Stuart Sweeney


In this time of self isolation and closed theatres, dance enjoyment can still be obtained online. Here is the first part of some links from the Royal Opera House and I’ll put up more in the next few weeks.

The ROH runs a series of Insight Evenings with different formats, lasting around 90 minutes. The most interesting for me are those based on rehearsals of new works or ones coming back into the rep. and they are available on YouTube. The usual format is for a conversation with the choreographer and dancers and the rehearsal of two scenes from the ballet. Here are some of the ones I have enjoyed. Note that as they were presented live, there is sometimes a fixed image at the start so you will need to scroll forward for a minute or two to reach the presentation.:

The Cellist by Cathy Marston:

I really enjoyed watching this in the Clore Studio at ROH, featuring the ballet inspired by the tragic story of Jacqueline du Pré. The duets between Lauren Cuthbertson and Marcelino Sambé are stunning and in the stripped down setting, the sharp focus works very well.

A Winter’s Tale by Christopher Wheeldon:

Akane Takada is mesmerising in this rehearsal and discussion.

The Legacy of Kenneth MacMillan:

This Insight event was part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration, a festival bringing together leading British dance companies to celebrate MacMillan’s legacy, on the 25th anniversary of his death. It was a spectacular two week experience at the Opera House and around the country as ballet companies which don’t perform MacMillan were able to perform these works for the first time in many parts of the UK.

As well as Northern Ballet rehearsing Gloria and Scottish Ballet rehearsing Le Baiser de la fée, the event features panel discussions and an insight into Benesh notation – the system by which ballet dancers record and learn choreography and is a vital tool in preserving the legacy of choreographers..