It was a great treat to see four Frederick Ashton ballets (Scènes de ballet / Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan / Symphonic Variations / A Month in the Country) in one programme earlier this week at Covent Garden, and despite some imperfections of performance the sheer quality of choreography carried the evening.

The opening piece, Scènes de ballet, was a disappointment not so much because there were mistakes and some of the cast were clearly not on form, but because evidence of the company’s understanding of Ashton’s style appeared only intermittently. The choreography of this ballet is so subtle, so original and so exquisitely balanced that it cannot fail to delight, but it should have been better danced. (more…)

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The Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake, broadcast live from the Royal Opera House to the Phoenix Cinema, Oxford. 23 October 2012.

As Zenaida Yanowsky slowly unfolds her leg in a high développé devant, she seems to float for a moment before she rises and subsides, caught and supported by Nehemiah Kish as she falls backwards.   This is a very trusting partnership between Kish, an elegant dancer with beautiful line, and the lyrical Yanowsky.   Kish’s Siegfried is a sincere prince, who loves Odette, but has no chance against Yanowsky’s Odile:  her fouettés and virtuoso steps embody deceit, and she suffuses the most ordinary step, such as a posé turn, with cunning. (more…)