Ballet Black at the Barbican 15/03/18

A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream_BALLET BLACK, BARBICAN,
Choreographer; Arthur PitaBallet Black is a diverse company, comprised of black and Asian dancers, that has been annually performing their charismatic brand of dance in London since 2001.

Always a treat, with only seven dancers one really feels as if they have come to know the individual personalities over the years, as they move seamlessly from the sincere to the playful in this latest double bill of story ballets.

The Suit was created especially for them by Cathy Marston. On the surface it’s an unremarkable tale of a woman who is found to be cheating on her husband, who then shames her into carrying around the lover’s symbolic suit as a reminder of her betrayal.

Designer Jane Heather’s muted colours and the mostly melancholic score makes for heavier viewing than typical Ballet Black fare, nonetheless the woeful tale is told with an earnest clarity, with the three key figures supported by a remaining chorus of four.

Read the full review on


Strictly Come Dancing Live at the 02 Arena 10/02/18

Strictly-Come-Dancing-Live-Tour-LaunchIt’s hard to fault this year’s Strictly Come Dancing Live! tour line-up with 7 of the top 8 celebrities from the past series signing up for another two months on the road. Together with their original professional partners, it makes for a particularly attractive prospect to Strictly fans up and down the country.

The enthusiastic audience at the 02 at this final weekend of the tour run certainly don’t require much encouragement as they joyfully chant the catch phrases on queue “Fab-u-lous!” and youngsters wave their golden ten paddles.

The team behind the tour have far from lost their touch in curating a wonderfully feelgood evening but the now heavily scripted nature of the show means this annual offering lacks a little spontaneity, especially in the staged chats that make up so much of the first half.

Revel-Horwood has directed the tour for the majority of it’s eleven year history and having viewed four of his last five tours he needs to be careful not to get complacent with this successful formula. Although the 10,000 bums on seats in the 02 don’t show any signs of tiring of it.

Read the full review in Dancing Times – March 2018

Jesus Carmona – Impetus at Sadler’s Wells 24/02/18

Jesus Carmona credit Beatrix Mexi Molnar (1)Jesús Carmona is a former Principal with Ballet Nacional de España, who went on to form is own company with the aim of showcasing the very best in Spanish culture.

IImpetus, a work Carmona has toured since 2015, he seeks to demonstrate his growth as an all-round artist by combining beautiful balletic sensitivity with bold and commanding flamenco footwork. The result is an impactful and charged evening enhanced by a flawless ensemble cast and live musicians making for a high point in Sadler’s Wells 2018 Flamenco Festival.

Impetus adapts works from great Spanish composers Albéniz, Riqueni and Escudero. Choreographically it draws on the zapateado, the percussive footwork associated with traditional flamenco.

Carmona takes more of a backseat role in the early sequences, allowing his fellow cast members to shine. The sultry lighting and the intricate choreography of the wrists and hands bubbles up nicely, anticipating the high energy demands further down the line. Carmona himself is delicate and nuanced: his arms undulate and his pirouettes are graceful. He is every part the Principal Dancer.

Read the full review on

Isabel Bayon – Dju-Dju (Flamenco Festival) at Sadler’s Wells 20/02/18

x46566207-9445-E6D8-F1D8260EB403251F.jpg.pagespeed.ic.WbTh94wrPGSadler’s Wells’ annual season of flamenco is now in its 15th year. It offers a varied bill, from the traditional and vibrant to more contemporary interpretations. In the case of Isabel Bayón’s new work, Dju-Dju, the slightly eccentric too.

It’s a 90-minute romp exploring traditions, superstitions and rituals in dance. Bayón repeatedly crosses herself theatrically, breathing deeply, between singing, dancing and acting her way through the piece; she hams up the role well in the comedic moments.

Bayón is accompanied by three zany musicians who provide commentary and charisma throughout. Guitarist Jesús Torres makes a memorable entrance in a white smock and sandals, channelling his own namesake. He embraces various audience members, beckons down some cherubs, which descend from the ceiling next to a miniature silver Christmas tree – not your typical flamenco fare. He whitters away in Spanish while keyboardist Alejandro Rojas-Marcos provides a rough translation with more than a hint of cynicism.

Read the full review on

The Winter’s Tale at the Royal Opera House 13/02/18

The-Winter-s-Tale-Ryoichi-Hirano-as-Leontes-and-Lauren-Cuthbertson-as-Hermione-c-ROH-2018-Ph-by-Tristram-Kenton-2Christopher Wheeldon’s popular retelling of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale returns to the Royal Opera House stage for the third time in four years.

Of its many strengths, the meaty storytelling on display from the dancers of the Royal Ballet is its greatest selling point. It’s done with such a wonderful clarity – not only thanks to Wheeldon’s choreography. The emotional investment from the cast really takes this tale to the next level.

The story itself is not your typical wafty ballet fare. Act One contains a demanding narrative: childhood friends Leontes and Polixenes are reunited when Polixenes comes to visit Leontes’s kingdom of Sicilia. Together with Leontes’s pregnant wife Hermione they have a whale of a time, dancing and celebrating – until Leontes becomes fixated on the idea that Hermione is carrying Polixenes’s child and not his own.

Read the full review on

Sadler’s Sampled at Sadler’s Wells 02/02/18

©BC20140424_Kin_ BRB_406.TIFGiving a star rating to a Sadler’s Sampled programme is not a straightforward task. These are varied evenings that showcase the upcoming Sadler’s Wells season and encompass everything from classical ballet, to flamenco and hip-hop. It’s unlikely you will enjoy every component here; however, there will likely be a couple that make the evening more than worth your time.

Having attended a fair share of past Sampled programmes, this year’s was a little disappointing for fans of the traditional. Classical ballet was given just twenty minutes of stage time, whereas contemporary and hip-hop managed well over an hour. Fans of all genres, though, will appreciate the highly charismatic performances the evening provides.

They don’t come more charismatic than flamenco dancer, Jesús Carmona, who is accompanied on stage by guitarist Daniel Jurado and singer Juan José Amador.

Solea Del Campillo is an authentic, initially slow-burning piece. Carmona’s background as a former Principal of Ballet Nacional de España is evident with his elegant twists and turns as he travels gracefully about the stage before the piece gradually builds up to an explosion of fast and furious footwork that thrills the Sadler’s Wells audience.

The few classical representatives at this year’s Sampled were strong choices. Former Royal Ballet Principal Zenaida Yanowsky’s Dying Swan gave a serene and beautiful display. In a programme largely made up of loud and upbeat performances, Yanowsky held the audience in perfect silence with her melancholy swan, still majestic even in death.

Read the full review on 

Giselle at the Royal Opera House 19/01/18

Giselle.-Marianela-Nuñez-as-Giselle-and-Federico-Bonelli-as-Albrecht.-©ROH-2018.-Photographed-by-Helen-Maybanks.Marianela Nuñez celebrates her 20th year with the Royal Ballet this year. For a prima ballerina you may believe her peak years of performing are behind her. However, nothing could be further from the truth in this divine production of Sir Peter Wright’s mystical Giselle, in which a stellar cast bring their superior storytelling skills to this signature work in the company’s repertoire.

Giselle is possibly the quintessential romantic ballet. It tells the story of a young peasant girl who falls in love with Count Albrecht, disguised as a peasant himself. Albrecht is already engaged to Bathilde (a beguiling Olivia Cowley), and when Giselle discovers this at the end of Act One, she kills herself. In Act Two she reappears as a spirit, sharing a brief reunion with her beloved before returning to the grave, leaving Albrecht powerless and alone.

Nuñez is delightful is the early scenes. Throughout her initial infatuation with Albrecht, she maintains a joyful and sunny disposition, while remaining a humble Giselle brimming with youthful innocence.

Read the full review on