Photographer Dasa Wharton captured for Gramilano the English National Ballet's 2017-2018 outing of its annual Nutcracker.
The mise-en-scène is magical: a Christmas Eve party in a London mansion, children in their party clothes, and skaters whirling past on the frozen Thames outside. Eagling takes his time establishing his characters. The children (from Tring Park school for the performing arts) are excellent, and the adults affectionately drawn. – The Observer
The cast worked like demons. The public was enthusiastic. Et voilà! – Financial Times
Shiori Kase (as the adult Clara in her dream) is every bit as beautiful on stage as in the production poster. She spins fast and poses precisely: the quintessential “musical box ballerina”. – Bachtrack
Bravura performances of the company's dancers. As ever, the ENB corps are a credit to themselves and their troupe: you'd have to venture well into the Arctic Circle to find crisper Snowflakes, and this consistency extends across the entire company. – The Telegraph
Drosselmeyer's hot air balloon also provide a moment of truly splendid wonder for kids (and the rest of us) of all ages. – The Express
Peter Farmer's costumes for the women are satisfyingly pink, and the choreography seems to move the way the music wants it to, swift and tireless as a mountain stream. – The Arts Desk
Caley and Kase make for a very sweet and compact partnership, which naturally builds to a climax in the Grand Pas de Deux. Kase performs confidently: the intricate and demanding choreography does not appear to be a stretch for her, although just a touch more extension would really have made her shine. She takes her time to use the sumptuous score effectively, creating a great richness of movement.
Caley is a truly dependable young partner for her – so good, in fact, that following his performance on press night he was promoted to Lead Principal. – Culture Whisperer
This is a production that can't compete with the Royal Ballet in terms of budget and scale, magic and sparkle, but it's a thoughtful approach to the Christmas classic with some spirited dancing and a few whizz-bang flourishes. – The Evening Standard
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.