Dance: Old but bold

Moments That Made The Year: Veterans such as Mikhail Baryshnikov (right) and revived classics were the class of '96. By Louise Levene

The Royal Ballet's first new work for 1996 was Matthew Hart's Dances with Death, in which the HIV virus (Darcey Bussell in lipstick red) attacked the white corpuscles. The company also mined its repertoire with mixed results: a revival of Kenneth MacMillan's house-party rape drama The Invitation, coached by Lynn Seymour, was very welcome; the exhumation of his interminable three-act version of Anastasia, however, was less successful, despite giving both Viviana Durante and Sarah Wildor a chance to get their teeth into another of Seymour's most famous roles.

David Bintley was already doing good work as the new artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Bintley created his hyper-extended barn-dance Far from the Madding Crowd with one eye firmly on the box-office but the company staged a number of strong revivals including Jerome Robbins's 1951 tale of misandry and castration, The Cage. Birmingham also premiered Bintley's Nutcracker Sweeties, danced to Duke Ellington's Tchaikovsky homage and dressed to kill by Jasper Conran in tutus encrusted with Smarties and coffee beans.

Revamped classics were popular. Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures toured the country with Swan Lake before settling in for a record- breaking run at London's Piccadilly Theatre, where they were joined by Lynn Seymour, making a comeback as Siegfried's dysfunctional nymphomaniac mother.

It was a good year for veterans. Mikhail Baryshnikov packed the London Coliseum for a week in August with worshippers willing to watch any amount of humdrum padding so long as Misha was dancing in between.

Other dance phenomena also played to packed houses but with less critical success. Michael Flatley, the former Riverdancer, toured the land with his modestly entitled Lord of the Dance, a farrago of Celtic codswallop that showcased his incessant jigging. The paying public's unhealthy appetite for engorged egos in tight trousers was again demonstrated when the obscenely hyped Joaqun Cortes performed a travesty of flamenco in a candle-lit Albert Hall. Only his foxy old uncle Christobal Reyes gave any indication of the true percussive power of the art

More welcome visitors were Antonio Gades, who brought the stage version of Carmen; Tango por Dos, with some more sinuous-limbed cabaret from Buenos Aires; and the Kirov Ballet with The Nutcracker. The Edinburgh Festival's commitment to dance was proved yet again with the annual visit by Mark Morris, Pina Bausch's magnetic Iphigenie auf Tauris and a long-overdue visit from the Martha Graham Dance Company, which brought an illuminating selection of influential Graham works from the Thirties and Forties.

Other imports were decidedly substandard: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens bored Sadler's Wells with its poor technique and feeble choreography and Joffrey Ballet's Prince extravaganza Billboards may well have dragged the company finances into the black but has also dragged its fine reputation into the mire.

Contemporary choreography was far better served by the home grown Siobhan Davies, the Jean Muir of British dance, whose interrelated works Trespass and Affections were the highlight of the 1996 Dance Umbrella Festival of modern work and a fitting celebration of her newly-acquired pounds 50,000 Prudential Award.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence