Review of 2012: Dance


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The Independent Culture


Olympic Opening Ceremony,

Olympic Stadium, London

Danny Boyle's Olympic Opening Ceremony was full of dancing, from jitterbugging nurses to Akram Khan's reflection on mortality. Movement gave human detail to Danny Boyle's heartfelt, inventive imagery, helping to create something both epic and entirely personal.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch,

Barbican and Sadler's Wells, London

World Cities 2012 was a monumental series of works by the late Pina Bausch, one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century, danced with conviction and confidence by her own company.

Cinderella, Mariinsky Ballet

Edinburgh Festival

The Mariinsky can be the grandest ballet company in the world. In Cinderella, Alexei Ratmansky persuaded them to let their hair down, dancing with goofy spontaneity. Ballerina Diana Vishneva and conductor Valery Gergiev made this a splendidly starry evening.

Rambert Dance Company

Rambert Dance Company reminded us of contemporary dance's past this year, with superb revivals of Merce Cunningham's Sounddance, Paul Taylor's Roses and – in the centenary year of Nijinsky's ballet – the most convincing performances of L'Après-midi d'un faune.


The young performers of the Barbican and Boy Blue Entertainment looked back on the 2011 riots, with wild energy, tough questions and lively, confident performances.

Discovery of the year: Beatriz Stix-Brunell

The Royal Ballet's Beatriz Stix-Brunell was a revelation in Kenneth MacMillan's The Prince of the Pagodas, giving her fairytale character real agency and personality, while dancing with fluid beauty.

Turkey of the year: Onegin

The Eifman Ballet's awful update of the Eugene Onegin story, featuring bad rock music, bewildering Vegas vision scenes and gymnastic posturing.