Jann Parry

A long-established dance writer, Jann Parry was dance critic for The Observer from 1983 to 2004 and wrote the award-winning biography of choreographer Kenneth MacMillan: 'Different Drummer', Faber and Faber, 2009. She has written for publications including The Spectator, The Listener, About the House (Royal Opera House magazine), Dance Now, Dance Magazine (USA), Stage Bill (USA) and Dancing Times. As a writer/producer she worked for the BBC World Service from 1970 to 1989, covering current affairs and the arts. As well as producing radio programmes she has contributed to television and radio documentaries about dance and dancers. She is married to Richard Kershaw and lives in London.

Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion – London

by Jann Parry January 28, 2012 Reviews
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After all the fuss about Sergei Polunin abruptly leaving the Royal Ballet, guess who stole the Men in Motion show? Daniel Proietto, in the AfterLight solo Russell Maliphant made for him in 2010. Admittedly, you could read the 15-minute solo as a warning of the fate awaiting a troubled dancer deprived of the support of a company of colleagues

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New Adventures – Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! – London

by Jann Parry December 27, 2011 Reviews
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Coming-of-age is the default story line of many a dance work based on a fairy tale. The problem with The Nutcracker’s ‘traditional’ scenario is that the growing up takes place in Sweetieland – a young child’s fantasy of overindulgence – while Tchaikovsky’s score is filled with complex emotions.

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Royal Ballet – Manon – London

by Jann Parry November 8, 2011 Reviews
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Glowing reports in May of debuts by Sarah Lamb and Rupert Pennefather in Manon proved more than justified by their performances when the ballet returned this November.

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Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Final Season in London

by Jann Parry October 23, 2011 Reviews
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. A few years before Cunningham died, he let his older dancers go, recruiting a new troupe mostly from his junior Repertory Understudy Group. Though they do his choreography justice, they don’t own the dances in the way his veterans did by being supremely themselves.

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Armitage Gone! Dance – Dance Umbrella performances – London

by Jann Parry October 19, 2011 Reviews
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While the revivals of Armitage’s once-audacious pieces now look immature, the extracts from her recent work hardly place her in the pantheon of great choreographers: an inflated reputation has done her no favours.

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Akram Khan – Desh – London

by Jann Parry October 14, 2011 Reviews
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His performance is a tour de force of acting as well as dancing, as fluent as the rivers that water Bangladesh. He is the Robert Lepage of the international dance scene, capable of sustaining a complex solo show – while dancing with a consummate skill Lepage has never mastered.

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Arthur Pita – The Metamorphosis – London

by Jann Parry October 9, 2011 Reviews
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Like Matthew Bourne, Pita is more a consummate man of the theatre than a choreographer. Like Bourne, he brings together a team of collaborators who help him create an indelible vision.

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Royal Ballet – Jewels – London

by Jann Parry September 29, 2011 Reviews
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The title sounded reassuringly expensive, according to Lincoln Kirstein. In 1967, he and Balanchine were hoping to attract sponsors and audiences to the relatively new State Theatre at Lincoln Centre, so they needed an opulent production. Karinska’s costumes, encrusted with costume jewellery, were regarded at the time as marvels of sophisticated couture…

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Richard Alston Dance Company – Saatchi Gallery Event – London

by Jann Parry September 14, 2011 Reviews
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I suspect the planners and performers had a more rewarding time than bewildered dance-watchers; I’ve no idea what art lovers made of the 50-minute experience.

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Mariinsky Ballet – La Bayadere – London

by Jann Parry August 17, 2011 Reviews
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Treasures should be heaped upon Ponomarov’s High Brahmin… He embodies the Mariinsky’s belief in La Bayadère as a ballet that matters and must therefore be performed as close to perfection as possible.

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Mariinsky Ballet – Anna Karenina – London

by Jann Parry August 14, 2011 Reviews
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Provided you have a clear memory of the book (or have mugged up some pass-notes), Anna’s tragic fate has been well recounted by Ratmansky and his collaborators…

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English National Ballet – Roland Petit bill – London

by Jann Parry July 27, 2011 Reviews
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All credit, though, to Eagling for securing what turned out to be a brave tribute to Petit and a testament to Eagling’s vision for his financially challenged company. And also for defying the printed warning on the cast sheet: ‘Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the London Coliseum’.

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English National Ballet School – Summer Showcase – London

by Jann Parry July 16, 2011 Reviews
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Lynn Wallis had mounted Solitaire for students from all three years, using as male soloists talented Brazilian twins, Vitor and Guilherme Duarte de Menezes, hard to tell apart, and bouncy Joseph Gray. It’s a delicious work for young people, with quirky steps from tap and musical comedy as well classical ballet.

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American Ballet Theatre in London – Programme 1

by Jann Parry February 4, 2011 Reviews
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The title seems Millepied’s reproach to critics who accuse him of overfilling his choreography with activity. But he’s paced this one well, with room to breathe in the slower movements. He is adroit at deploying lots of dancers, and he doesn’t distort them in Forsythe or McGregor extreme manipulations. As a complement to Ratmansky’s subtler Seven Sonatas, Everything worked as a rousing close to an otherwise underwhelming evening.

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