Ballet

Artists of the Royal Ballet against the easel-worthy backcloths of John Macfarlane’s ravishing designs for Swan Lake

Proper tutus, gorgeous designs, first-rate dancing: Royal Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet’s 2016 Frankenstein was a masterclass in how not to make narrative dance and the news that Liam…

How do these Shaolin monks square six shows a week with monking?

How do these Shaolin monks square six shows a week with monking?

14 April 2018 9:00 am

The Shaolin monks are no strangers to the stage. Their home in Dengfeng is a major stop on the Chinese…

ENB’s La Sylphide resembles a lock-in at a Royal Mile souvenir shop

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Gurn loves Effy, Effy is engaged to James but James is away with the fairies: a recipe for love tragedy.…

The nymphs are hit and miss, but Osipova is a witty, multifaceted Sylvia: the Royal Ballet’s Sylvia reviewed

16 December 2017 9:00 am

You can pay homage to a ballet classic or you can tear it up and reinvent it. Both approaches were…

From left: Royal Ballet principals Yasmine Naghdi and Francesca Hayward, and first soloist Melissa Hamilton

Dancing queens: Meet Britain’s next great ballerinas

2 December 2017 9:00 am

For years, dance lovers have waited impatiently for the next great British ballerina – now three have come along at once. Emma Byrne meets the Royal Ballet’s soon-to-be superstars

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar

The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Erté was destined for the imperial navy. Failing that, the army. His father and uncle had been navy men. There…

Reducing the heroine to a demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A kindly cowboy, an East Coast bride, adultery, murder and madness. The Wind, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 Texas gothic novel (and…

Company Wayne McGregor — Autobiography at Sadler’s Wells

Dancing the genetic code, big girls’ blouses and a ballroom bitch: Sadler’s Wells roundup

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Ballet would have been an obvious revenue stream for Sadler’s Wells when it reopened back in 1998 but straight-up classics…

Tyrone Singleton and Jenna Roberts in MacMillan’s Concerto

Kenneth MacMillan: the dark genius of British ballet – its destroyer, if you listen to some

21 October 2017 9:00 am

The 25th anniversary of Kenneth MacMillan’s death is finally giving us something to celebrate – and about time too, says Ismene Brown

Dancers of the Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Royal Ballet's Alice is a joy to look at - if only it weren't such a bore

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Alice is at it again. Christopher Wheeldon’s 2011 three-act ballet began another sell-out run at Covent Garden last week. It’s…

Master of the zoom lens: Degas at the National reviewed

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Where was Degas standing as he sketched his ‘Laundresses’ (c.1882–4)? Did he watch the two women from behind sheets hanging…

The glorious Grand Pas from Paquita, part of the Mariinsky’s triple bill

I’m glad the Mariinksy don’t airbrush La Bayadère’s dodgy local colour

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Not really a vintage Mariinsky season — an odd choice of repertoire and some hit-and-miss male casting — but the…

The Mariinsky’s first British principal looked nervous – would his legs carry him through Swan Lake?

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Tall, handsome boys with long legs and beautifully arched feet do not grow on trees (if only). Every ballet director…

Bennet Gartside as Bottom and Akane Takada as Titania in Frederick Ashton’s The Dream

Ashton’s Dream is a must-see: Royal Ballet’s Triple Bill reviewed

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Thrilling debuts, starry guests and a tear-stained farewell at Covent Garden this week as the Royal Ballet closed the season…

Edward Watson as Crown Prince Rudolf and Natalia Osipova at Mary Vetsera in Royal Ballet’s Mayerling

Intelligence, nuance and white-hot energy: Royal Ballet’s Mayerling reviewed

6 May 2017 9:00 am

A tragic flaw is one thing — every hero should have one — but Mayerling’s Rudolf, a syphilitic drug addict…

This is England: Paris Fitzpatrick and Daniel Collins in ‘Town and Country’ from ‘Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures’

A warm-beer-and-bicycles take on all things English: Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures reviewed

15 April 2017 8:00 am

‘Modern’ dance was no laughing matter in 1987. Harold King, director of the now-defunct London City Ballet, cattily typified it…

Balanchine’s fiendishly difficult Jewels is brilliantly danced by the Royal Ballet

8 April 2017 9:00 am

A trio of dazzling scores, the soft clack of gemstones on hips and collarbones, a glittering parure of solos, duets…

The mechanicals: the dancers in Wayne McGregor’s ‘Tree of Codes’ interlock but they never really interact and we are left humming the scenery.

Music and dance are totally eclipsed by the setting: Tree of Codes reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

The exit signs were switched off and the stalls were in utter darkness. One by one, 15 invisible dancers, their…

The thrills are in the visuals: Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles reviewed

4 February 2017 9:00 am

Kids: who’d have them? Certainly no one who has ever been to the opera. If they’re not murdering you, they’re…

Too much redemption, not enough damnation: Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes reviewed

14 January 2017 9:00 am

From a film about ballet to a ballet about film. In reworking the 1948 Powell and Pressburger classic The Red…

Viscerally exciting: Alina Cojocaru and Issac Hernández in Akram Khan’s ‘Giselle’

Akram Khan's choreography is breath-catching: ENB's Giselle reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Giselle endures in the collective imagination as a charming, sorrowful, supernatural love story. Premièred in Paris in 1841, this keystone…

From spiritual transcendence to gender warfare: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater review

17 September 2016 9:00 am

For a regular dancegoer in New York City, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater seasons arrive with the comforting predictability…

Peter Wright rehearses Giselle with the Canadian ballet dancer Karen Kain in 1974

Peter Wright and the bitchy world of ballet

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Memoirs of old men, baldly, tend to be tricky. Sir Peter Wright, one of the founding pillars of the British…

At times utterly gripping: Crystal Pite at the Edinburgh International Festival reviewed

27 August 2016 9:00 am

Crystal Pite, the Canadian dancemaker who combines intellectual, emotional and physical intelligence in rare degree, is classically trained, but her…

In her final column, Ismene Brown salutes the Bolshoi’s real stars: the corps de ballet

20 August 2016 9:00 am

The second half of the Bolshoi tour brought much fresher fare than the first: following the ubiquitous warhorses Don Quixote…