A silver year for Matthew Bourne, and moments of solid gold

Dance 2012

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The Independent Culture

If the coming dance year belongs to any individual, it's Matthew Bourne, celebrating a quarter-century of mould-breaking dance theatre. In the next 12 months, Bourne's company New Adventures will play more than 300 performances at a record 32 British venues.

There's still time to catch the anniversary revival of his Nutcracker!, a typically sparky rethink of the Tchaikovsky treat. Tickets may be scarce for the remaining dates at Sadler's Wells (ends 22 Jan) but the national tour runs to mid-May, taking Bourne's inspired Sweetieland with its it-girl marshmallows and self-licking lollies to venues from Plymouth to Newcastle.

Bourne return to his roots in May with Early Adventures, a trio of career-launching comic hits, and in late June a long-overdue revival of his superb Play Without Words – savagely stylish take on the 1963 film The Servant. But the jewel in Bourne's crown is set to be his new Sleeping Beauty, due in October, "a supernatural love story" to complete his hat-trick of Tchaikovsky ballets. Musically, Beauty is the greatest of the three, so hopes will be high.

It looks to be a good year for men in dance. The next-generation Ballet-boyz, aka the 10 heavily inked members of The Talent, look set to widen their already considerable fanbase as they visit 21 British towns and cities between now and April. Former Royal Ballet principal Ivan Putrov galvanises his chums to present Men in Motion (Sadler's Wells, 27-29 Jan). And there's more boys-only action from Paris-based choreographer Blanca Li who puts the Parisian street-dance style electro on stage for the first time in Electro Kif, touring till March. Even English National Ballet is planning an assault on street dance in a novel collaboration with Flawless. Time Is of the essence opens at the Apollo, Hammersmith, in early June and tours.

Hofesh Shechter will be busy too, taking his shattering anti-war tirade Political Mother to the provinces, and collaborating with the sculptor Antony Gormley in Survivor (Barbican Theatre 12-14 Jan), this time writing and performing the musical score. It isn't dance, strictly, but admirers of Shechter's work will want to be there.

The build-up to the Olympics brings out the big guns. Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012 is hardly a snappy title but it tells you what you need to know. A month-long season in June/July, co-presented by the Barbican and Sadler's Wells, brings no fewer than 10 works by the late Pina Bausch exploring 10 global locations. Viktor visits Rome; Der Fensterputzer (The Window Cleaner) hails Hong Kong; Palermo, Palermo (a personal favourite) speaks for itself. Meanwhile, the Royal Ballet's contribution to the grand Olympian theme is Titian 2012, a collaboration with the National Gallery in which seven choreographers will join forces to create three new works in response to three great paintings by Titian. You can see it for free in a BP Summer Big Screen event in July.

Watch out for...

Some talents take an age to bring to the boil; others roll up ready cooked. The Royal Ballet's Liam Scarlett falls into the latter category. His first ballet for Covent Garden's main stage has already been revived, and the coming months see two new works from the apple-cheeked 24-year-old, both alongside his stylistic opposite, Wayne McGregor.

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