Dance news, reviews & info

Upgrade your studio style with dreamy dancewear guaranteed to give you the moves! 

There’s nothing like a new leotard or pair of shoes to inspire you to perfect that pesky triple pirouette and add that extra half an inch to your arabesque. So after months of donning the same old outfit for ballet I was delighted to discover Move Dancewear, who were the answer to my dancewear dreams with their high-quality but highly affordable range.

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Used to seeing me in my usual was-black-now-grey leotards I lit up the studio in Move’s Brook Leotard in Mulberry (£14.95). That’s not all that lit up though. The super-subtle material and comfy yet elegant fit gave me the confidence to master the trickiest of moves – perfectly balanced penchée? Don’t mind if I do!

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I also gave their footed pink tights (£4.50) a whirl and was delighted with the ease of movement they gave me – I could barely feel they were there, but they provided all the support I needed to pull off that penchée.

 

Next on my lust list from Move Dancewear has to be:

1) The Bloch Opal Fleece Bolero, £18.95 – perfect for the winter months, this bolero’s arm-lengthening qualities will give you Odette-worthy port de bras!

2)  The Capezio Long Sleeve Lace Top, £36.50 – the lace look is still going strong and I love that you can go ultra girly in jazz and contemporary classes with this stylish number.

3) Move Nieve Leggings, £12.50 – calling all yogis, not only can you get your fill of fab dance clothes but there’s an entire section devoted to yoga and pilates. These super stretchy leggings will see you doing a headstand in no time.

Strut your stuff in the studio with fashion-forward looks from Bloch

Dance teachers can often be heard saying a good dancer never blames their tools – well, mine certainly did as I hobbled round the studio in ill-fitting pointe shoes and an uncomfortable leotard that had been designed to the motto ‘practicality over style’. But dancers and students across the country can now rejoice in the knowledge that shoddy dancewear is certainly a thing of the past as Bloch Shop UK has succeeded in creating super stylish dancewear that not only looks great but works for the dancer too.

So forget unflattering syllabus leotards, you can now get your fashion fix in the form of luxe leotards, statement warmers and the-coolest-yet dance trainers in every colour under the sun.

And it’s not just dancers who are benefitting from Bloch’s stylish designs. Bloch’s ballet fashion has caught the attention of fashionistas the world over who are snapping up the dreamily dainty ballet flats and saying so long to blisters.

Top of my Bloch lust list are:

The royally-fabulous Kate leotard

1) The Bloch Kate leotard – this leotard takes its inspiration from none other than the ultra-stylish Kate Middleton and more specifically her beautiful Alexander McQueen royal wedding dress. You’ll look regal and elegant as you twirl round the studio in this lacy number.

Keep warm in on-trend cable knit

2) Bloch cable knit crop jumper – a winter in Britain doesn’t go by without cable knit being a key trend and with this super stylish number you can rock cable knit cool in the studio too. The crop style is perfect for ballet, keeping you warm without feeling too trussed up and allowing freedom of movement around the waist.

Be a lacy lady in this uber fashionable skirt

3) Bloch Enam lace skirt – floaty wrap skirts are old news now thanks to this so-now lace mini, which ticks all the trend boxes for 2013. The elegant lace design will make you feel pretty and provide a comfortable amount of cover up.

Light up the dancefloor in these neon trainers

4) And finally… Bloch lightening women’s fitness trainers – I’m head over heels for these funky dance trainers. The sleek modern design means you can put your best foot forward both in and out the studio!

I bring you two pieces of exciting ballet beauty news today:

New york nails

OPI have launched a new range of nail lacquers inspired by none other than the New York City Ballet. The oh-so-chic shades promise to add elegance and romance to your nails and come in four cleverly named-colours – My pointe exactly, Don’t touch my tutu, Care to Dance?, and Pirouette My Whistle. So for an instant ballet fashion fix get your elegant hands on one of these prima pastel sets.

Prima pampering

And closer to home, The Royal Ballet is also branching out into beauty with their new bath and beauty range. The royal range of body creams and gels is designed specifically with dancers in mind, as they promise to ease aching muscles after a hard day in the studio. The luxurious range was developed by a member of the company Olivia Cowley, who is definitely raising the barre in high-end beauty.

I suggest putting on the intense body conditioner at night to transform yourself into a real sleeping beauty!

English National Ballet 1 – Royal Ballet 0

After much speculation it transpires than none other than prima ballerina of The Royal Ballet Tamara Rojo will take on the role of Artistic Director at the English National Ballet this autumn. The news will be music to the ears of ENB dancers and company directors alike as the charming Rojo is sure to be a breath of fresh air to the company after Wayne Eagling’s somewhat chaotic approach and will bring the crowds flocking in.

Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta dancing the most beautiful pas de deux from Romeo & Juliet

In theatre we talk about the triple threat but Tamara’s CV laughs in the face of that. She is at least a quadruple threat with her impressive combination of brains, beauty, talent and ambition.

Just several stops up the Piccadilly Line in Covent Garden the mood will less enthusiastic. For years Rojo has secured full audiences keen to witness her fantastic interpretation of some of ballet’s most-loved characters. Her magical partnership with Carlos Acosta has joined the exclusive list of world famous partnerships. Think Fonteyn and Nureyev, Bussell and Cope, Kirkland and Baryshnikov, and Osipova and Vasiliev. Now the Royal Ballet not only has to bounce back from the loss of young protégé Sergei Polunin, who walked out of the company earlier in the year, but also the loss of one of their established stars.

However given Rojo’s background it is hardly surprising that she has accepted the much-coveted position, after all it was ENB who first raised her to the position of Principal in 1997. And their confidence has been richly rewarded, as not only will Rojo be heading the artistic side of things but she will also continue to perform as a resident guest artist with the company!

The question on everyone’s lips is: will the brains and beauty of one of British ballet’s most –loved dancers be enough to change the fortunes of the financially ailing company? Only time will tell.

Sergei Polunin has been likened to Nureyev

For many dancers becoming a member of the Royal Ballet Company is the ultimate goal. This is clearly not the case for the 21-year-old Ukrainian star Sergei Polunin however, who unexpectedly quit the company on Tuesday afternoon. Hot on the heels of Osipova and Vasiliev who quit the Bolshoi Ballet two months ago (read about it here) Polunin, who became the Royal Ballet’s youngest principal two years ago, stunned the ballet world with his dramatic exit.  

Company director Monica Mason was understandably shocked: “This has obviously come as a huge shock. Sergei is a wonderful dancer and I have enjoyed watching him tremendously, both on stage and in the studio, over the past few years. I wish him every success in the future.”

Polunin seemed far less sentimental as he tweeted that he just had to get through one more night before making his next move!

Many ballet fans will be sorely disappointed at his decision to bow out of his career so soon. The dancer, who during his short time on stage has been likened to Nureyev and Baryshnikov, was due to perform Romeo in the company’s upcoming Romeo and Juliet this spring. 

Talking to The Guardian the feisty Polunin hinted that he wanted to be a rebel and open a tattoo parlour. He has certainly succeeded on the former count – What a waste of talent!

Even The Royal Ballet have been caught up in the Nutcracker snowstorm

The Nutcracker ballet in theatres at Christmas is to be expected. However this year British theatres are inundated with performances of the Christmas classic to the point that there is nothing else on offer. Sugar plums, sweeties and flowers are all a bit sugary sweet for those of us who have outgrown the colourful extravaganza offered by The Nutcracker. It’s all well and good for five year olds and ballet novices but where can balletomanes get their balletic fix?

Unfortunately not at the Royal Opera House as even the Royal Ballet have fallen under the Nutcracker’s spell, although it has to be said at least they will provide an all bells and whistles, sparkling production! Nor can we look to the English National Ballet to shake up the stale Christmas repertoire as they are relying on The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum to bring in the big bucks at the box office to keep them afloat in these turbulent times.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet are taking the travesty a step further by performing their Nutcracker in the o2, meaning the audience will be confronted with a riot of colour and miniscule moving figures and see little of the actual repertoire. Northern Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures are also joining in the nutty fun too.

Wading through the snowstorm of Nutcracker advertising, there is fortunately one major company breaking the festive mould albeit rather tentatively. Scottish Ballet are being slightly daring and choosing another Tchaikovsky classic – The Sleeping Beauty.

There seems to be two ways to deal with this crackers onslaught – either go to your Christmas ballet and give in to the festive fun or hold on till the New Year which promises to do out with the old and in with the new. Watch this space for 2012 must-see ballets.

Vasiliev and Osipova perform Don Quixote with their former company The Bolshoi Ballet

It’s being hailed as Russian ballet’s 21st century defection. Not since the likes of Nureyev and Baryshnikov has the story of two dancers leaving a Russian ballet company made so many headlines around the world. Principal dancers of the Bolshoi ballet Vasiliev and his fiancee Osipova will make their controversial leap across Russia to join the Mikhailovsky Theatre on the 1st December and have both signed five month contracts.

The news appears to have caught the Bolshoi off guard with senior directors questioning the motivation for the move despite the pair having been in talks with the Mikhailovsky for 18 months and openly citing their reason for leaving as being ‘in search of artistic growth’.

The motivations of the principal dancers, much the same as the motivations for defectors Makarova, the Panovs, Nureyev and Baryshnikov during the Cold War, should ring alarm bells for the Bolshoi. Even now in the 21st century, 20 years on from the end of the artistic repression of Soviet rule, the company appears to have stale repertoire which clearly isn’t challenging its dancers or its audience.

According to her coach Marina Kondratyeva, the extremely talented Osipova is keen to tour and guest in companies around the world. Their large fan base will be delighted to hear this news as Osipova and Vasiliev delighted audiences this summer when they guested in London in Frederick Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet

Let’s hope the talented duo get their way and make it to the Great British theatres soon.

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