a marked lack of enthusiasm about this year’s casting and (for the most part) the usual first dance jitters. Instead, numerous exciting pairings whet the appetite for a strong year – not to mention, you know, […]

Strictly Speaking 2019: The Launch

Marianka Swain introduces the Class of 2019 Hello and welcome back to the safe, lovely, happy, sparkly world of Strictly Come Dancing! Here there are no rogues proroguing (just the odd lord – or maybe viscountess – a-leaping), and the only Article 50 we are concerned with is the 50th consecutive bewildering article of clothing […]

Dance with confidence

Well, it had to happen eventually, but it’s that “back to school” time of year! Dancers are already busy preparing their dance kits, and also looking for great things to buy, so to coincide BLOCH has just launched its brand-new Back to School campaign. Titled “Dance With Confidence”, BLOCH wants dancers to feel inspired, confident, […]

Budding stars

In 2013, French television broadcast a six-part series titled Graines d’Étoiles (Budding Stars), in which the director Françoise Marie documented a year’s activity inside the Paris Opéra Ballet School. Housed in gleaming premises in Nanterre, seven miles from Paris, the school numbers about 130 pupils aged eight to 18, nearly two-thirds of whom board full-time. […]

Rainbow interpretations

The LGBT+ movement still has plenty of battles to fight, but finding representation in the theatre is not one of them. The Southbank Centre has launched a season of “queer cabaret, drag kings and queens, and DJ collectives” that runs through the summer, featuring dance, comedy, films, happenings and exhibitions, many of them free, from […]

Inspiring artists

Isn’t it curious how much ballet dancers differ? By the time they can call themselves professional, they’ve been taught to respect the academic vocabulary and deliver it with precision. Most performers honour those twin obligations faithfully even if they lack imagination, but many go further. The Royal Ballet’s revival of A Month in the Country […]

Giselle

Back in April, I worked on Peter Wright’s version of the Romantic ballet Giselle. It’s a piece that continues to capture our imaginations because it examines both the euphoria, and the destructive capacity of love. Having the opportunity to be coached by Wright in the studio was fascinating, and working with several casts of principals […]

The Four Temperaments at Miami City Ballet

I saw George Balanchine’s 1946 ballet The Four Temperaments for the first time in 2013. I remember it as a special time in my career because I was on tour with Sarasota Ballet performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC during the Ballet Across America festival. The sense of cool space, the physical exhalation […]

Against the Stream and She Persisted

In the last few years, allegations of sexual impropriety have run rampant through the performing arts, assaulting film producers, opera and ballet directors, choreographers and performers as they pass. Dance has developed a powerful social conscience, and gender identity is such a hot topic that entire programmes are planned around it. For his second excursion […]

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