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Nutcracker in New York

Above: Indiana Woodward in New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Photograph by Erin Baiano. Relaying news from New York in the January issue of Dancing Times, Leigh Witchel wrote that “New York City Ballet has done the same version of The Nutcracker since 1954,” but because “there were no major debuts during […]

Two exhibitions

Main image: Laura Knight, The Dressing Room at Drury Lane (1922). Image reproduced with permission of The Estate of Dame Laura Knight DBE. Designed by Isamu Noguchi (who was born in 1904 and died in 1988), a sunken stone garden and a giant tilted cube that balances on one corner form part of New York […]

Mapping intimacy

Barbara Newman sees Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell and Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project Have you noticed that nobody imitates Matthew Bourne? Choreographers don’t hesitate to produce their own take, respectful or not, on Martha Graham or Pina Bausch. With an affectionate nod to Jerome Robbins, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo neatly skewered Dances […]

English National Ballet’s Creature

Does anyone understand what happens in Creature, Akram Khan’s new ballet for English National Ballet? I know I wasn’t the only person it confused. On the bus after the performance, my guest said to me, “Well, we know she was raped,” and the woman sitting behind us, a complete stranger, leaned forward and added, “And […]

Back on stage

There we were, back at Sadler’s Wells, and all it took to provoke a sustained ovation were the words, “Welcome to this evening’s performance of English National Ballet.” Several live and recorded speeches later, the curtain rose on the first of the five dances that filled the next 80 minutes (no interval, no bar, everyone […]

Lazuli Sky

Ordinarily, a sprinkling of viewers scattered around the seats at Sadler’s Wells would be a sorry sight, representing all too clearly a general lack of interest in that night’s attraction. Now, however, as they waited eagerly for Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) to present three new pieces – two never performed in the UK before, one […]

Cunningham on the big screen

Making dances is a mysterious process that’s difficult to describe. Recreating a dance’s essential character and original impact is still harder. The works Merce Cunningham left behind when he died in 2009 must now make their own way in the world, without his help but assisted by the dancers who know them and by the […]

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 […]

Nourishment for the imagination

Before current events hijack all our concentration, I want to tie up some loose ends from 2019. Engulfed in fairytales as that year wound down, I kept thinking about choreographers who write for adults. Their dances lodge in your thoughts, sometimes for years, nourishing the imagination and spreading their impact in all directions. Though illness […]

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 […]

The Royal Ballet on stage and on the big screen

When Frederick Ashton retired as the artistic director of The Royal Ballet in 1970, the company arranged a gala in his honour featuring selections from 34 of his creations and his contributions to Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, presented to the excited public without a printed programme. The details were distributed as 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 […]

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