Dance news, reviews & info

Archive for July, 2011

REVIEW: Royal New Zealand Ballet: From Here To There

UK premiere of From Here to There

Plan to A

The Royal New Zealand Ballet commenced their UK premiere at the Wales Millennium Centre on 11th July with Jorma Elo’s Plan to A. The choreography of the contemporary piece was beautiful and consisted of fluid movements and effortless lifts. The seven dancers created optical illusions with their bodies and wowed the audience with their enchanting partner work and quirky leitmotifs. The classically trained company coped well with the contemporary moves although their balletic technique shone through and teased the ballet lovers in the audience. On a negative point, the choreography didn’t sit very comfortably with the music and the scratchy violin was completely at odds with the dancing. While the music fell flat the dancers gamely distracted the audience from the piercing tones and proved themselves to be part of an exquisite company and more than a match for our own Royal Ballet.

A Song in the Dark

Young, up and coming, Australian choreographer Andrew Simmons’ A Song in The Dark was the piece de resistance of the triple bill and had the audience on the edges of their seats willing it to never end. Although it began in a stark fashion with minimal lighting, a harsh backdrop and just a single dancer and her shadow on the stage it soon developed into a warm and lively piece that showcased the brilliance of the whole company. The female lead who opened the piece gave us a masterclass in ballet technique and her pas de deux and trois were perfection. The piece was more neoclassical than contemporary and the music was much gentler on the ears. The evolution of the piece was much clearer for the audience to understand and overall it was a major success with the Cardiff audience.


This piece by award-winning Javier de Frutos took us back to pure contemporary and was danced to percussion. After the stark beauty of A Song in the Dark, Banderillero was much livelier and transported the audience across the globe by drawing on many different dance styles from African and Native American to Spanish and Arabian dance. The ritualistic nature of the banderillero was clear throughout and the intensity reached fever pitch which drummed through the audience and had them gripped.

Unfortunately the dancers’ techniques were lost in their loose fitting beige costumes and it was difficult to appreciate the choreography due to the harsh music which at points sounded like a hyperactive child had been let loose with a cymbal! The choreography was clever however and once again showed a perfectly rehearsed and synchronised ballet company.



Legendary choreographer Roland Petit dies aged 87

French choreographer Roland Petit died in Geneva on Sunday 10th July at the age of 87. In a career that spanned over six decades Petit created over 100 ballets including Carmen and is credited with revolutionising modern ballet with his dramatic choreography.

©Thomas Peter Schulz (flickr)

In 1945 Petit founded Les Ballets de Champs-Elysées and took on the roles of director, principal dancer and choreographer. After the success of this first venture Petit went on to found the Ballets de Paris in 1948 and created works for prima ballerina assoluta Margot Fonteyn.

His enterprising didn’t stop there however and he went on to help found the Ballet de Marseille in 1972 and consequently served as artistic director there for 26 years.

Petit’s personal life was also ballet-centric as he married dancer Zizi Jeanmaire in 1954 and together they had a daughter Valentine Petit who is also a ballet dancer.

The choreographer will also be remembered fondly by the film industry after choreographing films including Hans Christian Andersen, The Glass Slipper, Daddy Long Legs and Anything Goes.

In a tribute to the choreographer Culture Minister for France Frederic Mitterrand said: “Il était un des chorégraphes majeurs du XXe siècle” (He was one of the major choreographers of the 20th Century.)

The minister added: “Il a bâti une oeuvre d’une grande richesse, réunissant notamment les créateurs les plus inventifs de son temps” (He created rich works, notably uniting the most inventive choreographers of his time.)

Petit’s death makes English National Ballet’s upcoming tribute to the choreographer even more poignant. The company are dedicating four days (21-24 July) to three of his most celebrated works – Carmen, La Jeune Homme et La Mort and L’Arlésienne. Click here for more information.

Ballet fashion video starring dancers of the English National Ballet

English National Ballet auction designer creations at their summer party – Fashion Videos – Telegraph.

Preview video of Roland Petit’s Carmen danced by English National Ballet

For four days only (21-24 July 2011) English National Ballet will celebrate legendary French choreographer Roland Petit’s works by performing Carmen, L’Arlésienne and Le Jeune Homme et la Mort at the London Coliseum. This is a rare treat for audiences to see Petit’s incredible choreography and shouldn’t be missed. To buy tickets, priced between £10-£67 click here.

Read a description of the ballets here.

Watch ENB’s video below to get a flavour of what’s to come.



21 July 7.30pm

22 July 2pm, 7.30pm

23 July 2.30pm, 7.30pm

24 July 2.30pm