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April 2009
in this issue
updated May 3, 2009 (check back weekly)

'Swan Lake'

American Ballet Theatre
by Carmel Morgan

The Saturday matinee of “Swan Lake” by the American Ballet Theatre featured flame-haired Gillian Murphy in the dual role of Odette-Odile. In Kevin McKenzie’s production, the role of evil sorcerer von Rothbart is played by two men, in this case Roman Zhurbin and the curly-topped Cory Stearns. Gennadi Saveliev, who was paired with Murphy earlier in the week in “Pillar of Fire,” was Prince Siegfried.

San Francisco Ballet
by Heather Desaulniers

“Swan Lake” rarely disappoints. Yes, some dancers are better than others in the main roles, but in the end, it is still “Swan Lake.” It’s hard to go wrong with this classical staple, but it’s also hard to update a piece that is so deeply entrenched in ballet history.

San Francisco Ballet
by Becca Hirschman

San Francisco Ballet is known more for its ultra-cool contemporary works than the evening-length conventional story ballets, but Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson has invested a lot of time and money into a spectacular new full-length marvel that is sure to amaze everyone.


by David Mead

Seeing a large part of the audience reaching for their programme notes at the first interval to try and figure out what is going on is rarely a good sign. It is also quite unusual in Birmingham because David Bintley is generally such a good storyteller.

'Pomp and Circumstances'
by Cerise Andrews

Recession and classical dance are two concepts that should never meet. And let’s hope they never have to. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Pomp and Circumstances programme offered a sumptuous diversion from reality, a velvet-curtained history-sated world view that it is more important than ever to return to, lest all sense of human dignity be lost amongst the sense of pending deprivation.

Forums Flashes
Direct from the CD forum...

American Ballet Theatre in London
by Cassandra

Le Corsaire was largely a forgotten work until about twenty years ago when we first saw the Vinogradov reworking of it for the Kirov. A few years later the former Kirov director Konstantine Sergeyev trumped him by creating something far superior for the Bolshoi, a production I still remember fondly.

To read more, click here


Roman Jasinski: A Gypsy Prince from the Ballet Russe by Cheryl Forrest and Georgia Snoke
book review by Leland Windreich

Few readers of this review are likely to know much about the subject of this biography. Roman Jasinski was one of a score or more of principal dancers of the Ballet Russe companies who flourished on world stages before settling in America to start a school and a regional ballet establishment. He is still cherished in his selected home base, Tulsa, Oklahoma, where two of his most dedicated students spent hundreds of hours capturing his memoirs on tape, the last of which was recorded a few weeks before his death in 1991.

A Pair of Aces - Violette Verdy and Mimi Paul Coaching at Pacific Northwest Ballet
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
"Once you get a taste for it, you want it all the more. It helps you become more of yourself – encourages you to express and explore".


Los Angeles Ballet - Director's Choice
by Kathy Lee Scott - March 7, 2009, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach, California

Two standards and one premiere met the audience at Los Angeles Ballet's Director's Choice program, which opened on March 7, 2009, at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in California. The almost three-year-old company featured two Balanchine pieces, one from his earlier years and one composed later in life. Dancing the main role, guest artist Eddy Tovar personified the rebellious Son in the “Prodigal Son,” which Balanchine created to Prokofiev's "Opus 46" initially for Serge Diaghliev.

Six Degrees Dance Company
by Adele Harris -- January 23 , 2009, Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, New York
The Six Degrees Dance Company made their New York City debut on January 23 and 24 at the prestigious Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. It was the first time the company presented a full evening of dance, focused solely on the choreography of its two artistic directors, Misty Nelson and Cecly Placenti. The evening’s performance included pieces of soulful dance interpretations using original music composed for the company and dance pieces which expressed slices of everyday life in dance form.

Compagnie Thor - 'D'Orient'
by Carmel Morgan -- March 10, 2009, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Theater, Washington, D.C.
Belgium’s Compagnie Thor performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s inspiring month-long celebration called “Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World.” At first glance, a Belgian contemporary dance company might seem out of place in a festival of Arab culture. However, the company presented “D’Orient,” a work that Artistic Director Thierry Smits created after a series of voyages to the Middle East. Compagnie Thor’s “D’Orient,” which premiered in March 2005, offers an intriguing outsider’s view of the exotic Arab world.

MA'AT for Contemporary Dance - 'Temporament'
by Carmel Morgan - March 4, 2009, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Family Theater, Washington, D.C.

The Kennedy Center presented a special series of performances and exhibits titled “Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World” during March 2009. Among the over 800 Arab artists involved in this series was Karima Mansour, Artistic Director of MA’AT for Contemporary Dance. Mansour, who has a BA and MA in Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School and also a BA in Film from Cairo’s Academy of Arts, founded Egypt’s first independent contemporary dance company in 1999. Her company, which has performed at various international festivals, develops choreography and organizes dance film screenings.

Akram Khan and Juliette Binoche - 'In-I'
by David Mead -- March 4, 2009, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts
For his latest big-name collaboration, Akram Khan has teamed up with French Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche to create “In-I”. The sole performers, Binoche and Khan show us scenes from a relationship, or from a number of different relationships. Each is personal to them, from her first spotting a potential lover in a cinema queue, through their first passionate nights, to arguments, falling out and reconciliation.

San Francisco Ballet - 'Jardin Aux Lilas,' 'The Concert' and 'On a Theme of Paganini'
by Becca Hirschman -- March 12, 2009, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco
With “Swan Lake” packed up, San Francisco Ballet is churning out several mixed bills, and last night’s opening of Program 4 presented timeless works and a more recent, yet questionable, addition.

National Ballet of Canada - 'Innovation' Triple Bill
by Kate Snedeker -- March 4, 2009. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto

Ballet Hispanico - Artistic Director Tina Ramirez's retirement
by Sigrid Payne DaVeiga - February 20, 2009, Playhouse Square, Ohio Theater, Cleveland

Parsons Dance - 'Swing Shift,' 'Hand Dance,' 'Kind of Blue,' 'Ebben,' 'Caught' and 'In the End'
by Carmel Morgan -- February 28, 2009, George Mason University, Center for the Arts, Fairfax, Virginia

English National Ballet - 'Alice in Wonderland'
by David Mead -- March 5, 2009, Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Culture Centre

more reviews published weekly

editors' choice

· Miami Dance Festival
Apr 1 - May 10, 2009
A six-week celebration with seven dance companies presenting a dynamic schedule of diverse international dance styles and festival events.

· Ballet Russes Festival and Conference
May 16 - 23, 2009
Featuring dance, music, visual art, cinema, and other happenings inspired by the genius of Diaghilev's creative team and the extraordinary figure of the impresario himself.



For ballet-dance magazine

Executive Editor
Kate Snedeker

Executive Editor 2003-2005
Mary Ellen Hunt

Focus and Photo Editors
Elizabeth McPherson, Dean Speer

Senior and Supervising Editors
Lori Ibay, Holly Messitt

Associate Editors & Compositors
Francis Timlin, Lisa Claybaugh, Azlan Ezaddin

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