This weekend BBC Four treats us to a wealth of dance documentaries and works as part of it’s modern dance weekend.
Friday 1st July
The weekend kicks of on friday night with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand at 7.30pm.
This will be followed immediately by The Most Incredible Thing at 8pm. This piece premiered this year at London’s Sadler’s Wells. It is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale and is danced to music created by the Pet Shop Boys.
At 9.40 there will be an in-depth documentary about a very important era of dance history – For Art’s Sake – The Story of… …Ballets Russes. This documentary with a strong focus on Diaghilev features dancers, musicians, writers, critics, stylists and historians talking about one of the most innovative companies in history.
Diaghilev fans won’t be disappointed because following the documentary at 10.40 will be a performance from Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ballet Russes – In The Spirit of Diaghilev.
Saturday 2nd July
Saturday’s helping begins gently with Tales of Beatrix Potter at 7pm. The Royal Ballet perform this light-hearted family favourite at the Royal Opera House. The costumes alone are worth tuning in for.
Following on from this at 8.10pm is Imagine… Save the Last Dance for Me. This documentary follows The Company of Elders, dancers above the age of 60, in their preparations for a performance at Sadler’s Wells.
Sunday 3rd July
Moving onto more modern subjects BBC Four looks at the life of Merce Cunningham at 7.30pm. the late American choreographer was extremely influential in the avant-garde movement and this documentary presented by ex-dancer Deborah Bull looks at some of his most important works.
At 9pm Margot – a drama based around the events of Margot Fonteyn’s life with a real focus on her relationship with Nureyev.
Finishing off this wonderful series of programmes is Opus Jazz at 10.30pm. Shot in and around New York City and featuring dancers from the New York this film adaptation of Jerome Robbin’s 1958 ballet is about the lives of urban youth.