Dance news, reviews & info

Archive for November, 2010

Royal Ballet brings Romeo and Juliet to the O2

The Royal Ballet jetés down stream to the O2

The Royal Ballet has announced that it will perform ballet’s most beautiful love story at the O2 arena. The unique performance will take place in June 2011 with the Royal Ballet’s best dancers leading the cast. Ticket prices start at £10 and go up to only £60, much cheaper than the Royal Opera House.

The ballet will also be broadcast on big screens outside the arena so no-one has to miss out. The Royal Ballet hopes that in using the O2 it will bring ballet to a wider audience and the low ticket prices will make their exceptional company accessible to people that otherwise might not be able to afford tickets.

Romeo and Juliet is my absolute favourite ballet so I’ll be booking my tickets asap.

On your marks, get set, go….Tickets go on sale on 5th December for the four shows: 17th – 19th June. (With an evening and matinee performance on the 18th).

Wayne Eagling and Alessandra Ferri dance the balcony scene in 1984.


Adult beginners ballroom in Cardiff

Beginners: Get ready to Rumba

With Strictly Come Dancing dominating our screens at the moment, lots of people who watch the show want to get more involved in ballroom dancing. Starting ballroom dancing from scratch is pretty scary though (no one wants to look like Ann Widdecombe did on Saturday 20th!) Luckily for Cardiff dwellers though there is a complete beginners class at Saturn Dance. It is a great chance to try out the Strictly moves that you can’t do from your sofa on Saturday nights. What’s more everyone is a complete beginner so no one will judge any Widdecombe-esque moves you might make at first!

Check out my recent article about Saturn Dance in Cardiff. You’ll find all the information you need about the classes here and here.

Fancy a laugh and a confidence boost …. Here is Ann Widdecombe ballroom dancing dressed as a canary!

Northern Ballet’s Cleopatra coming to a theatre near you

Exciting news: Northern Ballet Theatre has launched another innovative ballet.  David Nixon, Northern Ballet Theatre’s artistic director has revealed a new full length ballet, Cleopatra, that will be danced to a special score composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg. The world premiere will take place on 26th February 2011 at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

When asked why he chose to make the ballet Nixon said, “I’ve been interested in Cleopatra and that period for a long time. Two-thousand years later she is as popular as she ever was, in fact more so. I think the legend and the mystery of the woman grows rather than lessens.”

Northern Ballet Theatre is quite unique in the UK in providing innovative productions that still deliver pure classical ballet and don’t venture into contemporary, which happens all too often with larger companies. Balletomanes want new exciting ballets not contemporary!

Judging on the rehearsal pictures Cleopatra looks set to be a real success so book you tickets now…. Leeds, Edinburgh, Cardiff, London. Take your pick! (Pictures from

Northern Ballet Tickets

Adult Ballet in Cardiff: Rubicon Dance

Rubicon Dance is a community dance centre which provides dance services for both Cardiff and Newport. It has two programmes: the youth programme and the one we are interested in, the adult programme.

The outside of Rubicon: don't judge a book by it's cover!

The centre is typical of the dance world. It is situated in a less than desirable area of Cardiff, Adamsdown and is itself less than glamorous as buildings go. I’d think twice about parking your car outside the centre as there is a youth related crime problem in the area and I always feel very threatened by the ‘hoodies’ when I park my flowery Beetle there!

I never have understood why it is always the case that dance school are so grotty when what they teach is one of the most glamorous and decadent of arts. No one in the audience of a performance of the Royal Ballet would dream for a minute that the beautiful ballet dancers on stage spent gruelling hours in freezing ramshackle halls to get to where there are now. The sad fact is that teaching dance is not the most profitable of businesses so in terms of dance schools you just have to be grateful they exist at all.

However, Rubicon Dance is one of the better schools and it would be unfair to condemn it to the ramshackle category! Once you get to the studio it is actually rather lovely. A full wall of mirrors, a good quality dance floor and high ceilings actually make it a very enjoyable place to dance.

In terms of ballet classes, there are three for adults: levels 1 to 3. I attend the level 3 class every week. This level is more or less equivalent to Intermediate/ Advanced 1 RAD. It is taken by Caryl Wilford a lovely Welsh lady who demands musicality and light and shade rather than focussing on technique. So for those of you who like a good dose of constructive criticism, this is not the class for you.

All three levels are free-work classes that change each week, but throughout the term there is a grand allegro that becomes a constant fixture and is built upon. It is quite a shock to an out of shape dancer to be expected to find the stamina to dance a 2 minute plus allegro, but it’s great to have a challenge again.

The classes are £6.50 and last for an hour and a half. However the first class is a taster and only costs £5. The attendance is good and everyone interacts to make it a fun class. The dancers range from trained dancers and dance teachers right up to very old dancers and surprisingly quite a few men.

I definitely recommend Rubicon Dance’s adult ballet programme and the best proof that it provides worthwhile classes is that I have attended every week since I discovered the centre in September.

The Rubicon Dance studio for adult ballet

Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre

        This month Cardiff was the lucky recipient of one of the world’s greatest contemporary dance companies. Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater was based at Cardiff Bay’s Millennium Centre for two nights and I was fortunate enough to see them dance. They have just completed their UK tour but judging on the full-to-the-brim shows in Cardiff, it won’t be too long (hopefully) until they come back.

         The programme that the company presented was generally light and nicely varied which is always important for contemporary companies as ‘heavy contemporary’ really scares away the general public. However it wasn’t so much the choreography that blew me away but the dancers themselves. I have never seen a company in which all the dancers are equally talented and in such good shape. The company moved like a well oiled machine, every dancer putting in maximum effort yet appearing effortless and they were all technically faultless. Even more remarkable was that this applied to the male dancers just as much as the women. All the men were beautifully trained and although they were obviously extremely athletic and strong, they also delivered the steps fluidly and softly. The highlight of the show was the male solo IN/SIDE performed by Jamar Roberts. Danced to Nina Simone’s haunting Wild is the Wind the solo is a powerful piece that is at once uncomfortable to watch yet also impossible to stop watching. The piece was full of desperation and yearning and showed off Robert’s exquisite body to the max. It was both a shame and a relief when the solo came to an end.

        This piece along with the visually stimulating Suite Otis and Alvin Ailey’s original 1960 work, Revelations, which explores black culture, made up an extremely enjoyable performance. However, overall the performance was slightly marred by the inclusion of Hymn by Judith Jamison which seemed rather indulgent for a traditionalist like me. It was an extremely messy affair and was rather heavy compared to the other pieces. The lighting and costumes were calming blues but by the end of the quite long piece I didn’t feel calm at all. It all seemed a bit dated to me especially as it came after the ultra-modern IN/SIDE. It was musically clever as every beat and layer of the music was reflected in the dancer’s movements but still I couldn’t help but be reminded of my improvisation classes at dance school.   

The Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay is an impressive theatre and perfect for dance shows such as Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater. They have a great dance deal so check it out!         

Alvin Ailey’s Suite Otis