Liz Lea in a study for a forthcoming show, 'RED'. Photo: © Nino Tamburri

Dance diary. November 2016

Canberra Critics’ Circle Awards: Dance 2016 The Canberra Critics’ Circle, a group of Canberra-based, practising critics from across art forms, presented its annual awards in November. Two awards were given in the dance area. Liz Lea: For her innovative promotion of dance in the ACT exemplified by her co-ordination and presentation of “Great Sport!” at the National Museum of Australia, which

Tonia Looker as Titanaia and Harry Skinner as Bottom in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo: ©Stephen A’'Court

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Royal New Zealand Ballet

27 November 2016, St.James Theatre, Wellington Truly, madly, deeply … If I were to list all the good things about this pedigree production, it would amount to a catalogue of joy. And what would be wrong with that? Ethan Stiefel, previous artistic director of RNZB, certainly knew what he was about when he invited Liam Scarlett to choreograph this full-length

Yanela Pinera and Alexander Idaszak as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in 'The Nutcracker', Queensland Ballet, 2016. Photo: © David James McCarthy

‘The Nutcracker’. Queensland Ballet

23 November 2016, Canberra Theatre Below is an expanded version of my Canberra Times review of Queensland Ballet’s Nutcracker. Across the world The Nutcracker is the quintessential Christmas experience. Children grow up knowing the story of Clara, and the Nutcracker Prince who takes her on a journey through a snowy forest to the Kingdom of Sweets. Those children (and their

Scene from 'Gallantries', New Zealand School of Dance, 2016. Photo: ©Stephen A'’Court

New Zealand School of Dance Graduation 2016

19 November 2016, Te Whaea, Wellington This NZSD Graduation season has all the students performing with a shared confidence and total commitment that offers audiences an energising experience. That is just what Wellingtonians, recently visited by nature’s forces in a major earthquake and subsequent flooding, need for a lift of the spirits. Meistens Mozart by Helgi Tomasson, from 1991, to

Wayne McGregor. Photo: © Nick Mead

‘Chroma’, ‘Multiverse’, ‘Carbon Life’. The Royal Ballet

14 November 2016, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London This triple bill of works by Wayne McGregor, including Multiverse his newest commission, was presented in celebration of McGregor’s ten years as resident choreographer with the Royal Ballet. While all three works clearly had the ‘McGregor touch’ in terms of a choreographic interest in the extent to which the body can

English National Ballet in Akram Khan's 'Giselle', Act I, 2016. Photo: © Laurent Liotardo

Akram Khan’s ‘Giselle’. English National Ballet

15 November 2016, Sadler’s Wells, London Akram Khan’s Giselle begins in gloom. A grey wall confronts us and the figures onstage are shadowy. Greyness and gloom in fact pervade much of the production. But it is a truly fascinating work in which we are given enough clues, choreographically (a version of the famous ‘cow hop’ crossing of the stage by the Wilis

Artists of the Royal Ballet in 'Anastasia', Act I. © ROH, 2016. Photo: Tristram Kenton

‘Anastasia’. The Royal Ballet

12 November 2016 (matinee), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London Having recently reread Different Drummer, Jann Parry’s biography of Kenneth MacMillan, I was full of anticipation at the prospect of seeing MacMillan’s Anastasia, a work that traces the story of Anna Anderson, who believed (wrongly it eventually turned out) that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia who had survived the murderous attack on

Degas dancer, the Courtauld Gallery (detail)

Dance and art in London, November 2016

Being in London is always full of dance surprises. Apart from performances, the city’s galleries almost always have a dance-related exhibition, or a small display featuring dance items from their permanent collections. This November, for example, the Courtauld Gallery had a particularly interesting show, Rodin and dance. The essence of movement. It examined Rodin’s mouvements de danse, until now a little known

Artists of Paris Opera Ballet in Brahms Schoenberg Quartet, 2016. Photo: Sebastien Mathe/Opera national de Paris

‘George Balanchine’. Paris Opera Ballet

9 November 2016, Palais Garnier, Paris This all Balanchine program, which consisted of Mozartiana, Brahms-Schönberg Quartet and Violin Concerto, was staged in honour of Violette Verdy (1933-2016) who directed the Paris Opera Ballet between 1977 and 1980. I recall too that Mme Verdy coached Australian Ballet dancers during the directorship of Maina Gielgud and, of course, Verdy was a ballerina

James Batchelor in 'Smooth translation', 2016. Photo: Michelle Potter

‘Smooth translation’. James Batchelor

5 November 2016, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra James Batchelor never ceases to surprise with his new choreographies. Smooth translation, commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and performed by Batchelor and visual artist and designer, Madeline Beckett, was no exception. And, as is usual, it was only later that the thought behind the work became clear to me—or, perhaps better stated,