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In search of nourishment

You could call it a feast of narratives. The Royal Ballet has served up The Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia for Christmas and dances Onegin throughout February. Birmingham Royal Ballet brought The Nutcracker to Birmingham and the Royal Albert Hall; that company has just launched a long tour of Swan Lake. English National Ballet (ENB) followed […]

February 2020 issue

We take a look at modern dance this month, from Isadora Duncan at the start of the 20th century, to Sharon Watson, director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, Lin Hwai-min and Cheng Tsung-lung of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Ellen Yilma of Richard Alston Dance Company and Sean Cheesman, choreographer of The Prince of Egypt, which is […]

Balanchine’s Nutcracker

It’s become a habit that I think about The Nutcrackereach Christmas for this blog, even on the years when I haven’t danced in it. Tchaikovksy and Lev Ivanov’s ballet is so integral to a dancer’s DNA it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas unless you’re performing in a version somewhere. Christmas has now been and gone, […]

All that it seems?

A children’s riddle asks, When is a door not a door? The answer is, When it’s ajar, which made no sense to me until I learned the meaning of “ajar.” I remembered the question, though, when Akram Khan’s Giselle for English National Ballet (ENB) and Matthew Bourne’s new Romeo and Juliet appeared in quick succession […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 10

So, there are flat post-Blackpool shows, and there’s… whatever this was. Barely one rung up from everyone calling in sick while still nursing their hangovers on the tour bus. We’re in the closing stages of hard-fought competition, and yet by far the highlight this week was Bruno Tonioli “singing”. I know! The dance picks were […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 5

Which was more incomprehensible on so-called Super Saturday: wherever we may or may not have landed with Brexit, or guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro’s “critiques”? For the sake of my sanity, the latter shall not be recorded here. Suffice to say that, as someone who’s never seen Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and thus doesn’t even […]

Ballet Nacional de España 

Ballet Nacional de España’s (BNE) final performance under the artistic leadership of Antonio Najarro took place on August 1 in Barcelona’s opera house, the Liceu, in a double bill reprised from 2015. It was emblematic of his eight-year tenure: both looking back to the rich history of Spanish dance and presenting a prime example of […]

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. […]

Thea Nerissa Barnes

Leading lights from theatreland, the dance sector and the Barnes family came together to pay tribute to Thea Nerissa Barnes’ legacy in dance at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on August 12. Barnes dedicated her life to dance, gracing audiences internationally with her bold, strong, yet gentle presence, as well as teaching and transferring her knowledge […]

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 […]

July 2019 issue

This month we bid farewell to choreographer David Bintley, who is stepping down as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet after 24 years; find out about Iain Mackay’s plans for the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars; and report back on the 2019 edition of Blackpool Dance Festival. In addition, we take a look at voguing, as well as […]

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 […]

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