Backstage at the Ballet, an exhibition of photographs by Colin Jones, opened yesterday 11th February with a well-researched and entertaining presentation by Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria &  Albert Museum, on Photographing Dance and Dancers.  Pritchard spoke interestingly and informatively about dancer-turned-photographer Colin Jones, the history of dance photography, and Jones’ photo-journalism, focusing on his work with dancers.  She drew attention to the wealth of social and historical information in his images, from evidence of the terrible quality of studio floors in the 1960s, to the way in which dancers used to spend their ‘down time’ knitting before there were mobile phones. (more…)

English National Ballet (ENB) is the only major UK ballet company regularly to visit Oxford, and it is a great pleasure to read the memoire of a dancer who is so familiar to audiences here.

Klimentová states, “I became a ballet dancer by accident rather than by design”.  Born in Prague in 1971, in true Eastern Bloc style, she was picked out at kindergarten as a potential gymnast.  Thanks to the percipience of a ballet teacher at Sparta Prague, she was redirected to the Prague State Conservatoire, where she was schooled in the Vaganova style and fast-tracked to become a soloist.  Klimentová benefitted from the best training and professional start possible in Czechoslovakia before political change enabled her to build a career in the UK. (more…)