Dance: Sarah Crompton's five best dance of 2020

Our critic chooses her highlights, recalling inventive lockdown venues and the emotional return of the Royal Ballet

1. Revisor
Sadler’s Wells, London, March; broadcast on BBC Four in May; available on iPlayer
An astonishing assertion from Crystal Pite and her Kidd Pivot company of the interpretative power of dance; a sinuous version of Gogol that combined lip-syncing to a text and visceral movement that articulated every word. Riveting.

2. Maliphantworks3
Coronet, London; February
A reminder, just as theatres closed, of the atmospherics of live action, as Russell Maliphant and his dancers, including his wife, Dana Fouras, in her final performance with the company, wove magical movement under rippling light.

3. Dancing at Dusk
Sadler’s Wells live stream; June
Dance adapted quickly to lockdown, and never more than here when the final rehearsal of a new production of Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring by a specially assembled company of dancers from 14 African countries was filmed on a beach in Senegal as the sun went down. Sensational.

Russell Maliphant and Dana Fouras in Maliphantworks3.
Russell Maliphant and Dana Fouras in Maliphantworks3. Photograph: Julian Broad

4. Artificial Things
BBC iPlayer; November
Sophie Fiennes’s film of Stopgap Dance Company in a piece by Lucy Bennett set in an empty shopping centre, with the dancers moving from anxiety to uncertain joy, felt like a summary of the year. It was also a fitting tribute to the inspirational David Toole, who died in October.

5. Royal Ballet Back on Stage
Royal Opera House, London, and live stream; October
I had tears in my eyes when the Royal Ballet returned to the stage in October. The performances in a series of galas for a reduced audience and streamed live, were a tribute to a group of dancers who have managed to keep dancing, retaining both their fabulous technique and the capacity to generate emotion.


Sarah Crompton

The GuardianTramp

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