|The Royal Danish Ballet's Femke Slot in Napoli |
Photo: Costin Radu
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Sunday, 28 December 2014
|Photo: Photography by ASH|
Friday, 26 December 2014
|Photo: Bill Cooper|
Développés can be performed in all three directions (front, side and back) with a wide variety of arm positions and head alignments, but the working leg always goes through retiré position (with the toe by the side, in front of or behind the supporting knee, depending on the particular ballet style) before extending. The extended position may be either an attitude or fully stretched leg. In the latter case, développés to the back finish in arabesque position.
Développés are performed in numerous ballets. In the grand pas de deux of The Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy steps onto pointe, takes the Prince's hand and performs a développé to the front. Développés are also used in other dance styles. In Cats the musical, for example, Victoria (the white cat) has a développé to the side in her Act I solo.
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
|Marianela Nunez in The Winter's Tale|
Photo: Johan Persson
|Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Facada|
Photo: Doug Gifford
2. Facada, part of Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev’s Solo for Two (August)
Monday, 22 December 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical has a strange story – of cats gathering for an annual ball to decide which of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn. But this strangeness aside, Cats is a great musical with catchy songs and utterly brilliant choreography by Gillian Lynne.
The London cast – headed by pop star Nicole Scherzinger – is on good form, impressing particularly in group dance numbers. As the characters’ human-like personalities – from burglar Mungojerrie to former glamour cat Grisabella – are introduced, it’s hard not to warm to their feline charm, and I haven’t been able to stop humming ‘Old Deuteronomy’ and ‘Jellicle Ball’ since.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Monday, 15 December 2014
|Photo: Phil Conrad|
Friday, 12 December 2014
“I’d been reading old myths and the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales and was interested in the idea of someone who’s crucified and comes back after 2000 years. He would be pretty annoyed. There’s a wicked king in charge – maybe he’s the devil – and imagery of Mary Magdalene. The person who comes back could be the king’s lost son. He falls in love and has to make a choice. If it’s the wrong choice, he turns into a monster.
After this frustratingly cryptic introduction, it will be interesting to see if Bruce’s work makes more sense once it’s on the Linbury Studio Theatre stage in February.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Whilst the ballet was well-performed, it has two main issues. The first is David Westcott's score, which is so melodic that it is completely at odds with the more dramatic passages of choreography. For example, When Belle enters the Beast's castle, music is almost lullaby-like in its lyricism, such that there is no sense of impending menace or the character's fear.
Secondly, Beauty and the Beast's narrative is difficult to follow. Darius James's choreography gives a clear identity to the leading roles, but secondary characters are poorly-defined. The Beast also lacks impact in his movements, which are impaired by visually effective but choreographically restrictive stilt-like hooves.
The ballet has some lovely moments. As the Beast nears death and Belle rushes through the forest to see him, two female dancers are lifted in deep backbends to form an archway under which she travels. Projections work well to set each scene, and there's a delightful interaction between them and the live action onstage when a dancer seemingly uses a match to light the backdrop's fireplace. Beauty and the Beast also has a joyous finale, with streams of dancers leaping across the stage, although it's a shame there's isn't a final romantic pas de deux for the title characters.
Even though I was underwhelmed by this production, Ballet Cymru is still a company I greatly admire, and one that deserves to fly the metaphorical flag for high-quality ballet in Wales.
Sunday, 30 November 2014
|Akram Khan in Torobaka|
Photo: Jean Louis Fernandez
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
|Estela Merlos in Balikbayan|
Photo: Arnau Stephenson
Monday, 24 November 2014
|Kali Chandrasegaram in|
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Monday, 17 November 2014
Sunday, 16 November 2014
|Bennet Gartside, Steven McRae, Laura Morera and Tristan Dyer in The Age of Anxiety|
Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH
Ceremony of Innocence/ Age of Anxiety/ Aeternum, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 7th November
The Royal Ballet's latest triple bill combines a world premiere, a London premiere and a revival, all loosely tied together by the fact that they use music created during the 1930s and 1940s.
Liam Scarlett's The Age of Anxiety forms the centrepiece. Both its choreography and accompanying score (by Leonard Bernstein) are inspired by W. H. Auden’s 1947 poem of the same name. Three men (Steven McRae, Bennet Gartside and Tristan Dyer) and one woman (Laura Morera) form an unlikely friendship around bar stools and bottles of beer, continuing to socialise until early the next morning in the woman's apartment.
The four characters are enticingly portrayed across a range of emotions from despair to lust. Towards the end, the ballet starts to feel repetitive, but a gay subplot provides renewed interest in the final moments. The Age of Anxiety is a testament to Scarlett’s ability to create both effective narrative and interesting classical choreography onstage.
Kim Brandstrup’s Ceremony of Innocence explores lost youth. Its hints of storyline are unclear, but choreography is expressive and Jordan Tuinman’s remarkably versatile lighting design provides a fascinating backdrop. Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum closes the bill in style with beautiful neo-classical shapes performed effortlessly by Marianela Nuñez, Federico Bonelli and Nehemiah Kish.
Monday, 10 November 2014
|Photo: Alastair Muir|
If you like humour and musical theatre, Forbidden Broadway is a fun way to enjoy both, though only the most devoted fans will follow the show in its entirety.
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Photo: ROH / Andrej Uspenski
As Cassandra (Olivia Cowley) experiences visions and goes into hospital, the choreography shows her (and her family’s) discomfort, but doesn’t explain her feelings or what is going on in her head. The title character’s relationship to her ancient namesake, singer Ana Silvera, is also unclear.
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
|Akram Khan and Israel Galván in Torobaka|
Photo: Jean Louis Fernandez
Sunday, 2 November 2014
|Northern Ballet dancers Filippo Di Vilio and Dominique Larose |
Photo: Martin Bell
Common technical problems in grands battements include raising the working hip, bending either leg, losing turn-out, over-tilting the upper body and not going through the tendu position. Grands battements to the side are particularly tricky as a strong rotational action is required in the hip to maintain turn-out. The leg should travel upwards from the tendu position to reflect the pelvic range of motion, which is usually in a diagonal direction between front and side. Only a dancer with 'flat' turn-out will be able to raise the leg absolutely sideways with the correct technique and positioning.
When correctly performed, grands battements provide excellent training for the leg lifts required in ballet choreography. My dance teacher would always tell me to try and "hit my nose" with my foot in grands battements to the front. While this would have been by no means desirable, it did encourage me to raise my leg as high as possible!
Friday, 31 October 2014
|Yasmine Naghdi, Vadim Muntagirov, |
Marianela Nunez and Yuhui Choe
in Symphonic Variations
Photo: Tristram Kenton / ROH
A review of Beauty and the Beast for Londonist
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
|Federico Bonelli, Christopher Saunders & Marianela Nuñez in Manon|
Photo: Alice Pennefather / ROH
Parry highlighted the key themes in MacMillan’s choreography, including claustrophobic family life, loss of innocence, physical infatuation and being a social outcast. Mason described MacMillan’s passion for new interpretations, repeating his words that ballets need to be “recreated rather than repeated” and emphasising his warmth and genius.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
|Marianela Nunez in Apollo|
(4th position on pointe)
Photo: Johan Persson / ROH
|3rd and 5th positions|
Thursday, 23 October 2014
|Helen Crawford in Five Brahms Waltzes|
in the manner of Isadora Duncan
Photo: Tristram Kenton / ROH
Sunday, 19 October 2014
|Nao Sakuma and Jamie Bond in|
La Fin du Jour
Photo: Roy Smiljanic