mon 08/08/2022

dance

Maya Plisetskaya, 1925-2015

Ismene Brown

The great Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, renowned for her deathless Dying Swan and a performing career that lasted more than 60 years, died suddenly of a heart attack at home in Munich at the weekend, aged 89.

To the West she epitomised the Bolshoi ballerina in style, fierily expressive, virtuosic, larger than life, but she was also an unclassifiable individualist who challenged Soviet norms.

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Best of 2014: Dance & Ballet

Hanna Weibye

You usually know a good piece or performance when you see one, but sometimes you only identify a great one as such significantly after the fact. What better way to test a work's durability, then, than by seeing what remains of it in the memory after six or 12 months? I admit this "best of" exercise is pretty subjective, but 2014 was such a rich year for dance that I've had to be ruthless: an item only makes my list if I still feel excited when I recall it.

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Opinion: Too Strictly? Battle in the ballroom

Marianka Swain

Ballroom dancing, that most civilised of pastimes, may seem an unlikely target for controversy, but a proposed rule change by the British Dance Council (BDC) has thrust our nation’s waltzers into a heated debate. This weekend, the BDC will discuss whether or not to approve a suggested amendment declaring that a ballroom partnership be recognised as “one man and one lady in all adult amateur and professional competitions and championships unless otherwise stated”.

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Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts

Ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this week a brisk new book that urges arts and politicians to reject the emotive clichés and lazy token battles and focus on what matters. In Pain in the Arts, Tusa urges that both sides take personal responsibility for an essential part of human life.

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Hofesh Shechter: My Brighton Festival So Far

Hofesh Shechter

On a lovely sunny Saturday morning the Children’s Parade was a really amazing start to things. The Brighton Festival team, the mayor and I started the parade, leading from the front for a few streets, then we went and watched from the side, wonderful, it made the hairs on my neck stand up. That evening was the first performance of my show Sun which opened the Festival and we had a big party afterwards. Not only that but it was my 39th birthday so it was a triple celebration.

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The Bolshoi acid trial begins - vitriol promised

Ismene Brown

Even by the grand Guignol standards of Russian ballet 2013, this week has been eventful. The trial of the Bolshoi dancer for attacking his boss with acid finally began on Tuesday, and with incredible, tension-ratcheting synchrony, the controversial, mouthy Bolshoi star who was fired in the summer for machinating against his leaders has been appointed to head Russia's world-famous ballet school.

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Technology's New Fields of Dreams in Dance

Ismene Brown

Technology and dance have long been ardent bedfellows. No other theatrical art gobbles up illusions and tricks quite as greedily and spits them out quite as intriguingly altered. Gaslight was a new technology without which the romantic ballets Giselle and La Sylphide could not have existed. Without electric light such exotic adventures in sunshine as Le Corsaire or Don Quixote could not have partied over the late 19th-century St Petersburg stage.

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theartsdesk in Perm: To Russia With Romeo

Natalie Wheen

If you look at a map of Russia, you will find the city of Perm just west of the spine of the Ural Mountains which divides European Russia from Asia, about 720 miles north-east of Moscow. Just under two hours away by plane, you only understand the reality of its remoteness going there by Russian train: 24 hours’ slow chug through endless forests of silver birch, pines and bog, only occasionally enlivened by the startling yellow of kingcups.

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Still Shocking - The Rite of Spring 100 Years On

Ismene Brown

Victims driven to death by the mob, women and men violently rutting in animal costumes, a black comedy about a snatched baby, a naked man dancing alone in his own fantasy - many and varied are the images in the nearly 200 danceworks created to the notorious Rite of Spring since its premiere exactly a century ago. 

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Sylvie Guillem on resurrecting Marguerite & Armand

Ismene Brown

There's grand larceny afoot in the Royal Opera House. Two of today's stars are stealing Fonteyn and Nureyev's signature ballet, and they're leaving some spectators' cherished beliefs shattered in pieces around them.

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