Rupert Christiansen

Rupert Christiansen is the chief dance critic of The Spectator

Why I fell out of love with Wagner

It’s four years since I gave up opera criticism. The pandemic had struck, I had hit a significant birthday, and notched up three decades at the coal face – a quarter of a century at the Telegraph, and an earlier stint at this address. There were other things I wanted to do and after reviewing

The genius of Frederick Ashton

To defend my case that Frederick Ashton ought to be acknowledged as one of the major artistic geniuses of the last century, I would adduce three crucial pieces of evidence, garnered from the Royal Ballet’s ‘Ashton Celebrated’ festival at Covent Garden this month. Oberon and Titania’s love is an open contest between two unyielding wills:

The problem with Swan Lake

Over this summer you can see Swan Lake performed at the Royal Opera House by the Royal Ballet; at the Coliseum by a company from Georgia; at Sadler’s Wells by Chinese acrobats; and at the Royal Albert Hall by English National Ballet. It is expected therefore to attract audiences of Taylor Swiftian magnitude – well

Lucid and lean: Metamorphoses, at the Theatre Royal Bath, reviewed

Literate, thoughtful and serious, Kim Brandstrup ranks as one of the most honest and honourable of contemporary choreographers. A proper grown-up, scorning bad-boy sensationalism or visual gimmickry, he compensates in solid consistent craft for whatever he may lack in striking originality, and the double bill he presented earlier this month as part of Deborah Warner’s

Giselle is lovingly revived at the London Coliseum

Two archetypal ballet heroines have been facing each other across WC2: at the Coliseum, Giselle the blameless virgin, wronged in the first act, disembodied in the second; at Covent Garden, Manon the seductive, manipulative courtesan who can’t choose between love and money. Both in different ways are victims of a cruel world, and both must

The best British Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is one of those Christmas traditions that turns out to be not very traditional at all. First performed in St Petersburg in 1892, it didn’t catch on outside Russia until the late 1950s, when Balanchine’s version for New York City Ballet was repeatedly screened on network television in the USA and Festival Ballet’s

The award-winning choreographer who fell foul of the mob

Ebullient, articulate and eminently sensible, Rosie Kay never wanted to be a martyr to the culture wars. A modern dance choreographer with an impressive track record – including 5 Soldiers, an award-winning exploration of army life, contributions to the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics and a fellowship at Oxford – she would rather be