This year, I have been lucky enough to go and see more dance performances than ever before, thanks mostly to the generosity of Sadler’s Wells and The Movement. Being a Social Mover has been an amazing opportunity, because watching live dance is really the best way to stay inspired and informed about your art form as a dancer, especially if performing or choreographing is your end goal. I also went to several performances that I just really wanted to see, or as a part of my university course. So, here’s a round-up of the dance performances I saw in 2017…
The Red Shoes– Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, at the New Wimbledon Theatre
In April, I FINALLY got to watch The Red Shoes. This was a very belated birthday present from my dad (my birthday is in November!) because all of the earlier London shows sold out. This was one of my favourite performances of the year and ever! I really hope they perform it again, because I will be the first one in (virtual) line for tickets! Ashley Shaw is a phenomenal, inspiring dancer and Matthew Bourne more than does justice to the classic film. (If this tours again and you go to watch it, make sure you watch the film first so that a. you can see what an amazing job New Adventures has done with bringing this to the stage and b. so you know what is going on).
Don Quixote– The Mariinsky Ballet at The Royal Opera House
In June, I was extremely excited to watch the Mariinsky do Don Q. I attended a matinee performance and had a wonderful time- you can read my full review here.
Strangers and Others– H2 Dance at the University of Roehampton
This was my first immersive dance experience, put on as part of our introduction week at university. This piece left me thinking for days! I also explained all about this in a blog post, which you can read here.
Debut– Acosta Danza at The Sadler’s Wells
Debut was the first performance I attended as a Social Mover and it was an amazing experience. The pieces were wonderful, the dancers blew me away, and we got to mingle with dance and arts stars at a reception afterwards. You can catch my review of that on my YouTube channel here, featuring my lovely Fresher’s Flu voice!
Bayadére- The Ninth Life– Shobana Jeyasingh Dance at The Sadler’s Wells
This is something that I got tickets for myself because I was desperate to see it. Jeyasingh’s Bayadére really confronts the issues of the misrepresentation of India, Indian dance and Indian culture in La Bayadére with grace and humour, and provides a solution through choreography that perfectly integrates styles and cultures. I even got to meet Shobana Jeyasingh herself which was super exciting!
Trois Grandes Fugues– Lyon Opera Ballet at The Sadler’s Wells
A few days after Bayadére, I attended this performance with my university. It featured three different choreographers’ takes on the same piece of music, which was one of the most interesting triple bills I’ve seen. A feast of choreographic ideas and innovations, proving just how different a piece of dance can look and feel, even with the same music.
Aladdin– Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Sadler’s Wells
I brought my ballet-virgin other half along to this performance on the 1st November, and although there were a couple of stage mishaps, we had a really fun evening. You can read my full review of this performance here!
Triple Bill: The Illustrated ‘Farewell’, The Wind & Untouchable– The Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House
This was my first experience at a Royal Opera House Student Amphitheatre performance. The opportunity came up in November to get a ticket, so I took myself along to see this triple bill and I had a really sensational evening. If you don’t know, the ROH Student Amphitheatre performances reserve all Amphitheatre seats for students at bargain prices- so I got a great central view for a fraction of the usual cost- and also sell discounted programmes, and discounted drinks at the amphitheatre bar. A great way to have a proper night out at the ballet without spending a fortune, and the performances were amazing. Natalia Osipova in The Wind absolutely took my breath away and left me so inspired as a dancer.
Pavement– Abraham.In.Motion at The Sadler’s Wells
This was another stand-out performance of the year for me. Very moving, excellently done and simply wonderful. I only just wrote up my review of this one, so you can catch that here if you haven’t read it yet!
Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/ Loch na hEala– Teac Damsa at The Sadler’s Wells
I am actually going to film a proper review of this one, so I won’t give too much information now, but I must say that this probably draws with The Red Shoes for my favourite performance of 2017. I honestly was not expecting to enjoy this at all but I could not have been more wrong- it was s.e.n.s.a.t.i.o.n.a.l!! Keep your eyes peeled for a review video coming soon! I can’t wait to talk about it, I’ve just been buried under a mountain of university work so I haven’t been able to yet.
Those are the performances I watched in 2017, in chronological order. I feel so lucky to have been able to watch all of this outstanding work. If I were to rank 2017’s performances they would probably be…
9. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Aladdin– A great evening but not a standout production compared to the stiff competition!
8. Lyon Opera Ballet’s Trois Grandes Fugues– Three beautiful pieces, but one was significantly better than the other two.
7. Strangers & Others by H2 Dance– This was a really interesting experience, althought definitely uncomfortable.
6. The Royal Opera House Triple Bill– An amazing evening, just not as impactful as some other pieces I watched this year.
5. The Mariinsky Ballet’s Don Quixote– This probably only scores this highly because I have waited so long to see the Mariinsky, but the sensational dancing puts them in a well-deserved 5th place.
4. Shobana Jeyasingh’s Bayadére– The Ninth Life- A clever, beautiful piece.
3. Acosta Danza Debut– Such a feast of different dances, and the dancers were absolutely top notch!
2. Kyle Abraham’s Pavement– An important, moving, simple and elegant piece of choreography. Truly outstanding.
1. Tied for first position are Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, and Michel Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake. I can’t speak highly enough of either performance. They blew me away and inspired me in completely different ways, and both deserve top prize for 2017!
I hope that 2018 is as good for dance performance as 2017 has been. I’d like to see even more dance performances this year, and bring you more thoughts and reviews about them. Let me know what your favourite performance of 2017 has been!
Here’s to a 2018 full of wonderful dance,