The artist management agency International Classical Artists has launched an audio and audio-visual label featuring archive material and historic musical performances by the agency’s own artists from around the world since 1953. Of 74 titles released to date under the label ICA Classics Legacy series, the catalogue includes a small collection of historic dance performances filmed in black and white, mainly from the 50s and 60s and featuring great dancers such as Fonteyn, Nureyev, Nadia Nerina, Svetlana Beriosova, Alicia Markova, and Galina Ulanova in classics such as Les Sylphides and Giselle, but also delectable ballets of the period such by John Cranko’s The Lady and the Fool, Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée with original interpreters, and the first act of The Stone Flower.

It has been a real pleasure savouring the particular delights of their Choreography by Bournonville disc, which includes not only a complete performance of La Sylphide recorded by the BBC in 1961, but also a bonus all Danish performance of the Act II pas de deux from 1960, and the Flower Festival in Genzano pas de deux recorded in 1974.  The Ballet Rambert production of La Sylphide was mounted by Elsa-Marianne von Rosen with loving care as to authentic style and dramatic coherence (more…)

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Yet again a British politician opens his mouth in an unguarded moment and the reality of his ignorance and prejudice about dance is revealed.  This time it is David Cameron who opens his mouth and metaphorically puts his foot in it (I am sure he is neither fit nor flexible enough to do this for real), disparaging the benefits of Indian dance classes in schools.  And this on the very day that Akademi, South Asian Dance UK, performs in Westminster Hall as part of the Arts in Parliament programme of events.  And barely 10 days after the Olympics’ opening ceremony seen by countless millions, where the atmospheric dance episode during “Abide with Me” was lead by one of the UK’s most respected dance artists, a practitioner of the Indian classical dance form Kathak, Akram Khan.  Mr. Cameron wins at least a double gold for tactlessness, succeeding at a stroke in insulting both the Asian community and the dance community.  Or should that be a triple gold, given that this particular day has also seen British teams emerging strongly in the finals of the more ‘artistic’ sports disciplines of synchronised swimming (commentators cooing over the beautiful choreography) and rhythmic gymnastics? (more…)