NEWS: World Ballet Day Live – Tuesday 4th October 2016

 

One day. Five ballet companies. Live and Online.

 

World Ballet Day LIVE, the marathon live-stream featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the top ballet companies on the planet, returns on Tuesday 4th October 2016.

In my world, every day is ballet day! I fill as many of my waking hours as possible with dance writing, reviewing, studying and teaching – all while endeavouring to ensure I never miss any opportunity to participate in a ballet class myself. This means that I eat, breathe and sleep dance most days. Unsurprisingly, I have nothing but enthusiasm for World Ballet Day LIVE. The now-annual event brings balletomanes across the globe together, for one special day, to share in the sheer joy of watching professional ballet dancers do their thing.

The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet are the five leading companies opening up their studios to audiences during the 20 hours of non-stop broadcasting. Viewers will have the chance to observe each company’s morning ballet class; acquire insight into choreographic and rehearsal processes; hear from influential and inspiring industry insiders and discover more about ballet from incredibly talented individuals who have dedicated their lives to the art form.

 

World Ballet Day Live 2016.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ – London Coliseum, January 2016

 

A flurry of sparkling snowflakes, a cascade of blossoming flowers and a colourful hot air balloon drifting skywards – English National Ballet’s Nutcracker proved the perfect antidote to a woefully wet and windy Saturday!

Christmas seems merely a dim and distant memory now that the sparkly decorations have come down and January has well and truly arrived. However, inside the London Coliseum theatre the magic of the Yuletide season lingers this weekend as the venue hosts the final performances in this run of the festive – and fantastical – ballet.

Wayne Eagling’s exuberant Nutcracker premièred in 2010 and is the tenth version to have been incorporated into English National Ballet’s repertoire since the Company was established in 1950. Of all the 19th Century ballets, Nutcracker is the one which is most often staged and interpreted in strikingly different ways. English National Ballet’s current production includes some wonderful moments which are full of timeless Christmas cheer and plenty of divine dancing.

 

Nutcracker. English National Ballet. Shiori Kase as Clara. Photo by Jason Bell.

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2015

 

Even Shakespeare’s cruel twists of fate are powerless to dampen the blazing passion of English National Ballet’s current Romeo & Juliet.

Undeniably the world’s greatest love story, the tragedy is eternally destined to be an audience-pleaser and Milton Keynes Theatre was packed on opening night for the touring revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s 1977 interpretation. Originally created for the Company in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, this sumptuous production intensifies the tale of two star-crossed lovers by frequently emphasising the notion of human weakness; ominously accentuating the brutality of Renaissance Verona; and boldly challenging the dancers with demanding, multifaceted, choreography.

Contrasts command much clout in any Romeo & Juliet. The opposition of the two rival families. The hustle and bustle of the swarming marketplace juxtaposed against the serenity of the moonlit trysts in the garden and at the chapel. The differences between idealistic Romeo and passive Paris as they vie for Juliet’s attention. Still, what really stands out in this version is how the spectacle of impressive leaps, turns and lifts can be impeccably matched by the potency of far more natural human movement – a glance, a touch, a kiss. Nureyev’s staging manages to develop all of the characters and provide further insight into several relationships, balancing the brilliance and bravado of ballet with a depth of drama befitting of the Bard’s prose.

 

Romeo & Juliet. English National Ballet's 'Romeo & Juliet'. Alina Cojocaru as Juliet and James Forbat as Romeo (photo by Jason Bell). View Post

REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Lest We Forget’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2015

 

Awesome and absorbing, Lest We Forget makes for an evening to remember

 

Dance may be the most transient of mediums but English National Ballet’s emotive Lest We Forget will forever remain with audience members privileged to see the award-winning triple bill at Milton Keynes Theatre last night.

Commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, this mixed programme of profoundly powerful pieces of contemporary choreography astounded fans and critics alike when it premiered in London at the Barbican in 2014 and during its recent revival at Sadler’s Wells. A huge departure from the traditional classics that theatregoers associate with English National Ballet, ‘Lest We Forget’ marks artistic director Tamara Rojo‘s boldest move so far.

Inspired by the loss, longing, pain, sacrifice, strength and sadness evoked by war, Lest We Forget reflects upon the experiences of both the men who went off to fight and the women who were left to keep the home fires burning. Liberated from the conventions of classical ballet technique, English National Ballet’s dancers effortlessly embody the approach to movement taken by each of three of today’s most celebrated British choreographers: Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett.

 

Lest We Forget. English National Ballet. Tamara Rojo and Esteban Berlanga in Liam Scarlett's 'No Man's Land' (photography by ASH). View Post

NEWS: English National Ballet returns on tour with two powerfully poignant productions – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2015

 

Theatregoers in Milton Keynes are in for such a treat this October as English National Ballet is bringing not one but two award-winning productions to the new city. Whether you are a dedicated dance fan or simply interested in enjoying a beautifully performed work of art, you will not want to miss out on seeing the Company during its autumn visit to Milton Keynes Theatre.

Artistic director Tamara Rojo is committed to showing that there is more to ballet than the tutu-clad ballerinas featured in the classics. As the driving force behind the Company and a prima ballerina herself, Tamara is intent on advancing the art form in order to keep it relevant, interesting and – most importantly – alive for future generations to enjoy. The reflective triple bill Lest We Forget is her first new commission for English National Ballet. Created to commemorate last year’s centenary of the First World War, this contemporary programme features the choreography of three of the most in-demand British dance-makers of today.

Romeo & Juliet is undeniably the world’s greatest love story. Rudolf Nureyev’s landmark production for English National Ballet was devised in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It premièred at London Coliseum on 2nd June 1977 and won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Ballet Creation that year. The Company has since performed Nureyev’s production around the world (373 times!) to critical acclaim. Demonstrating the expressive artistry and explosive virtuosity of the Company’s dancers, Romeo & Juliet is a beloved masterpiece from English National Ballet’s repertoire which promises to prove popular with balletomanes and newcomers alike.

 

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