Romeo and Juliet review, Birmingham Royal Ballet BRB, Sadler’s Wells: luxurious and intensely stirring entertainment

Classical ballet – even of the earthier, 20th-century kind – can struggle at Sadler’s Wells. The stage isn’t quite big enough to allow some of the larger ensembles and longer stories to breathe, there’s no proscenium arch to provide an elegant frame for the action, and the stark modernity of the auditorium is often at…

Strictly Come Dancing 2018: new professionals dancers revealed

Three new professional dancers will be joining the Strictly Come Dancing line-up when the show returns to BBC One this autumn, replacing Chloe Hewett and veteran Strictly star Brendan Cole. The new additions are Johannes Radebe, formerly a dancer on South Africa’s version of Strictly, Italian Latin champion Graziano Di Prima and Russian dancer Luba Mushtuk….

Life Is a Dream review, Rambert, Sadler’s Wells: a perplexing but beguiling grapple with reality  

However, there’s a very fine line between seductive mystery and exasperating confusion, and the piece is soon straddling it. As ever, Brandstrup deploys his dancers with authority, using somehow apt “freeze-frames” amid the movement and whipping up some moments that really stick in the memory (that early scene of human puppetry; the director’s later, mirror-like…

Swan Lake review, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden — a staging that’s yet to spread its wings

While you can’t blame the Royal’s 31-year-old artist-in-residence Liam Scarlett and and brilliant designer John Macfarlane for wanting to iron out its inherent narrative wrinkles, does this ironing really work? That the blatantly evil sorcerer Von Rothbart now has a place at court from the start makes little more sense than him suddenly appearing (as…

Obsidian Tear/Marguerite and Armand/Elite Syncopations, Royal Opera House, review

On paper, the Royal Ballet’s latest mixed programme makes perfect sense. It features something new, something classic and something retro from three stalwarts of British dance: Wayne McGregor’s Obsidian Tear (2016), an exploration of maleness; Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, a one-act ballet created in 1963 as a star vehicle for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf…

Voices of America at Sadler’s Wells, review — ENB comes out fighting with William Forsythe’s bouncy new party piece 

A programme encompassing the very best of American choreographers wouldn’t be complete without a work by Jerome Robbins, the West Side Story choreographer. His 1951 piece The Cage, set to Stravinsky’s whirling Concerto in D, presents a gang of wild-haired female predators who crawl and contort with feral instinct as they kill and feed on…

Highland Fling at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, review —  like a head-on collision between Brigadoon and Trainspotting

Imagine a head-on collision between Brigadoon and Trainspotting, and you have something approximating Matthew Bourne’s 1994 work Highland Fling. Bourne last directed this daring, imaginative and comic version of La Sylphide, the 1832 Romantic ballet by Danish choreographer August Bournonville, for Scottish Ballet five years ago, but the ballet’s imagery is so vivid and memorable…

Manon at Royal Opera House, review — Francesca Hayward steps into the breach as the heedless heroine

Which is not inappropriate, given the ballet’s cinematic scope. You need 180-degree vision to catch all the teeming detail — the pickpocketings and barterings of the opening street scene, the sharp card games and nefarious deals going on in the high-end brothel. That’s why dancers love this work: everyone has a back story, right down…

Sutra at Sadler’s Wells — still extraordinary after all these years

Few dance productions have made such an impact as Sutra. This striking collaboration between Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, sculptor Antony Gormley and 19 Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in China, has toured the world, selling out to audiences in 28 countries. A decade later, it returns to Sadler’s Wells for its 200th performance,…

BBC hires Simon Cowell at last to make dance talent show

They have been bitter rivals on the Saturday night light entertainment battlefield for many years. But the BBC has now enlisted the help of Simon Cowell to produce a new dance talent show aimed at filling the void when Strictly Come Dancing is off air. The partnership will mark the first foray into public service…

Bernstein Centenary review, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden — sleek but slender tribute to a musical master

If the choreography is respectable rather than vintage Wheeldon, what really hobbles the piece is its design. Jean-Marc Puissant’s louvred backdrops are attractive in themselves, but deaden the action rather than complementing it, while the costumes, by noted fashion designer Erdem, are a fright. True, in going for what appears to be a 21st-century take…

A West End theatre dedicated to Gillian Lynne? It’s about time

Regular visitors to London’s theatreland have long been acquainted with establishments such as the Gielgud, the Novello, the Harold Pinter and the Noël Coward, not to mention the National’s Olivier, a short stroll across Waterloo Bridge. Very soon, however, there will also, for the first time ever, be a West End theatre named after a…

Gutsy dancing and a poetic centrepiece — Ballet British Columbia, Sadler’s Wells and touring, review

The first half is a complex and constantly inventive interweaving of extraordinary, high-octane leaps and turns and complex, sociable little encounters, all delivered with great brio. But it’s the second that makes the skin prickle. Here, Pite delves deep into her distinctive box of choreographic tricks, often having the seven dancers engage in instant, freeze-frame…

A modern classic brought joyfully and chillingly to life — The Winter’s Tale, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, review

In fact, there’s strength across the board here. Throughout the evening, Matthew Ball displays considerable authority as the ever-present Polixenes. In Act II, as Brother Clown, first soloist Marcelino Sambé’s comic brio and gravity-scorning bounce surely nudge him ever closer to the principals’ ranks, with Beatriz Stix-Brunel a very pretty shepherdess and an appropriately zesty…

An affair to forget — The Lover, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

Since he took the reins as artistic director at the Lyceum in 2016, renowned dramatist David Greig has received merited plaudits for the boldness of his programming. However, brave and ambitious though The Lover is, it seems unlikely that this dance-theatre adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s award-winning, autobiographical novel, will go down as a high point…

Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour proved why Strictly is the happiest show in the world — Birmingham Arena, review

«I want everyone to know that if I can be Wonder Woman, anyone can,» said Scottish comedian and dance novice Susan Calman after performing a Samba in bright red calf-length boots and a satin cape to a sold-out Birmingham Arena. Embodying the egalitarian spirit of Strictly Come Dancing, Calman’s proclamation reinforced why the public continues to take the BBC…

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