Giannandrea Poesio

Romeo and Juliet: a Mariinsky masterclass

According to some textbooks, one thing the fathers of Soviet choreography hastened to remove from ballet was that awkward-looking language of gestures generally referred to as ‘ballet mime’. Which explains why most Russian versions of Swan Lake lack familiar mime dialogues. And when it came to creating new ballets that required silent acting, such as

Perfect dancing but boringly beautiful

Aesthetically speaking, last week’s performance by the Nederlands Dans Theater 1 was one by the slickest of the season. Fashionably engineered juxtapositions of black and white, sets that stun on account of their elegant simplicity and mechanical complexity, chic costumes that de-gender dancers, scores decadently à la mode and clockwork dancing came together seamlessly to

A swan to die for at Sadler’s Wells

Swans, swans, more swans. If the lifespan of a dance critic were calculated by the number of performances of Swan Lake attended, I’d be a few centuries old. Obviously, the list includes many revisions and re-creations of this quintessential ballet, which is the second most revisited in history after The Rite of Spring. In her

Romeo, Juliet and Mussolini

George Balanchine’s Serenade, the manifesto of 20th-century neoclassical choreography, requires a deep understanding of both its complex stylistic nuances and its fascinatingly elusive visual metaphors. Many recent stagings have failed to meet such criteria,  but not the performance I saw last week. Things did not exactly start especially well, as the opening group of ladies

Modern dance vs Shakespeare

In a dance world that has chosen to dispense with stylistic and semantic subtleties, ‘narrative ballet’ and ‘story ballet’ are often used as synonymous. Yet there are differences — and major ones at that. In a ‘narrative ballet’ it is the choreography that carries the story. Each movement idea is thus conceived in relation to

Kings of Dance: a show to keep the Sun King happy

Louis XIV might have been a narcissistic and whimsical tyrant, but he did a lot for dance. An accomplished practitioner, he made ballet a noble art and turned it into a profession with the creation of the Académie Royale de Danse, the first institution of its kind, though not the first ballet school as some

The dancers who said ‘no’ to postmodernism

It all started in 1971, when a group of physically and artistically talented youngsters decided to create a dance company and call it Pilobolus, after a fungus. Not unlike this barnyard micro-organism, which ‘propels its spores with extraordinary speed and accuracy’, the company was soon propelled to international success. But it was not an easy

Ivan Vasiliev and Roberto Bolle: interview with ballet royalty

In 1845, the theatre impresario Benjamin Lumley made history by inviting the four greatest ballerinas of the day to appeartogether on the stage of Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. It is fitting, therefore, that next week, 169 years later, Sergei Danilian’s internationally acclaimed project Kings of the Dance should reach the London Coliseum. After all,

Bach is made for dancing

It appears that J.S. Bach’s music is to theatre-dance what whipped cream is to chocolate. Masterworks such as Trisha Brown’s MO, George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and a plethora of less-known, though equally acclaimed compositions owe a great deal to the giant of baroque music. Wayne McGregor is the most recent addition to this illustrious roster

Stuttgart Ballet – still John Cranko’s company

Stuttgart Ballet’s rapid ascent to fame is at the core of one of the most interesting chapters of ballet history. Between 1961 and 1973, the year of his untimely death, the South African Royal Ballet-trained choreographer John Cranko turned what had been a fairly standard ballet ensemble into a unique dance phenomenon. Although Stuttgart is

The Royal Ballet’s triple bill was danced to perfection

There was a time when the term ‘world première’ was not as fashionable as it is these days. Great works simply ‘premièred’, and their artistic status was not diminished by the fact that the opening had not been advertised as a globally significant event. Which is what ‘world première’ implies, even though it is seldom

A rich, colourful romp

Bold decisions are at the core of great artistic directorship. And Tamara Rojo, the ballet star leading English National Ballet, knows that well. Le Corsaire is not the usual ballet classic one craves to see. Yet it makes a splendid addition to the already vast and multifaceted repertoire of ENB. Created in 1856, this work

Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote lacks the wow factor

Superstar Carlos Acosta makes little or no reference to Don Quixote’s established history in his programme note about the genesis of his new ballet. As a dancer hailing from Cuba, he is certainly familiar with the work’s performance tradition, but a greater historical awareness would probably have helped Acosta rethink his realistic approach to the

A masterclass in stage presence from the Bolshoi

Jewels is everything a George Balanchine admirer could ask for. The sumptuous triptych, set to scores by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, is a compendium of what Balanchine’s style is about; each part — Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds — provides unique insights into the subtleties, signature features and inventiveness that inform the art of the Russian

The Bolshoi remains faithful to the classics

Tradition is often frowned on. Yet, if properly handled, it can be sheer fun and pure bliss, as demonstrated by the Bolshoi Ballet’s current season in London. Far from being museum pieces, the classics so far presented stand out for their vibrant and captivating theatricality. According to an enlightening note by Yuri Grigorovich, the father