The dance critic John Percival belonged to a generation which, in the 1950s, persuaded newspapers to employ specialist writers rather than making do with music critics. Before joining The Independent (1997-2002), he had been The Times' critic for 32 years. He was a familiarly tall silhouette at performances, always there because he had an exceptional receptiveness to dance of any creed and faithfully fulfilled the critic's duty to be well informed. Where others might flag after a few weeks of non-stop performances, he was invariably hungry for more.
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Thursday 08 January 2009
My father, Roger Frith, was one of the most talented theatre lighting designers of his generation. He was born in Streatham, south London on 1 June 1939, and grew up in Histon, Cambridge, where he attended St Johns School. When he showed early promise as a puppeteer, his parents formed the Rogoli Puppets, which became a successful puppet company. At 17, Roger toured the country with Hogarth Puppets. He regularly operated puppets on children's television, including Muffin the Mule, which he operated on live television from Alexandra Palace.
Thursday 01 January 2009
Ballet Lorent's family show Angelmoth starts with a library. The characters come and go, dancing and clambering through the towering stacks of Phil Eddolls's terrific set. You can see their eccentricities and their cherished secrets in the way they move. Later, these people are drawn into a magical world – but they're stranger, and much more interesting, in the real world of the library.
Tuesday 02 December 2008
No question, Savion Glover is a virtuoso. Bare Soundz, the latest show by the world's leading tap-dancer, is a stripped-down display of percussive footwork. There's no band, just Glover and two backing dancers. The steps are fast, hard and astonishingly intricate. Yet the show lacks variety.
Tuesday 11 November 2008
In the auction scene from William Forsythe's Impressing the Czar, props and dancers are dragged forward and displayed to the audience. Agnes, the main speaking character, tries to keep control. As she harangued audience and dancers, I wondered if Forsythe was aiming for a Monty Python effect: absurd detail, manic action, surrealism. If so, it falls flat.
Mark Morris's Romeo & Juliet, Barbican Theatre, London <br>Impressing the Czar, Sadler's Wells, London</br>
Sunday 09 November 2008
Sunday 19 October 2008
Nadia Nerina: Ballerina whose effortless and dazzling virtuosity made her a favourite of Frederick Ashton
Tuesday 14 October 2008
Nadia Nerina's most famous role is so popular, so fixed in the minds of even the most casual ballet lovers, that any other ballerina would have sold her soul for the same chance of creating it. She was the adorable, mischievous Lise, the delinquent daughter determined to marry the man of her choice and heroine of La Fille mal gardée, Frederick Ashton's most-loved ballet.
Sunday 05 October 2008
Thursday 14 August 2008
Petite, with dark hair, a pretty, oval face and ideal proportions, Maryon Lane had the quintessential looks of a ballerina of her time. Born in Zululand in 1931, she was one of an important group of young dancers from the Commonwealth who found success in England.
Sunday 27 July 2008
Monday 21 July 2008
Colour prejudice has no place in racing, thank goodness. Whether a horse is bay, brown, black, chestnut or grey – or, in the case of a runner at Newton Abbot yesterday, skewbald – has no effect on its ability as an athlete. Honeypot Splenda's dramatic chestnut-and-white patched coat may have turned heads in Devon, but her performance, pulled up when tailed off before the third-last flight in the opening novices' hurdle, did not.
Monday 14 July 2008
Sunday 06 July 2008
Wednesday 02 July 2008
This year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the works of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, 50 years after his death. Packed concert schedules allow us to reassess the "cow pat" composer (or, according to Classic FM's polls, Britons' favourite composer). The culmination of these celebrations is the Pioneering Pilgrim series by the Philharmonia under the conductor Richard Hickox, which includes all nine symphonies and The Pilgrim's Progress, the greatest, most complex and the least stageable of Vaughan Williams's operas.
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