The DANSOX Conference Kenneth MacMillan: Making Dance Beyond the Boundaries was an opportunity to reflect on and discover more about one of the twentieth century’s greatest choreographers. It was attended by distinguished practitioners and scholars in dance, and generously open to the wider University and general public.

Dame Monica Mason and Deborah, Lady MacMillan gave insights into what it was like to work with Kenneth MacMillan, his interest in contemporaneous events in society and the arts, his willingness to engage with designers new to the theatre, and his relationship with and support from Ninette de Valois. (more…)

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This collection of essays, articles and interviews, accompanied by a DVD, is enlightening, entertaining and scholarly. Robert Helpmann joined the Vic Wells Ballet in 1933, and was a major influence in the development of ballet in England, but despite being the subject of three biographies (by Elizabeth Salter, Anna Bemrose, and Kathrine Sorley Walker), by the early years of this century his fame was fading and his choreographic work Miracle in the Gorbals (1944) was almost lost.

The story of this ballet’s miraculous recovery threads through the book, and draws together memories, commentary, film footage and analysis. (more…)

DANSOX lectures are wonderful occasions. On Wednesday, the critic Alastair Macaulay shared memories, commentary and new insights with an audience of local residents, members of the University and distinguished visitors from the dance world. He began by setting his subject within its historical and cultural context, before launching into a wide ranging discussion of ballets ranging from the classical abstraction of Symphonic Variations to the humour, romance and narrative of La Fille Mal Gardée. (more…)

Frederick Ashton’s Ballets:  Style, Performance, Choreography, by Geraldine Morris, Dance Books, 2012

Original, informed and scholarly, this book could transform the way in which Ashton’s ballets are performed today.  On p.60, Morris quotes Nijinska’s complaint:  The dancers turn everything into what they can already do and consequently ‘falsely transmit the choreographic score …’.  Morris addresses this problem with regard to Ashton’s work, which, she argues, we are in danger of losing if we fail to recognise the individual style that is intrinsic to his choreographic output. (more…)

Long awaited from a highly respected practitioner and dance scholar…

Frederick Ashton’s Ballets: Style, Performance, Choreography

by Geraldine Morris

In this ground-breaking study of style in six ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton, Geraldine Morris examines the contribution they have made to twentieth century dance and art. Central to the discussion are questions about performance and its connection with style. What do we mean by style in dance? How do we identify it? How can it be retained? Can choreographed movement be distinguished from the danse d’école? Does any of this matter? (more…)