Tanguera at Sadler’s Wells 20/07/17

1. The cast of Tanguera. Photo credit Alex RumfordTango sensation Tanguera first premiered 15 years ago in Buenos Aires, promising an authentic take on the provocative and sensual spectacle with a 30-strong ensemble cast.

Unlike the frequently seen tango showcases of recent times, Tanguera tells a story. It sometimes chooses to drop and pick up the narrative to suit its cause, however its depiction of La Boca and the journey we take through it’s various neighbourhoods, cafes and brothels make it unique and universally enjoyable.

A picture of innocence, Giselle (Melody Celatti) is quite literally fresh off the boat, wide-eyed and expectant. Of course, within 30 seconds she has fallen in love with smouldering dockworker Lorenzo (Esteban Domenichini) and what ensues are a series of contrasting scenes displaying tango in various locations, all hanging by the thread of their love story.

Read the full review on BroadwayWorld.com 

Dorrance Dance – ETM: Double Down at Sadler’s Wells 12/07/17

dorranceDorrance Dance is an New York based tap dance company who have made it their mission to “blast open” our notions of tap through experimentation with the capabilities of performers as both dancers and musicians. In the case of ETM: Double Down this is done with an earthy, rhythmical take on tap, utilising electronic triggerboards. This is a show where the dancers are also the musicians.

The show is so intensely technical one is entirely absorbed by these dancers fulfilling the role of musicians, while the remainder of the company dance to their uniquely coordinated rhythm, introducing hip-hop, street and contemporary moves to the stage simultaneously. Dorrance’s newest collaborator, b-girl Ephrat Asherie, brings her signature energetic style and finely nuanced footwork to the stage, mightily impressive for someone who claims to only dabble in tap.

The choreographic episodes of the first act are non-linear, and start as simple musical loops that are slowly built up and broken back down again by dancers atop platforms.

Read the full review on CultureWhisper.com

Kevin & Karen Dance at G Live, Guildford 16/06/17

lg_20160922144753_82We’re getting towards the end of Strictly tour season. With so much choice it’s now a necessity the professional dancers try something a little different to mop up the last of the spare change in the Strictly faithful’s back pocket. Recently Janette and Aljaz brought us their homage to Fred Astaire and Joanne Clifton swapped dance for musical theatre with a stint in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Now we have Karen and Kevin Clifton giving you their life story in dance, choreographed by Strictly and Burn the Floor’s, Jason Gilkison.

Generally speaking, Karen & Kevin Dance will thrill Strictly lovers with it’s varied dance styles, storytelling and humour from start to finish. The Clifton’s presentation of their story is naturally charismatic whilst remaining deeply personal and their fans will be captivated by this dreamy fairy tale.

First published in Dancing Times – July 2017

The Royal Ballet in The Dream / Symphonic Variations / Marguerite & Armand at the Royal Opera House 07/06/17

14320962426_1f91144006After recent performances of new choreography from Crystal Pite, Wayne McGregor and Liam Scarlett, one could be forgiven for believing the Royal Ballet has dragged itself reluctantly into the 21st century. Perhaps it’s an overly emotional response, but there is something wonderfully reassuring and warm in this Ashton triple bill that closes the current season. It’s a return to what the Royal does best in these delicate works that shine in their artistry and finesse.

Akane Takada leads the cast in a dreamy The Dream, and is a pure and decorative Titania flawlessly suited to this role, while Steven McRae is a regal Oberon, bounding about the stage, gesticulating and exuding control over the comical proceedings. Together they lack a little chemistry compared to more established partnerships, but Ashton’s wonderfully busy and well-paced staging mean there is never time for this to be a focus.

Read the full review on BroadwayWorld.com

Thoroughly Modern Millie at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley 06/06/17

TMM-Joanne-Clifton-as-Millie-and-Company-c-Darren-Bell-1030x687This take on the Hollywood classic Thoroughly Modern Millie last played Broadway back in 2002. However, regardless of the cast’s plucky efforts to inject some New York panache into proceedings, Millie emerges as a particularly poor choice for revisiting in 2017.

The story features threads that sit uncomfortably in the present day. Mrs Meers, with her chopstick-clad hair and mock Chinese accent, is amusing for ten minutes, but after a couple of scenes just seems plain racist. Millie’s chunk of the plot hangs on the idea that she needs to find a rich man to marry to get on in life. Where do I even start with that one?

The staging and set design are strong and the look of Millie would not seem out of place on a West End stage. The Twenties flapper costumes sparkle. The dusky jazz clubs smoulder and the frenetic office scenes are well choreographed.

Read the full review on BroadwayWorld.com 

‘Millie’ tour until July 15th. 

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer at Sadler’s Wells 25/05/17

dm-esmerelda-rina-kanehara-aitor-arrieta-pdd-stand_1000English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer award is now in it’s eighth year and this time was able to reach an even wider audience through a live streaming from Sadler’s Wells Theatre which has had 50,000 views to date. Such an addition promoted this annual contest an even bigger opportunity for these young dancers to shine and demonstrate their capabilities in principal roles they have rarely, if ever, had the chance to dance.

Just personally, Emerging Dancer has genuinely become one of my favourite dance events of the year since I first saw it in 2014. Perhaps it’s the tension of the competition element, the opportunity for those who usually go appreciated in the corps to shine or the pomp and circumstance of a celebrity host (Arlene Phillips this year) and the three awards presented by Artistic Director Tamara Rojo at the end of the evening. I adore all it stands for, however, this year’s award seemed to suffer from a number of clunky production issues and lack of rehearsal time that hindered the enjoyment of the talent on display.

Emerging Dancer 2017 took place on May 25th at Sadler’s Wells.

Read the full review on BroadwayWorld.com

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Milonga at Sadler’s Wells 22/05/17

Eastman-mlonga

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s collaboration of tango and contemporary dancers was first seen at Sadler’s Wells in 2013. milonga is a stylish 90-minute production that features some wonderfully original concepts, indulgent tango and just occasionally some more ill-judged additions.

The cast comprise of an unbalanced mix of ten tango dancers with two contemporary. The marriage of tango with contemporary is not an entirely happy one, tango fans will feel the contemporary additions sit uncomfortably and vice versa. However, with spirited live music and atmospheric touches evoking the bustling streets of Buenos Aires there is much to enjoy here.

The individual contributions from each couple are well-pitched and performed with finesse. Their distinctive personalities add colour to the cast as a whole in the ensemble numbers. German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi’s style naturally remain true to the traditional. They are fiery, sensuous and evocative, with their warp speed leg flicks becoming harder and harder to fathom. Galeassi’s trademark leg extensions remain breathtaking too. It doesn’t matter how often you see these two, they remain flawless, awe inspiring, and audiences gasp in delight at the speed of their darting limbs.

Each number features a different overriding emotion. There’s a slower paced funeral scene where the woman dance sombrely, their faces obscured by veils. Conversely, one couple’s intense and erotic exchange boils over so uncontrollably it descends into violence, with a hearty slap in the face for the male. These small narrative fragments never develop into anything more, however.

Viviana D’Attorna and Bruno Gibertoni provide the comic relief with a light-hearted display of fun and flirty tango that climaxes in D’Attorna, who dons some oversized white-framed glasses, rejecting the ominous advances of Gibertoni. Their chemistry fizzles inconsistently and it’s good-natured intrigue that plays out in front of towering 3D projections which takes the audience on an eclectic and fast-paced journey through the city.

The brooding pas de trois – comprised of an all male cast to Libertango, a commonly used authentic piece of music from Astor Piazolla – is a choreographic highlight. Cherkaoui intelligently enlivens the well known score through a menacing face off between three tango titans, who weave between each other’s bodies with an increasing sense of urgency.

The key frustration with milonga is that tango requires no tweaking and no further investigation. Cherkaoui is attempting to break the mold with a contemporary couple, who crawl around on the floor, separated and then reunited on a crowded dancefloor, but it’s not necessary. The spectacular finale in which Galeassi is thrown above Cornejo’s head with one arm is the explosive and satisfying conclusion the audience want and it requires no further improvement.

First published on LondonDance.com

Milonga tours nationally until June 17th http://www.milongatour.co.uk/