Reviews

Wu Husheng and Qi Bingxue in Shanghai Ballet's “Echoes of Eternity.” Photograph by Chen Wen

Shanghai Story

The opening of Shanghai Ballet's “Echoes of Eternity” is pure and picturesque. A tale of love and loss, it is based on the 8th century poem by Bai Juyi, The Song of Everlasting Regret, which tells the tragic love story of the Emperor Ming (Wu Husheng) and his concubine Lady Yang (dancer QI Bingxue, the lady in the orange gown).
Scottish Ballet perform Crystal Pite’s “Emergence” at Edinburgh International Festival. Photograph by Andy Ross

Body Was Made

It's not often I feel left a little cold by beautiful male dancers moving in a space. But the first twenty minutes of Angelin Preljocaj's “MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps)” feels like a series of empty gestures and takes a while to develop, presenting as it does a ritual cleansing to one side of the stage and to the other, dancers on trolleys, packaged and contorted like meat in containers.
“Cuisine & Confessions” by Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Photograph by Alexandre-Galliez

What’s Cooking?

Les 7 Doigts de la Main (or “The 7 Fingers,” as it’s referred to by its English-speaking audiences) is frequently classified as a group of circus performers. Yet after watching one of the company’s elaborate productions, it becomes clear that this categorization is hardly enough to define it alone.

Interviews

Features

Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire

Glitz and Glam: A Weekend at Wilderness

Glitter—this was one of the first details I noticed when I arrived at Wilderness Festival last Friday. The shimmery stuff was everywhere, winking at me from eyelashes, cheeks, t-shirts, bunting. Poking out of pockets and tumbling out of tents, glinting and gleaming in the hot August sun.
Natalie Osipova and Matthew Golding in the Royal Ballet's “Onegin.” Image Alice Pennefather

The Cult of Fragility

One of the greatest challenges—and for me, joys—of being a dance critic is navigating the not infrequent clash between contemporary values and those embraced in classical ballet, a centuries-old institution that venerates ‘tradition’ in all its old-world, patriarchal glory. What messages of value can women divine from stories that glorify female fragility and are primarily written and directed by men?

Latest

Wu Husheng and Qi Bingxue in Shanghai Ballet's “Echoes of Eternity.” Photograph by Chen Wen

Shanghai Story

The opening of Shanghai Ballet's “Echoes of Eternity” is pure and picturesque. A tale of love and loss, it is based on the 8th century poem by Bai Juyi, The Song of Everlasting Regret, which tells the tragic love story of the Emperor Ming (Wu Husheng) and his concubine Lady Yang (dancer QI Bingxue, the lady in the orange gown).
Scottish Ballet perform Crystal Pite’s “Emergence” at Edinburgh International Festival. Photograph by Andy Ross

Body Was Made

It's not often I feel left a little cold by beautiful male dancers moving in a space. But the first twenty minutes of Angelin Preljocaj's “MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps)” feels like a series of empty gestures and takes a while to develop, presenting as it does a ritual cleansing to one side of the stage and to the other, dancers on trolleys, packaged and contorted like meat in containers.
“Cuisine & Confessions” by Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Photograph by Alexandre-Galliez

What’s Cooking?

Les 7 Doigts de la Main (or “The 7 Fingers,” as it’s referred to by its English-speaking audiences) is frequently classified as a group of circus performers. Yet after watching one of the company’s elaborate productions, it becomes clear that this categorization is hardly enough to define it alone.
Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire

Glitz and Glam: A Weekend at Wilderness

Glitter—this was one of the first details I noticed when I arrived at Wilderness Festival last Friday. The shimmery stuff was everywhere, winking at me from eyelashes, cheeks, t-shirts, bunting. Poking out of pockets and tumbling out of tents, glinting and gleaming in the hot August sun.
Holy Body Tattoo performing “Monumental.” Photograph by Yannick Grandmont

Lift Yr Skinny Fists

As the audience files in to the genteel space of the Edinburgh Playhouse tonight, ominous bells chime—a portent of something truly disquieting. This sound acts as a warning that the show will not be an easy ride. What follows is breathtaking—and divisive. Vancouver's Holy Body Tattoo, along with enigmatic post-rock band from Montreal Godspeed You! Black Emperor, are a deadly combination, an eerie evocation of the end of days.
Paris Opera Ballet in Justin Peck's “Entre Chien et Loup.” Photograph by Francette Levieux

American Style & Crepuscular Ambivalences

A very american Paris Opera season—the first programmed by the now-former director Benjamin Millepied—ended at Bastille the way it had started, i.e. with yet another american double bill, reuniting an eagerly-awaited creation by the so-called NYCB enfant prodige Justin Peck with a great classic by his major source of inspiration: George Balanchine.
Olga Smirnova and Ekaterina Krysanova in the Bolshoi Ballet's “Taming of the Shrew.” Photograph by Dave Morgan

Best Beware My Sting

Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew has long been plagued by its thorny gender politics. For decades, critics have debated the play’s depiction of female submission—is Petruchio’s ‘taming’ of Katharina straightforward sexism or satirical social commentary?
Rebecca Pappas' “Plastic Flow” at REDCAT's NOW festival. Photograph by Steve Gunther

New, Hot, NOW

“Hot time, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” Here’s to the steamy summer solstice in L.A., and although there was no sign of the Lovin Spoonful at REDCAT’s three-week annual NOW festival (nine premieres by some of the city’s foremost dance, theater, music and multimedia artists), there was decidedly some heat on stage—not all of which was fabulous, however—during the festival’s second week.
Kaylee Marko and Gavin McCaig in “Tortoise and the Hare.” Photograph by Brian Slater

Children’s Ballets

How could one tire of that seasonal delight, “The Nutcracker?” Perish the thought. And yet, some of the most original and creative new ballets on offer have a decidedly youthful audience in mind. For the coming season, take your budding dancer to the following: