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Ismene Brown’s best of dance in 2014

30 December 2014

11:49 AM

30 December 2014

11:49 AM

As the revels of the year end, here are my best memories. I think new was the word: new names, and new directions from familiar names. Stories rushed back into fashion. There was big emotion and bold movement, and untraditional means: collaborations with composers and communities thinking large on tiny budgets.

Here are my highlights – what are yours?

1. Crystal Pite’s mesmerising abstract mass ensemble, Polaris, in Thomas Adès’s one-off music and dance evening at Sadler’s Wells (see picture above)

2. Matthew Bourne and Scott Ambler’s gutwrenching community dance creation, Lord of the Flies

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3. English National Ballet’s ambitious, satisfying night of war-inspired premieres, especially Akram Khan’s Dust

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4. Mark Bruce’s music-hall Dracula, touring the UK with small resources but thrillingly judged gothic effect.

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5. Arthur Pita’s The Little Match Girl, an exquisitely judged little Christmas story that shows Pita a master-conjuror of dynamic emotional force and highly diverting entertainment.

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6. Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan’s Sacred Monsters in November – the penultimate Sylvie show, as she announced this winter.

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7. The Royal Ballet’s wondergirl, Anglo-African Francesca Hayward’s scorchingly  debut as Manon

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8. The Mariinsky’s wonderwoman: Uliana Lopatkina so sophisticated with Andrei Yermakov in the pas de deux from Balanchine’s A Midsummer Nights Dream at Covent Garden last August

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9. Christopher Wheeldon’s double whammy – The Winters Tale, at the Opera House last May, and his new An American in Paris (see picture below), in Paris. Of which more next time.

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