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Strictly Speaking – Week 7

WHAT. DRAMA. Week 7, and this series of Strictly serves up its first proper “shock” exit – Aston Merrygold joining the likes of Pixie Lott and Gabby Logan in the Surprise Early Departure Lounge. He was unlucky to hit a dud dance (and/or one the judges chose to properly critique) on a week where comedy […]

Requisite Passion by Barbara Newman

Kevin O’Hare’s brainwave of bringing the UK’s leading ballet companies together to celebrate Kenneth MacMillan’s work has paid off handsomely. Roaming over the choreographer’s exceptional range of dramatic subjects and musical inspiration, the season has filled the Royal Opera House and pleased the public. Comprising four troupes, the two performances I saw at Covent Garden […]

Logging on

As a prelude to his forthcoming monthly blog, Log-in from London, Graham Watts writes on Jasmin Vardimon Company’s Pinocchio at Sadler’s Wells I’m not sure if this is a confession or a declaration of interest, but I’ve now seen Jasmin Vardimon’s Pinocchio five times, including a full-run dress rehearsal. Just like the puppet’s nose, it […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 6

Oh Strictly Halloween. Every year I forget how grim your Fright Night will be, and every year I am gripped anew with its frightfulness. So, once more with feeling: if you’re not sure whether this week is meant to be entirely surrendered to the dressing-up box or somehow magically balanced with brilliant ballroom, how on […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 5

The big news this week was Italian gesticulator Bruno Tonioli missing his first ever Strictly, apparently because of American work commitments. It’s FINE, Bruno, go be with your OTHER family, we don’t CARE. Actually, with Craig providing a pitch-perfect impression (complete with chair tumble), Bruno’s contribution was basically covered – and it meant more time […]

Stamping on Flamenco: Barbara Newman sees Rocío Molina

The most interesting thing about Rocío Molina is her dancing. You might expect that from any attraction in London’s Dance Umbrella, but Molina has decided to upend traditional flamenco and give it a new slant, the sort of decision that usually requires a lot of explaining and extensive programme notes. Unlike many contemporary choreographers, however, […]

Restless Creature

Daniel Pratt sees a documentary film about Wendy Whelan “You know I’ve sat at this spot for 23 years?” Wendy Whelan opens the film Restless Creature looking into a mirror whilst applying stage make-up. Her frank, wise and intimate tone presages much about this moving documentary that charts the last months of her classical career […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 4

No theme this week, thank the Strictly gods, unless you count the tidal wave of emotion that saw a nation reaching for more Kleenex. If an overcome Alexandra wishing her late mother could have seen her 10s-scoring jive didn’t get you, how about Jonnie’s shoutout to the surgeon who saved his life, or Susan acing […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 3

Ah, Movie Week, AKA Can You Remotely Recognise The Dance Under Ten Layers of Theming Week. This was no exception – I had to keep checking my notes to see which dance was supposedly being represented. Also: Trolls. I’m just leaving that there. Worse, theme weeks tend to exacerbate judging inconsistency, with the producers’ choices […]

A new chapter in Cuban dance

Fourteen dancers, five dances, two hours. That’s what it took for Acosta Danza to make its UK debut at Sadler’s Wells, packing the house as it nailed its colours to the mast for all to see. Founded in 2015 to develop Cuba’s dance talent, supported by the Cuban government and international assistance, and now with […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 2

Oh dear. A few highlights and redemptive dances aside, Strictly seemed to have the Week 2 Blues: an error-strewn performance show with bizarre scoring followed by a sad first exit. I doubt Chizzy would have lasted too long in the competition, but I’d have liked to see a few dances from her – and Brian […]

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 1

And we’re off! Strictly Come Dancing Series 15 began its competitive shows with a marathon episode that gave viewers at home a little competition of their own: posterior versus seat. Still, squeezing all the couples into one programme did mean minimal faff and filler, and a good chance to assess a promising crop of celebs. […]

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