Carlos Acosta’s recent production of Don Quixote for the Royal Ballet is full of energy, sparkle and exhilarating dancing. Even though it is from the classic Marius Petipa tradition, I didn’t know this ballet and wasn’t sure what to expect. How do you ‘balletise’ Cervantes’ 17th Century blockbuster? In some ways it is a bit like Le Corsaire with flamenco and gypsies instead of pirates: the thinnest of plots, but huge fun and an excuse for some great dancing. (more…)

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Can ballet ever claim to be an apolitical art form, especially in such extreme conditions as the Nazi occupation of France during the Second World War? What should be our response to a dancer, choreographer and ballet director who appears to have collaborated with the Third Reich and its ethos? Can he ever be ‘rehabilitated’ and should his works created under these conditions be performed? These were some of the questions arising for Professor Mark Franko in his intriguing DANSOX talk The Fascist Legs of Serge Lifar: French Ballet under the Occupation at St Hilda’s College on Thursday 4th June. (more…)