Margaret Willis

Margaret studied ballet in Moscow for five years and later was a member of London City Ballet. A reviewer since 1978 for many newspapers and magazines including Dancing Times and Dance Magazine, Margaret is a specialist on Russian Ballet, and has written books on Russian Ballet and Carlos Acosta.
The Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Opera House

This classic, packed with action and drama, always offers a good night out. Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta made this particular night one to remember. At the Royal Opera House.

Friday 13th December 2013 Read more...
Bolshoi Ballet: The Flames of Paris

With a rocket-fuelled, high-octane production of The Flames of Paris, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev set the Royal Opera House stage ablaze with their vitality, energy and sparkling virtuoso dancing. Their natural effervescent characters lit the fuse, which fired up the whole company, resulting in an explosion of delighted cheering from the whole auditorium. 

Sunday 18th August 2013 Read more...
Bolshoi Ballet's La Bayadère in London

There can be no lovelier and mystical moment in classical ballet than the sight of 32 ethereal ‘Shades’ in a ribbon of white, slowly descending from a darkened mountain range, down a zigzag ramp to the stage. 

Monday 5th August 2013 Read more...
Scintillating Classical Selection from Carlos Acosta at the London Coliseum

Shouts must have travelled as far as Covent Garden, as Carlos Acosta gave the Bolshoi some competition in this selection of extracts at the London Coliseum. A night to remember and one for posterity.

Wednesday 31st July 2013 Read more...
Russian Seasons of XXI Century at the London Coliseum: Programme 1

Russian Seasons bring a colourful and lively reminder of Parisian classic ballet with Le Spectre de la Rose, The Firebird and Scheherazade, all originally choreographed by Michel Fokine, in their first summer programme. At the London Coliseum.

Wednesday 17th July 2013 Read more...
Excuses to dance: The Mikhailovsky Ballet's Laurencia at the Coliseum

The third offering from the Mikhailovsky Ballet at the London Coliseum was the little-known Laurencia, a rather quaint piece containing some spectacular dancing. Again, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev delivered some spectacular performances.

Wednesday 3rd April 2013 Read more...
Simply the best: Don Quixote at the London Coliseum

A couple of supersonic rockets were set off in London on Saturday night at the London Coliseum, and the audience is still reeling from the aftermath. The fabulous duo were at it again, blazing their way across a stage that seemed far too small for their gigantic leaps, defying gravity with the height of their jumps and going into spins that nearly bored holes in the stage floor.

Monday 1st April 2013 Read more...
Perfect partnership in Mikhailovsky Ballet Giselle

The Mikhailovsky Opera's visit to London opened with a splendid performance of Giselle, playing to a packed Coliseum audience and starring darlings of the ballet world Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. They deserved every cheer they got.

Thursday 28th March 2013 Read more...
Nostalgia and magic: Birmingham Royal Ballet's Aladdin in London

Birmingham Royal Ballet have brought their family show Aladdin to the London Coliseum, and while it makes a very long performance, it's full of intrigue, excitement and nostalgia.

Friday 22nd March 2013 Read more...
The Royal Ballet's Onegin

The Royal Ballet's Onegin, with choreography by John Cranko, has been a repertoire piece since 2001. Alina Cojocaru inhabits the role of Tatiana very convincingly, though there was a lack of chemistry with her Onegin, Jason Reilly.

Monday 21st January 2013 Read more...
The Sleeping Beauty with English National Ballet

Tamara Rojo is artistic director of English National Ballet, but she's not ready to end her performing career just yet. Here, she starred in Kenneth MacMillan's production of The Sleeping Beauty. Visually stunning, the production met a high standard both on stage and in the pit.

Thursday 10th January 2013 Read more...
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

Matthew Bourne's new version of that iconic ballet masterpiece Sleeping Beauty might dismay the purist with the liberties it takes, but no one can fail to be entertained. At Sadler's Wells.

Thursday 13th December 2012 Read more...
The Nutcracker with The Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet's luxurious production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Sir Peter Wright in 1984, is a sure sign Christmas is on the way. It is pure visual delight and offers two hours of contented escapism from one's normal routine. A sudden change of soloist only added to the magic.

Tuesday 11th December 2012 Read more...
San Francisco Ballet at Sadler's Wells: Programme C

It must be exciting to be a member of San Francisco Ballet, America’s oldest ballet company, founded in 1933. This third and final programme of their ten-day visit to London offered four more works, which showed again what a sparkling and vibrant company it is.

Friday 21st September 2012 Read more...
Peter Schaufuss' Nutcracker

Now, one assumed, with the final production in the marathon Tchaikovsky Trilogy at the London Coliseum, all loose ends would be tied neatly together and Peter Schaufuss’ conception of connecting the three great Russian classics together be evident. Right?

Thursday 26th July 2012 Read more...
Peter Schaufuss' Sleeping Beauty

And so to the second part of Peter Schaufuss’ Tchaikovsky Trilogy of the three great Russian classical ballets. In Sleeping Beauty, re-titled A Sensual Dream, the complicated weaving of the choreographer’s vision in connecting all three ballets together begins to make a little more sense – at least to those who had viewed his Swan Lake.

Wednesday 25th July 2012 Read more...
Swan Lake at the Coliseum

Danish director and choreographer Peter Schaufuss created his trilogy on Swan LakeThe Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker in 1995, and it is showing in London now for the first time. He has linked the three famed ballets together as a series of dream sequences – but unfortunately this added nothing to the story.

Tuesday 24th July 2012 Read more...
A Journey: The Royal Ballet perform Ashton and Nijinska

The penultimate programme of The Royal Ballet’s season takes the audience on a journey, from a joyous celebration with seven imperially dressed ballerinas, to a summer dacha filled with tense emotions, and finally back in time to the ceremonial rites of a Russian peasant wedding.

Monday 2nd July 2012 Read more...
An Exhilarating Jubilee Double Bill from The Royal Ballet

This Royal Ballet programme, staged to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, makes an exhilarating tribute, and shows the company on top form in two very different works.

Wednesday 23rd May 2012 Read more...
Ballet Preljocaj dance Snow White at Sadler's Wells

Margaret Willis reviews Ballet Preljocaj in their version of Snow White at Sadler's Wells:  riveting, dramatic and, yes, surprisingly romantic.

Friday 11th May 2012 Read more...
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