Protein’s Border Tales at The Place 14/11/17

Protein Dance, Border Tales., photo Jane Hobson
It’s rare to witness a work that tackles its concepts so bluntly and fearlessly. So often in dance we are challenged to look at the subtleties and nuances; but Protein’s Border Tales is a daring piece of theatre that tackles the issues surrounding multiculturalism head on, with humour and feeling.

Featuring a stripped back cast of seven for this short run at The Place, Luca Silvestrini provides each with a platform to tell their own personal story and address the stereotypes each of them encounters everyday. Border Tales was first performed back in 2013 but takes on a new relevance in Brexit-bound United Kingdom.

The opening imagery is a stark depiction of a fight against an invisible force. A jagged line of neon cuts the stage in two. Eryck Brahmania is torn between the two borders, his body contorting, as he attempts to channel his energy through jumps and leaps until he comes across his fellow storytellers and a comical series of greetings are exchanged.

The story is topped and tailed with a welcome party for the various “foreigners” hosted by Andy: a ‘salt of the earth’ Northerner struggling to make sense of his new neighbours’ cultures and desperately trying not to offend them, while simultaneously doing the opposite.

Read the full review on CultureWhisper.


A Nutcracker Just for You …

Christmas brings that most loved of all seasonal ballets, The Nutcracker. But with four productions on offer in London this year, which to pick? Here’s our guide …

The Nutcracker. Artists of The Royal Ballet. ROH 2015. Tristram Kenton.Set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, The Nutcracker, whatever its iteration, tells the magic tale of young Clara, who is gifted a nutcracker doll by the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer at a Christmas Eve family party. Once midnight strikes, and a scary army of Rats is defeated, Clara is taken by her nutcracker on a magical adventure through the Kingdom of the Sweets, and finally meets the gorgeous Sugar Plum Fairy.

With four different productions of this Christmas classic about to hit London, the question is, which Nutcracker is for you? Young and old, families and larger parties, or children seeking a more interactive experience, there is something for everyone …

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Ballet Black at Theatre Royal Stratford East 09/11/17

Choreography;Annabelle Lopez Ochoa,Ballet Black continue to move from strength to strength. Having recently secured funding and completed work on a more spacious London studio, they now tour nationally with their acclaimed narrative ballet, Red Riding Hood, as the main attraction in this varied triple bill.

In a change from the March premiere at the Barbican, Arthur Pita‘s House of Dreams has been swapped for Ludovic Ondiviela’s Dopamine, a piece first performed by the company in 2013. It features the magnetic attraction between two dancers, the technically excellent Cira Robinson and the strong and unwavering José Alves.

It’s an alluring piece and the two share a frenetic chemistry, making for engaging viewing. Robinson is feminine and skittish as a lovestruck youngster. She flits and floats in her attempts to impress Alves.

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Rip it Up at the London Palladium 30/09/17

Rip-It-Up-3325-editAs ever more Strictly inspired showpieces are set to flood the market in the new year, 50s extravaganza Rip It Up hits theatres just before the main rush, bravely attempting to prize audiences away from their televisions to get their Autumnal dance fix. Fortunately Rip It Up is a strong concept for Strictly fans with a soft spot for this iconic era. Casting wise however it is slightly more of a hotch potch, an energetic Natalie Lowe wows the audience throughout with some powerhouse performances while celebrity winners Jay McGuinness and Louis Smith do their utmost to keep up.

Rip it Up takes the audience on a journey through the 50s naturally with some Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jive and Jitterbug but some unexpected Ballroom additions including a Pasodoble and Rumba. The show is divided into segments which are introduced by compare and saxophonist Leo Green who reels off a host of scripted gags that keep the heady Saturday night audience chuckling albeit with a few predictable cliches along the way. Green is also there to signpost our journey through the 50s …

Read the full review in November’s Dancing Times

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Aladdin at Sadler’s Wells 31/10/17

BRB_Aladdin_0603Fresh from taking part in the dazzling nationwide celebration of Kenneth MacMillan’s work, a severe change of gear is required as Birmingham Royal Ballet now turn their attention to Aladdin, for a brief run at Sadler’s Wells.

Aladdin is a three-act ballet, but it’s Act One that will perhaps linger the longest in the memory for the sheer amount that is packed in over the course of 51 busy minutes.

Once Aladdin (a spritely Mathias Dingeman) is captured by the Mahgrib (Valentine Olovyannikov) what follows is a cross between Nutcracker‘s divertissements and George Balanchine’s Jewels with an (almost endless) procession of set-pieces.

Young viewers will adore the colours and the beauty of different Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds who …

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Eun Me Ahn – Let Me Change Your Name at The Place 25/10/17

cw-19397-mediumEun-Me Ahn’s Let Me Change Your Name was first created in 2006, and is thus danced with the confidence and familiarity one might expect. Having previously featured larger casts, these performances for Dance Umbrella 2017 feature a core set of six performers with occasional cameos from Ahn herself.

There is a slow-burning, almost off-putting start; six dancers circle the stage solemnly and slide ungainly on their knees before breaking off into sets of twos and threes to deliver more deliberate movements. Their faces are expressionless and neutral, symbolic of an archaic, barren environment where only black is worn. The understated and synchronized choreography hints at the bold athleticism to come.

The fun of this piece really begins when Young-Gyu Jang’s score changes to a more pulsating techno rhythm. The dancers begin to experiment with their vivid costumes, the women are lifted in the air …

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Concerto / Le Baiser de la fee / Elite Syncopations at Royal Opera House 18/10/17

2873The Opera House’s new season continues with a joyful celebration of Kenneth MacMillan, seeing the Royal Ballet joined by the country’s other top companies for a rare spectacle.

This was an eclectic programme, covering a range of MacMillan’s work – from the plotless but technically strenuous Concerto, with its dreamy central pas de deux, to the zesty and playful Elite Syncopations, with its zany costuming. Between these two there is the ethereal and scarcely performed La Baiser de la fée.

Birmingham Royal Ballet takes the reigns for Concerto. The choreography is intricate for the vast ensemble, who rise to this demanding challenge set to Dmitri Shostakovich’s score.

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