I thought it was about time I plan my summer dance viewing in the Big Smoke before I start to wade through Edinburgh press releases and get all hyped up, psyched up and ready for some festival action.
There’s some interesting work in June, July and August, but it’s certainly not as rich and diverse a programming schedule as Autumn or dense and sparkling as Xmas. In fact taking an overview, it looks like a bunch of stuff shoved on to cater to tourists. Sigh. Oh well, here’s what I’ll be booking:
1. June 18-20: The Forsythe Company@Sadlers Wells. You can’t beat The Forsythe Company for some cool, cutting edge contemporary ballet. They come to London armed with a double bill N.N.N.N. (contact improvisation kind of choreography, closely related to the music of an intimate quartet) and the UK premiere of Study #3, a collaborative piece incorporating movement, music, costume, lighting, scenery and technical effects from works spanning the previous 30 years’ body of work.
2. Until June 23: English National Ballet’s Swan Lake @ Royal Albert Hall. I know I just poo-poo’d the shows to attract the tourists, but S-Dubs in the round is pretty damn impressive, I have kind of a soft spot for the bit where the gazillion corps de ballet pitter patter onto the lake in their pointe shoes and fold over into their swan pose.
3. Sat June 22: The Boyz are putting on a fabulous, fandangled dance shenanigan to celebrate the opening of their new studio, office and edit suite, which will be a base for the company in Kingston. Artistic directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt have cajoled their superstar buddies into action – pieces will be shown by Russell Maliphant, Christopher Wheeldon, Liv Lorent, and Liam Scarlett and there will be a special guest appearance by Royal Ballet principal Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares. Most majorly, though, The Boyz themselves will return to the stage for the first time since 2009 to perform an excerpt from Critical Mass by Russell Maliphant, their first performance as the Ballet Boyz.
I’m willing to bet [Carlos Acosta's] shirt will be off in at least one of these scenes, which is as good a reason as any to go
4. June 22-23 : @ Island Gardens. Don’t miss Maresa von Stockert’s site-specific event for the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival, featuring dancers, trampolinists, clowns and circus acts in an otherworldly setting.
5. June 27-28: Jean Abreu Dance, BLOOD @ Linbury Studio Theatre. Brazilian dancer and choreographer Jean Abreu comes back to our stages with BLOOD, using the art of Gilbert and George – the first time in 42 years they’ve allowed their work to be used in dance. His solo is inspired by The Fundamental Pictures, Rudimentary Pictures and New Testamental Pictures – a microscopic celebration of bodily fluids. Grosse? Maybe.
6. July 3-7: Boston Ballet @ London Coliseum. Gracing London with their presence for the first time in 30 years, the company presents two programmes to celebrate their 50th anniversary celebrations. ‘A’ features Nijinksy’s naughty romps in Afternoon of a Faun, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Symphony In Three Movements and Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, and ‘B’ includes Jiří Kylián’s exquisite Bella Figura, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and William Forsythe’s The Second Detail. With accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
7. July 10-13: Paco Pena Quimeras, Sadler’s Wells. This is the show I’m most excited about seeing this summer. If the sun can’t burn for us then Paco Peña will undoubtedly heat things up, with the friction of their guitar strings and the passionate stamping of their flamenco heels. Quimeras is a narrative work bringing together traditional Spanish and African forms of music and dance.
8. Aug 2-17: The Bolshoi Ballet @ The Royal Opera House. The Russians take over the stage of the Royal Opera House from August 2 as The Bolshoi Ballet perform La Bayadere (August 2-3), George Balanchine’s Jewels (Aug 12-13) and Alexei Ratmansky’s new version of Vasily Vainonen’s The Flames Of Paris (Aug 16-17). The three week season marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s first visit to Covent Garden under Victor Hochhauser.
9. July 30-Aug 4: Carlos Acosta – Classical Selection at London Coliseum. For five nights only, ballet mega-star and Olivier Award winner Carlos Acosta will perform a selection of his greatest hits, including classical and neo-classical pas de deux from Winter Dreams, Mayerling, Gloria and Kenneth MacMillan’s Requiem. He will be joined by Marianela Nunez, Nehemiah Kish, Ricardo Cervera, Melissa Hamilton, Eric Underwood and Meaghan Grace Hinkis and I’m willing to bet his shirt will be off in at least one of these scenes, which is as good a reason as any to go.
10. Aug 7-Sept 22: West Side Story @ Sadler’s Wells. Click your fingers and sing along to Jerome Robbins’ iconic modern dance version of Romeo and Juliet, with a score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.