London's dance scene is hot with high pirouettes, lithe bodies and beautiful choreography. Time Out picks the best dance pieces to catch in the capital this January.
This surreal show from Italian performance group Dewey Dell is set inside a crater on a distant planet. March (Marzo) is time for fighting: so its characters are at war, in a manga-inspired, abstract battle between aliens and samurais. Dewey Dell blend contemporary dance and mime to create elaborately costumed, ritualistic work set to the clash of discordant electronica. Part of London International Mime Festival 2017.
The UK's biggest festival of emerging dance artists returns for its 28th year, in collaboration with Rambert, Jackson's Lane, Grad-Lab Dance and Breakin' Convention. The bold programme spans everything from hip hop to ballet, South Asian dance to circus, with a healthy dose of experimentalism. This year's line-up boasts 26 triple bills from 78 companies. For more info, visit The Place website.
Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor’s first full-length piece for the company is nothing if not ambitious. ‘Woolf Works’ offers a dance interpretation of three key novels by literary giant Virginia Woolf. It’s not an unqualified success, but it’s far and away the most exciting thing McGregor has brought to the Covent Garden stage in a long while.‘I Now, I Then’, inspired by ‘Mrs Dalloway’, is the most lyrical section. Alessandra Ferri, the 52-year-old former RB principal lured back by McGregor for these performances, is both the titular character and Woolf, wistfully watching the exuberance of her younger self (Beatriz Stix-Brunell). Ferri’s elegant line and constrained emotion are pitch-perfect; she floats through duets with Gary Avis and Federico Bonelli, then as Woolf encountering her shellshocked WWI vet character Septimus (Edward Watson) she is heavy with the weight of her own despair. Set against Max Richter’s mournfully romantic score, this is achingly beautiful ballet.‘Becomings’, inspired by ‘Orlando’, is an abrupt change of pace, with a starry cast of principals leading us through the time-twisting, gender-bending pyrotechnics of Woolf’s billet- doux to her lover Vita Sackville-West. Laser beams crisscross the bare stage as a cross-dressing cavalcade of dancers, looking like Elizabethans from outer space, tackle a markedly more trad-McGregor set of contortionist configurations. Natalia Osipova is outstanding: feisty and bafflingly flexible, she peacoc
Singers and dancers share a stage in 'Les Enfants Terribles', Philip Glass's visionary 1996 opera. Javier De Frutos is presiding over a fresh new interpretation of Glass's work, which is inspired by Cocteau's disturbing story of two brothers who turn on each other. Staged as part of the celebrations of Philip Glass's 80th birthday, this production will feature principals from the Royal Ballet and young singers from the Jette Parker young artists programme.
The London-based investigative arts organisation presents an installation comprised of multiple pieces by choreographers, visual artists, scientists and designers exploring how the body feels when in the act of doing. It includes performance, film projection and objects that are presented as an ever-changing arrangement.
Translating a much-loved movie to the stage can be a fraught enterprise. Matthew Bourne keeps a steady hand on the tiller, though, as he transforms the classic 1948 Powell and Pressburger film, ‘The Red Shoes’, into a dance-drama that, as his company reaches its thirtieth anniversary, is up there with the best of what he has created. Bourne’s gift for storytelling dazzles here. Every moment has purpose, and scenes bleed into each other so you are caught up and whirled through the story of Vicky Page, the dancer who must choose between her art and her heart when flinty ballet director Boris Lermontov refuses to countenance his rising star’s romance with struggling conductor Julian Craster. Lez Brotherston’s impressive set designs are central to this slick narrative drive, effortlessly switching us from the Covent Garden stage to a Monte Carlo beach to a tragic cabaret in the East End. His central device is a suspended, revolving, gilt proscenium arch with its own red velvet curtains, used to ingenious effect, turning us from audience into backstage voyeurs, and changing or revealing scenes. Brotherston’s boldest move is for the ballet-within-the-ballet sequence, when Vicky gets her big break and dances the lead in Boris’s ‘The Red Shoes’. Projections beamed on to staggered layers of white backdrop create a dreamlike space for Bourne’s updated take on the fairytale of the girl forced to dance till she drops; the synchronicity between the kinetic visuals and the choreography i