Ballet

Almost triumphs over the absurdity of its premise: Northern Ballet’s Victoria reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Blame Kenneth MacMillan. The great Royal Ballet choreographer of the 1960s, 70s and 80s was convinced that narrative dance could…

Forget the Don – come for the Mataphwoar Ryoichi Hirano: Royal Ballet’s Don Quixote reviewed

23 February 2019 9:00 am

The trouble with Don Quixote is Don Quixote. Whenever the doddering, delusional Don is onstage, tilting at windmills, riding his…

Alina Cojocaru and Joseph Caley in Manon. Photo: Laurent Liotardo

One nasty moment aside, the ENB’s Manon is superlative

26 January 2019 9:00 am

If you like the BBC’s Les Misérables, you’ll love English National Ballet’s Manon. Manon, in Kenneth MacMillan’s telling, is The…

Matthew Ball as Ted Feltham in the Royal Ballet's The Unknown Soldier. Photo: ROH, Helen Maybanks

Has the Royal Ballet found its hero?

1 December 2018 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet is a company in search of a prince. It has no lack of dancing princesses. You could…

Vadim Muntagirov as Solor and Marianela Nunnez as Nikiya in Royal Ballet's Bayadère. Photo: ROH / Bill Cooper

How could anyone object to the Royal Ballet engaging in cultural appropriation?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

La Bayadère opens with a sacred flame and ends with an earthquake. In between, Marius Petipa’s ballet of 1877 gives…

Joseph Caley and Alina Cojocaru in English National Ballet’s Manon

Why does the English National Ballet bother taking Manon to the provinces?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Like it or not, provincial ballet audiences love a story they can hum and any director planning to tour a…

Natalia Osipova as Mary Vetsera and Ryoichi Hirano as Rudolf in Mayerling

Why Mayerling is a #MeToo minefield

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling is a #MeToo minefield. Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary is a serial seducer, a man of many…

Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman in William Forsythe’s Catalogue

William Forsythe on the day the US government threatened to arrest him

6 October 2018 9:00 am

William Forsythe has been called a lot of things in his four decades as a dancemaker: wilful provocateur, ‘pretentious as…

Bravura piss-taking from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘Ballet is woman’ insisted George Balanchine, but ballet can also be a big man in a dress as any fan…

Artists of the Royal Ballet against the easel-worthy backcloths of John Macfarlane’s ravishing designs for Swan Lake

Proper tutus, gorgeous designs, first-rate dancing: Royal Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet’s 2016 Frankenstein was a masterclass in how not to make narrative dance and the news that Liam…

How do these Shaolin monks square six shows a week with monking?

How do these Shaolin monks square six shows a week with monking?

14 April 2018 9:00 am

The Shaolin monks are no strangers to the stage. Their home in Dengfeng is a major stop on the Chinese…

ENB’s La Sylphide resembles a lock-in at a Royal Mile souvenir shop

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Gurn loves Effy, Effy is engaged to James but James is away with the fairies: a recipe for love tragedy.…

The nymphs are hit and miss, but Osipova is a witty, multifaceted Sylvia: the Royal Ballet’s Sylvia reviewed

16 December 2017 9:00 am

You can pay homage to a ballet classic or you can tear it up and reinvent it. Both approaches were…

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar

The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Erté was destined for the imperial navy. Failing that, the army. His father and uncle had been navy men. There…

Reducing the lead to an demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A kindly cowboy, an East Coast bride, adultery, murder and madness. The Wind, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 Texas gothic novel (and…

Wayne’s world

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Ballet would have been an obvious revenue stream for Sadler’s Wells when it reopened back in 1998 but straight-up classics…

Dancers of the Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Pretty vacant

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Alice is at it again. Christopher Wheeldon’s 2011 three-act ballet began another sell-out run at Covent Garden last week. It’s…

I spy

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Where was Degas standing as he sketched his ‘Laundresses’ (c.1882–4)? Did he watch the two women from behind sheets hanging…

The glorious Grand Pas from Paquita, part of the Mariinsky’s triple bill

Not vintage Mariinsky

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Not really a vintage Mariinsky season — an odd choice of repertoire and some hit-and-miss male casting — but the…

Mad about the boy

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Tall, handsome boys with long legs and beautifully arched feet do not grow on trees (if only). Every ballet director…

Victoria Sibson as Bertha Mason and Javier Torres as Edward Rochester in Cathy Marston’s ‘Jane Eyre’

Northern Ballet has triumphed with Brontë: Jane Eyre reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

The difference between a poor ballet of the book (see the Royal Ballet’s Frankenstein) and a good one — indeed…

Royal Opera’s Tannhäuser is one of the ugliest stagings I have set eyes on

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Cursed, or perhaps blessed, with almost no visual memory at all, I had almost completely forgotten what the Royal Opera’s…

Predictably meh: Scottish Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Every ballet company wants a box-office earner. But why Scottish Ballet’s leader Christopher Hampson kept on at David Dawson until…

A new dance piece in which race definitely matters: Ballet Black’s Triple Bill reviewed

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Ballet’s romantic mantra could be summed up by John Keats’s ballad ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, in which a young…

I felt the earth move just as before: Akram Khan’s Kaash reviewed

19 March 2016 9:00 am

You revisit an old love with wariness. Time’s passed for both of you — sharp edges have been smoothed, and…