alison mcwhinney

Alison McWhinney in Giselle. English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Competition, March 2013. Photo by Foteini Christofilopoulou.

McWhinney’s dress fluttered as she glided elegantly from one glissade to another, plumes of taffeta rising as she did so. Her slow and delicate arm movements added to the lilting atmosphere. A memorable image was Nathan Young spinning McWhinney round with ease as her body and arms hung like a rag doll and her leg was extended in the air.

Alison McWhinney in A Million Kisses to my Skin. English National Ballet, Emerging Dancer Competition, 2014. © Dave Morgan.

McWhinney took on a complex extract from David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin, which required delicacy and accuracy in its delivery. McWhinney was as jazzy and sparky as you could wish but the solo ends abruptly and was the shortest contribution.

Alison McWhinney in Kinder Aggugini. Photograph: John Davis. Styled by Fabio Immediato.

Vive l'Art! Little Richard. In 2011, English National Ballet auctioned 9 tutus made for their dancers by fashion designers.

Ballet and fashion have not always been great bedfellows.  Designing garments for stage that are capable of being both comfortable and allowing full freedom of movement has proved a challenge for many. 

Alison McWhinney with the secret book in Against Time. English National Ballet. Photograph by John Ross. 

The street choreography was at the top of its game with tight, slick harmonies peppered by explosive acrobatic tricks. But the ballet choreography was predictable and dull. The best moments came in the mixed genre pas de deux between Alison McWhinney and Leroy Dias dos Santos.

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Alison McWhinney, Jia Zhang, Laurretta Summerscales, Nicky Henshall, James Streeter, Junor De Oliveira Souza, Senri Kou and Seo Yeon Yu, “Coppelia”, English National Ballet, Bristol Hippodrome Theatre, Bristol, England (November 2014)


Photography by ASH