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Posted on July 25, 2011

firebirdkondaurovanrazina 5

firebirdkondaurovanrazina-5We welcome The Maryinsky Ballet, whose London summer season opens at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden tonight.

They’re starting with Konstantin Sergeyev’s classic production of Swan Lake, with its delicate picture-book sets. Uliana Lopatkina and Daniil Korsuntsev dance the opening night. There will be seven Swan Lake performances over the course of the season. This week, you can see Viktoria Tereshkina with Vladimir Shklyarov, Alina Somova with Evgeny Ivanchenko and Diana Vishneva with Igor Kolb. As always, casting is subject to change!

The Maryinsky’s second programme, Homage to Fokine, opens on Friday. It’s a triple bill of Chopiniana (known in the west as Les Sylphides), The Firebird – in designs based on Golovine’s originals – and Scheherazade. The flame-haired Ekaterina Kondaurova is the first cast Firebird (pictured), dancing on Friday and Saturday night, with Anastasia Petushkova dancing the role on Saturday afternoon. Scheherazade goes to established stars: Diana Vishneva and Igor Zelensky on Friday, Kondaurova and Igor Kolb on Saturday’s matinée, Lopatkina and Korsuntsev on Saturday night.

Carlos Acosta’s Premieres Plus is a reworking of last year’s Premieres show, which sold out but received some savage reviews. The new version promises substantial revisions and several extra works: Acosta and The Royal Ballet’s Zenaida Yanowsky in Will Tuckett’s On Before, Acosta in Memoria, choreographed by Rambert dancer Miguel Altunaga and Yanowsky in Sirin, a new work created for her by Yuri Yanowsky. The evening has kept last year’s highlight, Kim Brandstrup’s Footnote to Ashton. The show is at The Lowry, Salford tonight, then comes to the London Coliseum from Wednesday to Friday.

Boy Blue Entertainment dance BBE: Touch at the Pit, Barbican Centre in London this week. This is an intimate, unplugged look at Boy Blue, best known for the award-winning hip hop Pied Piper. Artistic directors Michael “Mikey J” Asante and Kenrick “H20” Sandy go back to their dancing routes, with special guests joining them on stage each night. The Pit will be transformed into a cabaret with fully licensed bar, and audience can stay and chat with the artists after the show. Due to popular demand, an extra performance has been added on Saturday.

Fela!, a celebration of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti, has settled down at Sadler’s Wells for the summer, having already had long runs on Broadway and at London’s National Theatre. The show was directed, choreographed and co-written by Bill T Jones, and is at Sadler’s Wells until August 28.

Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace end their tour of Midnight Tango at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal this week, with performances from Tuesday until Saturday. The “Strictly Come Dancing” stars’ first show has been a hit across the UK, and will begin a West End in January 2012.

Wayne Sleep continues his tour of Precious Little Sleep, a look back at his long career, with performances at Epsom Playhouse and the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton, this week.

English Youth Ballet dance Coppélia at the New Theatre, Cardiff on Friday and Saturday, in a production by Janet Lewis. Professional dancers play the leading roles, supported by a cast of talented young local dancers.

Picture: The Maryinsky Ballet’s Ekaterina Kondaurova in The Firebird. Photograph: N Razina

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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