June is one of those months when ballet lovers either rejoice
that there is so much to see or despair at how to fit in all
- Birmingham Royal Ballet takes up residence in the Royal Opera
House with three interesting programmes. Perhaps the one that
promises most is David Bintley's Jazz Triple Bill, especially
the 'Shakespeare Suite', which has won much applause around the
country and has its first outing in London. We also see 'Arthur
Part I', which has much drama, but not enough dance for some
and a new production of the timeless and exquisite 'Giselle'.
- Following hard on the heels of BRB comes the Kirov, with
probably the highest reputation in the dance world, despite the
financial problems of the new order or disorder in Russia. No
one could criticise the Kirov for lack of ambition - they present
separate programmes devoted to Balanchine and Fokine, as well
as the classics 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'La Bayadere'. The latter
is a real treat if the reviews from the recent performances in
Edinburgh are anything to go by.
- English National Ballet's mega-production of 'Sleeping Beauty'
comes to The Royal Albert Hall. Opinions vary as to the merit
of this concept, but huge numbers pay good money to see Derek
Deane's BIG shows. In addition, Zurich Ballet brings Heinz Spoerli's
'Mozartina' to Sadler's Wells with the London Mozart Players
accompanying the proceedings.
Despite Spring Loaded drawing to a close, there is still a
fair ration of contemporary dance:
- Seven Sisters Group, who were so impressive last year with
the extraordinary site-specific work 'Salome', have been allowed
into The Place for the first time with 'On Stage'. Many interactions
with the audience are promised, so expect the unexpected.
- Carol Brown does her bit for site-specific work this year
with 'Shelf Life' in St Pancras Church and Charles Linehan brings
his cool, elegant choreography to The Place with a triple bill.
- An event I almost over-looked at the QEH is a collaboration
between dancers from the Ballett Frankfurt and Needcompany from
- One of the bonuses with the new Sadler's Wells is the regular
visits from Rambert Dance Company. This time we get two mixed
bills, featuring revivals of two important works by Glen Tetley,
a work by Merce Cunningham which is new for Rambert and three
works by the Artistic Director, Christopher Bruce.
Here is the link to the Spring
For more details about most of the events, go to ballet.co.uk
And all I can say is - if there's nothing there that suits
you, take up another interest!
A very busy period for dance fans in London especially for
those who ventured further afield to see some of the foremost
companies in the world. Given the riches we usually enjoy we
can't really complain that Paris Opera Ballet were in Salford
and the Kirov were in Edinburgh.
This major contemporary dance festival continued to produce
much exciting dance:
- The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs brought 'Smithereens'
to The Place and great fun it was too, with imaginative choreography
in a nightmare cabaret setting and fine music. In fact, if I
have more fun at a dance event this year, I'll be very lucky.
- Ricochet Dance Company was at The QEH with a series of solo
pieces for their dances that some liked, but many did not. The
second half, featuring a new work by Russell Maliphant, was much
- Shobana Jeyasingh brought a double bill to the QEH - the
revival of 'Palimpsest was well received, but feelings about
the new work, 'Surface Tension' were mixed. Here is Judith
- Spring Fling was a Gala showcase for The Place with much
wonderful dance on show. My own favourites were Akram Khan, the
delightful 'Spitfire' by AMP and various groups of student dancers
from 6 up. Judith
Mackrell enjoyed the evening.
The Royal Ballet
A varied series of programmes from the Royal:
- Perhaps the saddest dance event of April was the performance
of Viviana Durante in 'Manon'. This very fine dancer says that
she has no plans to dance with the Royal in the near future.
So her last outing in this season's 'Manon' may have been her
last ever at the ROH. I revised my plans in order to see this
performance and Irek Mukhamedev threw off an injury, with a couple
of choreographic adjustments, to celebrate this remarkable partnership.
At the end of a superb evening - they received a standing ovation,
a rare event in the usually restrained Royal Opera House.
- 'The New World' programme was well received apart from the
new William Tuckett work, 'The Crucible'. I seem to be the only
person who enjoyed it, while acknowledging that a couple of things
could be tightened. Most disapproval was directed at the expressionistic
designs by Gerald Scarfe. However, Balanchine's 'Serenade' and
Robbins' 'The Concert' pleased nearly everyone. Debra
Craine reviewed the performance for The Times.
- 'The Diaghilev Legacy' contained much to admire. Perhaps
most intriguing was the 'recreation' of Nijinsky's 'Jeux' by
Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer from photos, contemporary
descriptions and the memories of those who saw the original.
The question none of us can answer is how much it is like the
original. Judged on its own merits it fitted into the programme
well, but while choreographic ideas were interesting, it seemed
a bit stretched at 18 minutes. 'Les Biches' was enjoyable with
Jonathan Cope making much more of his muscleman role than Inaki
Urlezaga or Nigel Burley. Mara Galeazzi impressed with her Girl
Sadler's Wells had three shows during this period:
- NDT II must be one of the sought-after companies in the world
for young dancers and it showed in their brief visit to London.
In particular, Mario Zambrano blew my socks off with the fluency
of his spins and jumps. I was a bit surprised that we saw 3 quirky,
humorous pieces, one can't help thinking that a more mixed programme
would have had even more impact. In any case, Ohad Naharin's
'Minus 16' lifted the spirits, especially when audience members
were taken on stage - my ex-Royal Ballet companion refused.
- 'The King' by Peter Schaufuss Ballet had much publicised
copyright problems and had to be virtually rewritten two weeks
before the London opening. In the event, the final result seemed
rather pallid to dance lovers, but some Elvis fans I know did
- Flamenco is big in London and the weeklong visit by Joachim
Cortez was a sell-out. The London critics were not impressed,
however, and Donald
Hutera seemed about to explode in his condemnation of an ego
The first visit of Paris Opera Ballet to the UK for 16 years
took place in the spectacular Lowry complex in Salford. Despite
the 10 hours of travel I was pleased that I saw their spectacular
production of 'La Bayadere' with Manuel Legris and the corps
de ballet very impressive indeed. Here
is my review. Scroll down until you come to the photo of
the Lowry complex.
Have fun in June, dance-lovers.