Dedicated to dance
since 1910.

Buy Latest Issue

Blog

Unfamiliar location

January is that month where all the clichés come out. After all the exuberance – and excesses – of Christmas, it feels good to refocus, take stock of what’s been and aim to fill the endeavours of the coming year with happy pragmatism. Sometimes I get irritated at the pressure to work on oneself, to […]

Ashton’s Les Patineurs, Nureyev’s Cinderella, Bourne’s Swan Lake

Many people consider The Nutcracker the best Christmas ballet, because it’s short, tuneful, easy to understand, and rich with roles for small children. The 1957 and 1958 television broadcasts of George Balanchine’s production for New York City Ballet launched it as a holiday favourite, but, after its first season on stage in 1954, one critic […]

Barbara Newman sees works by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Mark Morris

What do you take away when you leave a dance performance? Does the movement stay with you, or the music, or designs or overall effect? I’m asking because I’m beginning to wonder what the dance public prefers. A friend who teaches a course entitled Performance: Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins recently told me […]

Strictly Speaking: The final

Another year, another bloated final that winds up being totally irrelevant to the results. At some point, the bosses of Strictly Come Dancing might need to look into that… For my money, of the last four, Ashley was the strongest dancer, Joe the most improved, Faye the best on the night, and Kevin, I mean […]

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at English National Opera

English National Opera (ENO) has developed close ties with Benjamin Britten’s music since giving the world premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945. In the wake of that historic event, the company has presented five further stage works, including, during this year alone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Turn of the Screw, and the operetta Paul […]

The Sugar Plum pas de deux

Last year I cast a general gaze over The Nutcracker and how Tchaikovsky’s music reveals it as a work of art more deeply layered than any bauble-dripping fir tree. Though we see it year after year, aspects of the ballet continue to enchant, engage and resonate with us differently on each viewing. The climactic pas […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 12

Semi-final week saw the usual quality drop-off with two dances – although in some cases such technical lack was rebranded as “authenticity” by the ever-erratic judges. We also had the dance and music lottery either boosting or limiting celebs, depending on whether they lucked out with the last remaining caramel swirl in the Quality Street […]

Graham’s Appalachian Spring

Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring premiered at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, in 1944. The composer Aaron Copland initially titled the work “ballet for Martha” when he began writing the commission. Despite Copland’s appellation, working on the role of the husbandman in Graham’s piece was different to any other dance work I’d encountered in my […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 11

Musicals Week! The quarter-finals! All to play for on this jazz hands show, and the combination of high-stakes competition and rampant theming produced… mixed results. Some dances fit beautifully with their songs, others were swallowed whole – and the judges continued to be consistent only in their inconsistency. Now, I’ve always considered that we at […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 10

So, we could talk about the post-Blackpool hangover pervading the week (this show very much brought to you by paracetamol and Alka-Seltzer). We could talk about scoring monstrosities, or the continuing bafflement of Couple’s Choice, or how the ghost of Ramps haunts us all via every single one of his songs being nicked over the […]

Shobana Jeyasingh’s Contagion and Scottee’s Fat Blokes

In 1918, just as World War I was drawing to an end, humanity sustained another lethal attack, this one from the influenza epidemic known as Spanish flu that infected 500 million people. Fifty to 100 million died, roughly three to five per cent of the world’s population. Life expectancy in the US fell by about […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 9

Ah, Blackpool – home of ballroom. Or, in Strictly’s case, home of prop dancers, inflated (in most cases) scores, and alarming combos like fire, feathers and copious amounts of hairspray. At its best, it provides history, spectacle and a thrilling element of risk. Elsewhere…a well-intentioned mess. Highs this year included paddle-tease Craig finally locating his […]

Connect with Dancing Times: