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Dance on Television

Posted on June 28, 2011

charles hazlewood

charles hazlewoodBBC Four celebrates dance this weekend, with documentaries and filmed performances, from Margot Fonteyn and Merce Cunningham to the Javier De Frutos/Pet Shop Boys collaboration The Most Incredible Thing.


The short season starts on Thursday with “The Most Incredible Thing About Contemporary Dance”. Charles Hazlewood (pictured, with dancers from Rambert Dance Company) explores contemporary dance, with help from Jonzi D, Caroline Bowditch, Richard Alston, Mayuri Boonham, Lea Anderson and Janet Smith.


Dance takes over the whole evening on Friday, with Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, The Most Incredible Thing by De Frutos and the Pet Shop Boys, Sadler’s Wells’ Ballets Russes-inspired evening of new works In the Spirit of Diaghilev and – repeated in the early hours of Saturday – the documentary “Art for Art’s Sake: The Story of the Ballets Russes”.


On Saturday, there are repeats of The Royal Ballet dancing Ashton’s Tales of Beatrix Potter (a recording of the stage production, not Ashton’s original film) and the documentary “Imagine”, which follows senior dance troupe The Company of Elders as they prepare to perform at Sadler’s Wells.


On Sunday, the lineup includes the documentary “Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance”, with archive footage, interviews with Carolyn Brown and Remy Charlip, footage of Cunningham rehearsing with Baryshnikov and excerpts from Pond Way and BIPED. The BBC Four website has links to further interviews with Cunningham. Also on Sunday, there’s a repeat of the drama “Margot”, starring Anne-Marie Duff as Fonteyn, and a film adaptation of Jerome Robbins’ NY Export: Opus Jazz.


Most of these programmes will be broadcast several times over the weekend, with late-night repeats. See the BBC Four schedule for full details.


Photograph: BBC

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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