REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Le Corsaire’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2019

 

English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is a treasure trove of colourful characters and virtuoso dancing. It’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Based very loosely on an 1814 poem by Lord Byron, the narrative of this three-act ballet follows the escapades of a dashing pirate called Conrad and his enchantingly beautiful girlfriend Medora. When Medora is abducted by a slave trader, Conrad and his pirate crew set off on a valiant voyage to rescue her.

It’s an action-packed adventure with incredibly explosive dancing from the men. There are countless bravura leaps, spinning jumps and perpetual pirouettes. The entertainment factor is top-notch. Indeed, thanks to the pirate-themed plot and ballet tricks galore, high jinks on the high seas are guaranteed!

 

English National Ballet. Le Corsaire. Guest artist Brooklyn Mack.

 

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NEWS: English National Ballet revives swashbuckling spectacular ‘Le Corsaire’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2019

 

Escape to an exotic realm of pirates, romance and jealousy when English National Ballet revives its spectacular production of Le Corsaire this month.

Six years after the glittering world premiere at Milton Keynes Theatre, English National Ballet’s extravagant staging of Le Corsaire is returning to charm dance fans of all ages.

The lavish Russian ballet, which is loosely based on the 1814 poem The Corsair (The Pirate) by Lord Byron, had never been danced in its entirety in the United Kingdom until English National Ballet’s premiere.

Boasting gutsy dancing and amorous adventures on the high seas, Le Corsaire was rapturously received on its first outing and subsequent tour. More recently, it set sail to delight audiences with glorious performances in Japan, Paris and Spain. This pirate drama has universal appeal!

 

English National Ballet guest artist Brooklyn Mack as Conrad in Le Corsaire.

 

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NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ promises to be a ballet with bite – Cinemas nationwide, 31 October 2019

 

Be enthralled by the dark tale of an enduring horror figure at a live cinema screening of Northern Ballet’s Dracula this Halloween.

Tonight’s performance of the ballet at Leeds Playhouse will be broadcast in cinemas nationwide as an atmospheric alternative to the usual fright night films. Created and choreographed by Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon OBE, this production of Dracula promises to seduce audiences with sensuous dancing, gripping theatre and eerie music.

The gothic narrative follows a series of chilling events that occur when Count Dracula – an elegant and charismatic immortal of the night, who survives by drinking human blood – leaves his native Transylvania and travels to England. This brooding bloodsucker has become obsessed with his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray. Predictably, once the Count is on Mina’s home turf, he inflicts havoc by terrorising new victims to get close to her.

Amid passion and power struggles, Mina finds herself wavering between remaining virtuous and succumbing to eternity as a vampire. Could Count Dracula really be caught up in an intense search for legitimate love under the cover of darkness, or is he simply a perverted predator biding his time?

Dance lovers seeking a Halloween treat should expect sinister solos and hot-blooded pas de deux scenes as this ballet with bite unfolds.

 

Northern Ballet' Dracula. Javier Torres as Dracula and Abigail Prudames as Mina. Photo by Emma Kauldhar.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’ in-the-round – Royal Albert Hall, June 2019

 

English National Ballet’s Cinderella in-the-round reimagines the rags-to-riches story as a stunning fairy tale for our times.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon develops a quirky narrative centred around humanity and nature. In short, Cinderella’s compassion, creativity and courage – combined with a little mystical assistance from her dearly departed mother – help her make her own magic.

Wheeldon devised his imaginative interpretation in 2012, as a co-production between Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has revisited it for English National Ballet, restaging it as Cinderella in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

Cinderella in-the-round campaign photography of English National Ballet dancers Emma Hawes and Francesco Gabriele Frola by Jason Bell.

 

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REVIEW: The Royal Ballet’s ‘Medusa’ mixed bill – Cinemas worldwide, May 2019

 

The Royal Ballet confidently dances distinctive works from three leading contemporary choreographers in the Medusa mixed bill: Within the Golden Hour / Medusa / Flight Pattern.

 

Medusa is a brand new narrative work from acclaimed Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Created on The Royal Ballet, with Natalia Osipova in the title role, it is his first commission for the company.

Cherkaoui draws on his training in ballet, hip-hop, tap, jazz and flamenco to devise dance for an impressive range of performers. His eclectic style means he is in demand with major ballet companies and major pop stars alike. He is artistic director of Royal Ballet of Flanders; artistic director of his own contemporary dance company, Eastman; and an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells.

Within the Golden Hour, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, is an abstract ballet devised for San Francisco Ballet in 2008 and first performed by The Royal Ballet in 2006.

Wheeldon trained at The Royal Ballet School before joining The Royal Ballet in 1991. He later moved to New York City Ballet where he was promoted to soloist before becoming the company’s first resident choreographer. Wheeldon, who was made an OBE in 2016, is now artistic associate of The Royal Ballet and regularly choreographs for leading international companies.

Flight Pattern was Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s first work for The Royal Ballet. When this large-scale ensemble piece exploring the plight of refugees premiered in 2017, it was the company’s first new mainstage work by a woman in eighteen years.

Pite is a former member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet. Her professional choreographic debut was in 1990, at Ballet British Columbia, and she has since created more than fifty works. Pite is the recipient of three Olivier awards, including one in 2017 for Flight Pattern.

 

Broadcasting performances such as the Medusa mixed bill in cinemas makes it possible for audiences outside London to experience exceptional dance. Long may the creation, and widespread consumption, of ballet continue – I love being able to pop to my local cinema to watch The Royal Ballet in action!

 

Medusa mixed bill

 

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