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Dance on television this Christmas

Posted on December 19, 2013

Dance on television this Christmas

Christmas is here! Along with mince pies, frantic shopping and The Nutcracker on stage, there’s also plenty of festive television. Dancing Times has been circling the dance goodies in our Christmas listings magazine, with everything from the sequins of Strictly Come Dancing – both the series finale and the Christmas special (pictured) – to filmed stage productions from Matthew Bourne to The Royal Ballet, plus a bumper crop of movie musicals.

Here are our picks – let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed!

Check listings guides for changes to the schedule. Matthew Bourne has already tweeted that his Sleeping Beauty will start earlier than advertised on Christmas Day.

Saturday 21

7.35am            Sky Arts 2            Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort

The Paris Opéra Ballet dance Petit’s celebrated work. Showing a young artist driven to suicide, it has chic designs and spectacular, acrobatic choreography.

6.30pm, 8.40pm            BBC1            Strictly Come Dancing

This year’s final, in two parts – who will lift the glitterball trophy?

Sunday 22

2pm                        Sky Arts 2            The Nutcracker

Alina Somova and Vladimir Shklyarov star in the Maryinsky Ballet’s very pink production. Also shown on December 23 and January 1.

4.20                        Sky Arts 2            Dance Dance Dance

Arlene Phillips presents performances by English National Ballet and the Sapnay Dance Company. Also shown on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Monday 23

6.30am            Sky Arts 2            Les Patineurs

The Royal Ballet dance Frederick Ashton’s enchanting skating ballet. Repeated on December 26, 27, 30.

10.10am            Channel 4             White Christmas

Film. Musical starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, with plenty of crooning and songs by Irving Berlin.

10.10am            Sky Arts 2            The Nutcracker

Alina Somova and Vladimir Shklyarov star in the Maryinsky Ballet’s  very pink production. Also shown on December 22 and January 1.

3.10pm            Channel 5            Oklahoma!

Film. On stage, this Rodgers and Hammerstein show was a groundbreaking for its move to more dramatic storytelling through song and dance. The film stars Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones and Rod Steiger. Repeated on December 28.

9pm                        BBC4            Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days

The Strictly Come Dancing judge looks back at the heyday of dance bands.

Christmas Eve

g-kelly-american-in-paris

10.15am            BBC2                        An American in Paris

Film. Gene Kelly (pictured) plunged into ballet, paintings and an all-Gershwin score for this Oscar-winning musical. Leslie Caron plays his dream girl, with songs including “I Got Rhythm”.

1.50pm            BBC2                        Guys and Dolls

Film. This 1955 adaptation of the musical stars Marlon Brando as the gambler wooing Jean Simmons’s uptight Salvation Army girl, with Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine as the couple who can’t quite settle down. Michael Kidd’s choreography is explosive.

4.15pm            BBC2                        Fantasia

Film. Disney classic from 1940, with animated versions of famous classical music. The “Dance of the Hours” is a spot-on ballet parody, while The Rite of Spring is brilliantly reinvented in a prehistoric setting: instead of a Chosen Maiden’s dance, Disney shows a battle between a stegosaurus and a tyrannosaur.

6.50pm            Watch                        Shall We Dance

Film. Romantic comedy starring Richard Gere as a city lawyer who secretly takes up ballroom dancing. With Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.

Christmas Day

8.50am            BBC2                        The Red Shoes

Film. Ballerina Moira Shearer stars in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s lusciously-filmed 1948 drama about a dancer torn between love and her career. The cast includes Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine and Ludmila Tchérina. When this was released, a generation of little girls took up ballet.

2.05pm            More4                        Singin’ in the Rain

Film. One of the world’s best-loved musicals, with bold numbers, a witty script and a fond look back at 1920s Hollywood as it switched from silent movies to sound. Gene Kelly splashes through the irresistible title number, Donald O’Connor almost literally knocks himself out in “Make ’em Laugh”, while Cyd Charisse is a fabulous flapper vamp in the huge “Broadway Melody” finale.

4.30pm            Sky Arts 2            The Nutcracker

The Royal Ballet’s production, filmed in 2012 with Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Ricardo Cervera as Clara and her Nutcracker.

strictly-come-dancing-christmas-special-2-2013

5pm          BBC1       Strictly Come Dancing

The Christmas special stars Rufus Hound, Rochelle Hume, Sara Cox, Matt Goss, Elaine Paige and Ricky Norwood, plus a winter wonderland sequence from the professional dancers.

bourne-beauty-hannah-vassallo-hugo-glendinning

5.55pm BBC2   Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. CHANGE FROM ORIGINAL SCHEDULE

Bourne’s adaptation of the fairy tale was Sadler’s Wells’ all-time most successful Christmas show. It starts the story in 1890 – the year of the original ballet – and adds vampires along the way. Hannah Vassallo (pictured, photograph by Hugo Glendinning) stars as Aurora, with Christopher Marney as Count Lilac. Both were nominated for National Dance Awards for these performances.

8pm BBC4   The Royal Ballet: Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta’s new production, filmed with Acosta himself and the sunny Marianela Nuñez as the young lovers. The colourful designs are by Tim Hatley and Michael Vanstone.

9.30pm            Channel 5                        Michael Jackson’s This is It

Concert documentary, including auditions and rehearsal footage from the concerts the pop star was preparing when he died. Jackson was one of the 20th-century’s most influential dancers: across the world, children got into dance by watching and imitating his routines. Repeated on December 28.

Boxing Day

10.20am            Sky Arts 2            Dance Dance Dance: Ballet

Arlene Phillips presents performances by English National Ballet and the Sapnay Dance Company. Also shown on December 22 and New Year’s Day.

10.35am            BBC2                        Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball

A team of experts recreates a Regency ball.

10.35am            Channel 4            The King and I

Film. Musical starring Deborah Kerr as the very English governess teaching at the court of Yul Brynner’s King of Siam. The dances were staged by Jerome Robbins, and include the polka “Shall We Dance?”, with the two leads whirling about the floor with Kerr’s huge crinoline swishing, and “Small House of Uncle Thomas”, a restaging the story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

12.45pm            Channel 5            High Society

Film. Musical based on the movie The Philadelphia Story, starring Grace Kelly, with top banter from Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, particularly in the Cole Porter song “Well Did You Evah?”

2.55pm            Channel 5            Meet Me in St Louis

Film. Musical starring Judy Garland, directed by Vincente Minnelli. It’s a nostalgic look at early 20th-century family life in St Louis, with numbers including “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

4.30pm            Sky Arts 2            Swan Lake

The Royal Ballet production, starring the tall, glamorous Zenaida Yanowsky as the Swan Queen, partnered by Nehemiah Kish. Repeated on Friday 27.

5.15pm            Channel 5            The Wizard of Oz

Film. We’re off to see the Wizard! This classic musical fantasy, starring Judy Garland, is full of iconic images, from the ruby slippers to the yellow brick road.

7.20pm            Sky Arts 2            Les Patineurs

The Royal Ballet dance Frederick Ashton’s enchanting skating ballet. Repeated on December 23, 27, 30.

9.20pm            BBC1                        Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas

The Strictly judge looks at Christmas traditions

Friday 27

8am            Sky Arts 2                        Swan Lake

The Royal Ballet production, starring the tall, glamorous Zenaida Yanowsky as the Swan Queen, partnered by Nehemiah Kish. First shown on Thursday 26.

1.40pm            ITV                        Step Up

Film. Channing Tatum stars as a disaffected youth doing community service at a performing arts school.

3pm                         Sky Arts 2            Les Patineurs

The Royal Ballet dance Frederick Ashton’s enchanting skating ballet. Repeated on December 23, 26, 30.

4.10pm            Channel 5            Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Film. Dick Van Dyke stars as the inventor with the flying car, with ballet star Robert Helpmann as the creepy Child Catcher.

4.30pm            The Sleeping Beauty

Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin star in the Royal Ballet production, filmed in 2011. Repeated on December 28.

9pm                        Sky Arts 1            Stars of the Moulin Rouge

Documentary following six dancers from audition to performance.

Saturday 28

1.55am            Channel 4            The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Film. Cult musical comedy starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, with creator Richard O’Brien as the sinister butler Riff Raff.

8am                                    The Sleeping Beauty

Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin star in The Royal Ballet production, filmed in 2011. Also shown on December 27.

1.15pm            Channel 5                        Oklahoma!

Film. On stage, this Rodgers and Hammerstein show was a groundbreaking for its move to more dramatic storytelling through song and dance. The film stars Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones and Rod Steiger. Also shown on December 23.

4.30pm            Sky Arts 2            Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin star in The Royal Ballet’s production, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Shown again at 11.45pm and on December 29.

5.50pm            Channel 5                          Michael Jackson’s This is It

Concert documentary, including auditions and rehearsal footage from the concerts the pop star was preparing when he died. Jackson was one of the 20th-century’s most influential dancers: across the world, children got into dance by watching and imitating his routines. Also shown on Christmas Day.

11.45pm            Sky Arts 2            Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Repeat showing.

Sunday 29

8.20pm            Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin star in The Royal Ballet’s production, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

2.15pm            5*                        Happy Feet

Film. Animated adventure about a dancing penguin. The hero’s moves were based on those of star tap dancer Savion Glover.

Monday 30

9.30am             Sky Arts 2            Les Patineurs

The Royal Ballet dance Frederick Ashton’s enchanting skating ballet. Repeated on December 23, 26, 27.

4.15pm            BBC1                        Mary Poppins

Film. Musical comedy starring Julie Andrews as the magical nanny who sorts out the Banks family with song and a spoonful of sugar. Dick Van Dyke, with the world’s most notorious bad Cockney accent, is the singing, dancing sweep.

9.30pm            Channel 5                        Dirty Dancing

Film. Romantic drama starring Jennifer Grey as the girl who learns about dancing and love from Patrick Swayze. All together now: “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”

New Year’s Eve

6am                        Sky Arts 2                        Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort

The Paris Opéra Ballet dance Petit’s celebrated ballet. Showing a young artist driven to suicide, it has chic designs and spectacular, acrobatic choreography. Also shown on December 21 and January 1.

11.15am            Channel 5                         Fiddler on the Roof

Film. Comedy drama starring Topol as the Jewish father in pre-revolutionary Russia, worrying about finding husbands for all his daughters. The movie is based on the stage production, which was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins.

2.50pm            Channel 5                        Pal Joey

Film. Frank Sinatra is the singer torn between love and success, singing in a seedy nightclub. He’s also torn between Rita Hayworth – who sings the standard “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” – and Kim Novak.

5pm                        Channel 5                        Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Film. Musical comedy starring Howard Keel as the newly-married rancher whose wife is horrified to find she has to look after his unruly brothers. Michael Kidd’s choreography makes dance numbers out of chopping wood, raising a barn and other frontier activities; the cast includes New York City Ballet dancer Jacques d’Amboise.

8pm                        ITV                        Mamma Mia!

Film. Musical comedy starring Meryl Streep, based on the stage musical, with songs by Abba.

New Year’s Day

8am                        Sky Arts 2            Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort

The Paris Opéra Ballet dance Petit’s celebrated ballet. Showing a young artist driven to suicide, it has chic designs and spectacular, acrobatic choreography. Also shown on December 21 and 30.

10am                        Sky Arts 2            Colin Dunne: Sculpting Space

Documentary about the Irish dancer and Riverdance star.

11.15am            BBC2                        New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna

The traditional Viennese concert of waltzes, polkas and marches from the Strauss family and others, with dancing from the Vienna State Ballet in choreography by Ashley Page.  The costumes are by Vivienne Westwood, which suggests a departure from tradition! Highlights are repeated on BBC4 at 7pm.

2.15pm            BBC1                         The Sound of Music

Film. Julie Andrews stars as the nun who leaves the convent to teach the many children of the Von Trapp family, finding love and escaping from the Nazis along the way. It’s one of the world’s most popular musicals.

4.50pm            Sky Arts 2 Dance Dance Dance: Ballet

Arlene Phillips presents performances by English National Ballet and the Sapnay Dance Company. Also shown on December 22 and Boxing Day.

7.55pm             Sky Arts 2            Dance Dance Dance: Ghost Tracks

At St Pancras International railway station, Combination perform a work inspired by meetings and departures.

8pm                        Sky Arts 2            Kiss Me, Kate

Stage production of Cole Porter’s musical based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Starring Brent Barrett, Rachel York, Nancy Anderson and Michael Berresse, and recorded at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London.

10.30pm            Sky Arts 2            Stomp: Live

The choreographed percussion show, recorded at Brighton Dome.

All Strictly Come Dancing pictures © 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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