Tuesday, 10 December 2013

2013 Top 10 Dance

Akram Khan in DESH
Photo: Richard Haughton
It has been a wonderful year for dance in London, with hundreds of performances by companies from both locally and internationally covering styles from hip hop to classical ballet. Here are my top 10 highlights of 2013:

Yuhui Choe in Voices of Spring
Photo: Bill Cooper
10. ZooNation Youth Dance Company's Groove on Down the Road (August)
I couldn't help beaming throughout this vibrant hip hop version of The Wizard of Oz, performed by talented dancers aged just 10-19.

9. Construction Industry Council Gala (November)
This fundraising event, organised by dance critic Graham Watts, included the White Swan pas de deux gorgeously performed by Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov, a charming hip hop solo from Tommy Franzen and the world premiere of Slanjayvah Danza's injury-inspired Minor Tears.

8. FLOW at the Print Room (February)
I had to wear a bin-liner to watch this, but loved Hubert Essakow's choreography with dancers performing in several inches of water.

Northern Ballet's Ugly Duckling
Photo: Martin Bell
7. The Royal Ballet's Ashton mixed bill (February)
This quintuple bill showed the best of Frederick Ashton's choreography, from passionate narrative to strikingly simple shapes and exuberant duets.
6. Akram Khan's DESH (June)
Alas, I didn't review this show and in fact, I didn't particularly follow it - but there was something wonderful and emotive about Akram Khan's choreography that I felt physically in my being rather than understanding logically.

5. The Royal Ballet's Onegin (January/February)
I love this ballet which features John Cranko's superb choreography, Tchaikovsky's beautiful score, and leading roles that are open to really varied and dramatic interpretation.

Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in Romeo and Juliet
Photo: ROH/ Bill Cooper
4. ROH2's The Metamorphosis (March)
10 litres of treacle and some extraordinary contorting body movement by Edward Watson make this a superb and engaging piece of theatre.
3. Northern Ballet's Ugly Duckling (May)
This charming animal-filled children's ballet was a delightful 45 minute's lunchtime entertainment.
2. Laurretta Summerscales in English National Ballet's Swan Lake (June)
This wonderful performance by Laurretta Summerscales was her debut in a leading role, with her serene and impassioned Odette especially moving.

1. Natalia Osipova in the Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet  (November)
An impressive MacMillan style, sublimely effortless technique and touching characterisation made for a beautiful and emotive performance that was undoubtedly my 2013 highlight.

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