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Dance this week: new season!

Posted on September 20, 2011

leanne benjamin in emeralds. photo by johan persson

leanne benjamin in emeralds. photo by johan perssonIt’s autumn! The leaves are starting to fall, and dance companies are back on stage for the new season.

The Royal Ballet season opens at the Royal Opera House tonight, with Balanchine’s Jewels. The three contrasting works – Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds – put plenty of lead dancers on stage, and show off different facets of their style.

This evening Steven McRae makes his debut in the virtuoso male role of Rubies, with Sarah Lamb and Zenaida Yanowsky in the two jazzy ballerina roles. The romantic Emeralds is led by Tamara Rojo with Ryoichi Hirano (replacing Federico Bonelli) and Leanne Benjamin (pictured) with Nehemiah Kish. Alina Cojocaru and Rupert Pennefather lead the cast of Diamonds. Jewels is in repertory until October 5.

Tomorrow at The Lowry, Salford, Rambert Dance Company dance the world premiere of Mark Baldwin’s Seven for a secret, never to be told. The title comes from the nursery rhyme about magpies (“One for sorrow, two for joy…”), and the work looks back to the games and imagination of childhood days. Stephen McNeff’s music is a specially-commissioned adaptation of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges. It’s performed as part of a triple bill, with Itzik Galili’s A Linha Curva and Siobhan Davies’ The Art of Touch. The company are at The Lowry until Friday 23, before touring the UK.

The Metamorphosis, Arthur Pita’s new dance adaptation of Kafka’s novella, is at the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House until Saturday, September 24. It stars The Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson as the salesman who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect.

At Sadler’s Wells tonight, you can catch the last performance of Drought and Rain, a meditation on war and memory by French-Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola. Then from Thursday, September 22, Sylvie Guillem’s 6000 Miles Away is back by popular demand, starring the French ballerina in works by Mats Ek and William Forsythe.

Picture: The Royal Ballet’s Leanne Benjamin in Emeralds. Photograph: Johan Persson, courtesy of the Royal Opera House

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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