This wonderful but exasperating documentary film celebrating the art of Rudolf Nureyev almost succeeds both as a work of art in its own right, and as a discussion of the role of dance in mid-twentieth century European history. Although it suffers from too much material and too many ideas for its thematic structure to accommodate, the mode of presentation, which includes the use of dance to embody meaning, is highly original in a documentary format. Magnificent montages of archive film and newly created dance footage overlaid one upon another provide a depth of experience that is sometimes exhausting: watching Russell Maliphant’s choreography, accompanied by Alex Baranowski’s score, while listening to a Russian language interview translated by subtitles is almost overwhelming. (more…)

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Natalia Osipova’s specially commissioned programme of contemporary dance at Sadler’s Wells was an opportunity to see one of the greatest dancers of her generation in new works by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita.

In Cherkaoui’s Qutb (meaning ‘axis’ or ‘pivot’), Osipova, Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara experimented with ways of moving together, testing the limits of gravity and their contrasting techniques as they used their own weight to support, balance and counterpoise each other. Changes in the music, which included Sufi vocals, gave an episodic structure to a work so packed with possible interpretations that its meaning was ambiguous: suggestions in the programme included, among other ideas, the aftermath of a natural disaster, the interaction of celestial bodies, or a rite of passage. It was sometimes hard to see clearly the complex entwining movement of the dancers on the darkened stage; the work would benefit by being performed in a smaller and more intimate space. (more…)

Thrilling, innovative and original, the programme Lest We Forget marks another exciting advance for English National Ballet under Tamara Rojo’s leadership. Following last autumn’s production of Le Corsaire, she has now showcased the company further with an evening that included three new works, each by a different choreographer.  Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, Liam Scarlett, Russell Maliphant and Akram Khan’s contrasting approaches range from the almost literal and ballet-based (Scarlett) through the largely abstract and contemporary (Maliphant) to the intensely personal and culturally eclectic (Khan). (more…)

A one night visit to the New Theatre by the BalletBoyz provided an opportunity to see the youthful male dance talent that they are nurturing in theTALENT, a double bill of works specially created for them.  Marcella Vigneri took her 10 year old son Ravi; here are their impressions.

Marcella writes:

It has been a wonderful evening of male-only dance performance, an event divided into two new works, Serpent choreographed by Royal Ballet Liam Scarlett and Fallen by Sadlers Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant.  Overall, what really impressed me was the perfect balance between musicality and strength in movement: both works offered an amazing presence of stage with 10 Ballet Boyz dancers (not all with a classical dance training) offering stylised lines, boldly constructed shapes, dynamic lifts and athletic jumps effortlessly performed off each others’ bodies. (more…)

Rising –  Aakash Odedra Company, 26 September, Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse

Aakash Odedra is an extraordinary dancer and it is not surprising that other choreographers have chosen to create works on his body.  In Rising we saw a solo by Aakash Odedra himself followed by three others by Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

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Rising is a unique dance event bringing some of the world’s finest choreographers together on the same bill, each creating a solo work for the amazingly talented Aakash OderaRussell Maliphant (Broken Fall), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Faith and Myth), Akram Khan (London’s 2012 Olympics opening ceremony) and Odera himself use music and Aakash’s background in Kathak and Bharatanatyam to fuse a new style of contemporary dance.

Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27 September, Burton Taylor Studio

Tickets: £12 (discounts £10) can be purchased from the Oxford Playhouse Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com