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10 captivating London ballet and dance shows to see this spring

From ballet to breakdance, flamenco to freestyle, the capital’s dance scene is en pointe this season

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022 Spring 2022's best London ballet and dance shows from Swan Lake, BalletBoyz, Royal Ballet, Le Bal de Paris, Solera, Age of Rage, Casanova

London’s dance scene is back in full swing as the capital welcomes to the stage some of the most dynamic ballet companies and dance collectives around. From a magical reimagining of Swan Lake to a virtual reality spin on ballroom and choreography-meets-urban sport, these are the most exciting London ballet and dance shows to see this Spring.

Swan Lake
Royal Ballet

Royal Opera House
Until 28 May

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Production photo of Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet 2018 ©ROH. Photography: Bill Cooper

The Royal Ballet’s production of Swan Lake promises three magical hours of dance. The revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s masterpiece, reimagined by the late choreographer Liam Scarlett, was meant to be staged in 2020, but was interrupted by pandemic-induced theatre closures. But now here it is, with glittering set and costume designs by John Macfarlane and that spine-tingling score by Tchaikovsky. As the stage fills with graceful cygnets and Prince Siegfried and Odette’s love story unfurls, you’ll be entranced. 

roh.org.uk

Double Bill: Black Sun and Say It Loud
Ballet Black

Barbican Theatre
24 - 27 March

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Ballet Black, Double Bill, the Ballet Black Company. Photography: Nick Guttridge

To mark their 20th anniversary, Ballet Black presents a standout double bill. Artistic director Casso Pancho’s pioneering London ballet company, founded to give much-needed opportunities to Black and Asian artists, will be performing two never-been-seen-before works. The first is Black Sun, a new piece by South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma with an original score by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. The second, Say It Loud, choreographed and directed by Pancho, tells the story of Ballet Black’s beginnings, taking the audience through the highs and the lows.  

barbican.org.uk

Deluxe by BalletBoyz

Sadler’s Wells
24 - 26 March

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
BalletBoyz presents Deluxe. Photography: George Piper

Hailed as one of the most innovative forces in modern dance, the BalletBoyz are bold, boisterous and… back. Led by former Royal Ballet lead dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, the company of eight exuberant young dancers has built up a huge reputation (and won many an award) for their distinct style, which fuses dynamic dance with music and film. Deluxe is a spellbinding combination of all three, incorporating work by contemporary artists including choreographer Xie Xin, composer Jiang Shaofeng, Punchdrunk’s Maxine Doyle, and jazz musician and composer Cassie Kinoshi of the Mercury-nominated SEED Ensemble.

sadlerswells.com

New Kyle Abraham / Solo Echo / DGV: Danse à grande vitesse
Royal Ballet

Royal Opera House
24 March - 7 April

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Kyle Abraham. Photography: Tatiana Wills

Three of the most exciting contemporary choreographers come together for a trio of one-act ballets performed by the Royal Ballet. First is a new work by American choreographer Kyle Abraham, The Weathering. It was Abraham, who has his own dance company A.I.M, who choreographed Beyoncé’s 2013 Vogue cover shoot, so this will be showstopping. Next is Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo which has been inspired by Mark Strand’s poem ‘Lines for Winter’ and is set to Brahms’s sonatas for cello and piano. The programme finishes with Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à grande vitesse. Created for the Royal Ballet in 2006 and set to a score by Michael Nyman, it’s described as “a mesmerising blend of movement and metaphor.”

roh.org.uk

The Forsythe Evening
English National Ballet

Sadler’s Wells
31 March - 10 April

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Forsythe Evening. Photography: Jason Bell

Choreographer William Forsythe has been redefining classical ballet for over half a century. Not least with Playlist (Track 1,2), which premiered in 2018 – a playful, incredibly technical ballet juxtaposing classicism with athleticism, all to a soundtrack of neo-soul and house music. It returns for 2022, this time as Playlist (EP). The audience can expect six tracks ranging from Khalid to Barry White, with up to 30 dancers from the English National Ballet on stage – it positively pulsates with energy. Completing the programme is Blake Works I which sees 21 dancers dancing to seven songs from James Blake’s hauntingly beautiful album The Colour in Anything

ballet.org.uk

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Le Bal de Paris
Blanca Li Dance Company

Barbican Theatre
1 - 9 April

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Blanca LI Dance Company, Le Bal de Paris. Photography: Blanca Li Dance Company

Billed as the ‘biggest party in Paris’, Spanish choreographer Blanca Li’s production is an extraordinary meeting of virtual reality with music and dance. Thanks to groundbreaking VR and body-tracking technology, the audience is invited to join the live performers as they swirl and whirl through multiple locations including a monumental Parisian ballroom and a magical garden party. Add in digital costume design by Chanel and a musical score by Tao Gutiérrez, and it’s little wonder Le Bal de Paris won the Lion of the Best VR Experience at the 78th Venice International Film Festival

barbican.org.uk

Elements of Freestyle
ISH Dance Collective

Sadler’s Wells
13 - 23 April

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Elements of Freestyle. Photography: Alex Brenner

Imagine a fusion of extreme urban sports, dance, music and theatre and you have Elements of Freestyle by the Netherlands’ ISH Dance Collective. As the group undertakes everything from breakdance, inline skating and skateboarding to freestyle basketball, BMX and freerunning, all to a punchy musical score, they beautifully unveil the artistry behind every trick. Directed by Marco Gerris (So You Think You Can Dance?), this is a show that is aesthetically striking and edge-of-your-seat exciting. 

sadlerswells.com

Solera
Paco Peña

Sadler’s Wells
20 - 24 April

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022

Spanish guitarist and composer Paco Peña returns to Sadler’s Wells after a five-year absence with the world premiere of Solera. For this, his latest production, he has reunited with his long-time collaborator, director Jude Kelly. The result is a flamenco show, featuring both young and mature performers, that weaves within it solera – the centuries-old Spanish method of producing wine. There’s a parallel with flamenco to be drawn here, a tradition that’s handed down from one generation to the next. “I am delighted to be working again with my dear friend and great artist Jude Kelly in bringing to Sadler’s Wells a taste of the sun and soil of Andalucía: Solera,” says Peña.

sadlerswells.com

Casanova
Northern Ballet

Sadler’s Wells
10 - 14 May

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Northern Ballet dancers in Casanova. Photography: Emma Kauldhar

As one of the most fabled lovers in history, Casanova needs no introduction. The 18th century Venetian may well have been an adventurer, but he was far more famous for his womanising. Following a sell-out run in 2017,  Northern Ballet brings the story of Casanova back to Sadler’s Wells. With sumptuous period costumes and sets by Tony and Olivier award-winning Christopher Oram and Kerry Muzzey’s cinematic score, this London ballet invites you to “Throw caution to the wind and be led into temptation.”

sadlerwells.com

Age of Rage
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam

Barbican Theatre
5 - 8 May

10 Best London Ballet and Dance Shows To See - Spring 2022
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Age of Rage. Photography: Jan Versweyveld

Greek classics are given a modern twist by the world-renowned Internationaal Theater Amsterdam. Based on six tragedies by Euripides and one by Aeschylus, Age of Rage kicks off with the Trojan War and the Atreides family – what follows is a cyclical story of anger and violence passed down through the generations – all beautifully portrayed through music, performance and dance by a large ensemble cast. Directed by Ivo van Hove, with choreography by Wim Vandekeybus and music from the contemporary music collective BL!NDMAN [drums], this is dark, visceral and gripping. 

barbican.org.uk

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