mon 08/08/2022

dance

Next Royal Ballet chief is smiling insider Kevin O'Hare

Ismene Brown

There were apparently unanimous whoops of joy inside the Royal Ballet this morning, even as brows were wrinkling perplexedly outside, when it was announced that the likeable No 2, administrative director Kevin O’Hare, will succeed director Dame Monica Mason next year. The smiling insider is to head a team involving two of the world’s leading choreographers, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor, which holds out the promise of a gold-plated twin-track creative approach uniting both...

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Ballet's Bad Girl Has a New Sound

Natalie Wheen

Kenneth MacMillan’s dramatic ballet Manon was premiered in 1974 to a chorus of attacks on its tale of a “nasty little diamond-digger”, as one critic had it. Since then the slut who can’t help herself has risen to become one of the most coveted roles in the world for major classical ballerinas (as another critic at the time foresaw), and the ballet is now in the repertoire of some 18 companies around the world.

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theartsdesk in Madrid: Nuevo Flamenco Comes of Age

Peter Culshaw Miguel Poveda, one of the nuevo flamenco performers appearing at Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival

I am far from the first - and in very good company - to worry about the over-commercialisation of flamenco. As far back as in 1922 Manuel de Falla and Federico Garcia Lorca, respectively Spain’s greatest composer and poet of the time, decided to organise a singing competition in Granada in which only singers from the villages were allowed to enter. The polished, preening urban stars of the Café Cantantes were ineligible. My resistance to the genre was partly to do with the Gypsy Kings,...

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theartsdesk's Christmas Presents Guide

theartsdesk

With the lightning speed of online delivery, there is still masses of time to select the best and most enjoyable presents for Christmas, thanks to the taste and wisdom of theartsdesk's pack of writers.

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theartsdesk in Siberia: Cold Comfort Krasnoyarsk

Ismene Brown

In England you may joke about having Siberian weather with minus 7 degrees. This is really what Siberian winter looks like - at minus 26 degrees. The river is gushing steam, a hellishly peculiar sight. After travelling for 16 hours and through seven time zones to get to Krasnoyarsk at six in the morning, I am not sure I’m seeing what I’m seeing.

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Design Secrets of Cinderella and The Nutcracker

Ismene Brown

The designer of a fairytale ballet is far, far more important than the choreographer. It's those visions that lodge themselves in children's heads, in adults' memories, embedded with the music. And at no time more potently than Christmas when it's time for The Nutcracker and Cinderella.

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Romeo and Juliet in Opera and Ballet

Ismene Brown

Those teenage lovers Romeo and Juliet will be dying nightly on a stage near you in various guises for much of the autumn - not as Shakespeare’s play, but as ballets and operas based on it. Next week both Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet field two of the more famous versions on their autumn tours, while at the end of the month the Royal Opera stages a rare revival of Gounod’s opera.

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Behind the Scene at the Museum: The Staging of the Diaghilev Exhibition

Ismene Brown

The show's curator Jane Pritchard revealed this wonderful kitchen story in a unique walk-round with theartsdesk this week. Her two-year hunt ranged from Diaghilev's passport to glorious Nijinsky costumes, from the Ballets Russes accounts book to astonishing Picasso stage cloths, from precious notated scores by Stravinsky to automated Constructivist art, from ballerinas' slippers and early colour film to Yves St Laurent fashions.

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Being a Trock: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Peacock Theatre

Ismene Brown

Shortly before he died Merce Cunningham came to see the Trocks’ new parody of his work - he loved the dancing but hated the music. Pace the great man, for most of us watching it Wednesday night the entire thing is a miracle of comedic perception, from the three lanky fellows in strange unitards and weird hair, po-facedly hopping about the stage, to the two mad musicians in black at the side, bursting paper bags, gargling, shaving the microphone, and mooing gently.

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The Ballet That Began in the Bath

Ismene Brown

This week Scottish Ballet opens its new season with a ballet of genius that began life in the bath. The bath is a great place for inspiration. The Greek mathematician Archimedes discovered the law of hydrostatics in it. The choreographer Frederick Ashton also had one of his major lightbulb moments while having a soak, idly listening to the radio in 1947 when a new piece of music came on.

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