Review: Richard Alston Dance Company @ Exeter Northcott

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Emotional, contemporarily balletic and deeply European.

Richard Alston has been at the forefront of contemporary ballet for decades and this, his final tour, serves as a reminder of the choreographer’s opus and reach. His training with Merce Cunningham and subsequent work as director of world-renowned Ballet Rambert has had an immeasurable effect on the contemporary dance scene and environment. The evening’s programme presented four competent, moving, complex and beautiful pieces.

We were treated first to Voices and Light Footsteps, which finds images of flowing line and courtship in Monteverdi’s madrigals. The emulation of Italian renaissance dances brings the music to life, though the focus on moves which ground the dancers, with only a few lifts and leaps, makes for a slow and heavy feeling start to the proceedings. Continue reading Review: Richard Alston Dance Company @ Exeter Northcott

Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott

Ballet Cymru, led by artistic director Darius James (OBE), claims to do things a bit differently. If we are to judge by this revival tour of their 2013 ballet Romeo a Juliet, choreographed by him and assistant artistic director Amy Doughty, that statement is indeed true. I applaud the moves towards inclusivity, which feel genuine and never tokenistic. To have a female dancer portraying Benvolio and Friar Lawrence, as well as a wheelchair-using dancer (Joe Powell-Main) in ballet are mention-worthy. It would have been wonderful to see Powell-Main featured even more prominently, but this inclusion is definitely the move in the right direction for ballet and dance in general. Continue reading Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott

Review: Ballet Boyz – Fourteen Days

The concept behind ‘fourteen days’ is simple – four choreographers are paired up with four composers and are given fourteen days to create new pieces of dance and music, all centred around the concept of balance and imbalance. This experiment in the artistic process formed the first half of the performance, and the results are mixed. Initially excited about watching an award-winning innovative dance company … Continue reading Review: Ballet Boyz – Fourteen Days

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Sadler’s Wells, 4th Dec 2012 – 26th Jan 2013. Matthew Bourne is without a doubt the most exciting choreographer in the world of ballet right now. He turned Edward Scissorhands into a ballet, and he famously rewrote Swan Lake with a male Odette/Odile and corps de ballet, creating a gay love story. His latest production is Sleeping Beauty and, as always, he truly … Continue reading Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Swan Lake Through the Ages

Arguably Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballet, Swan Lake has a vast and varied history. Swan Lake was first performed in 1877, but was ill-received. Despite various attempts to salvage it, the ballet remained unpopular until Tchaikovsky’s death. Lev Ivanov choreographed a new version in his honour, it was performed in 1894, and hailed as a huge success. At this point, some changes were made to the ballet. … Continue reading Swan Lake Through the Ages