Journalism

Judith Flanders writes regularly about theatre, dance and the contemporary arts and is a frequent contributor to the Sunday Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Spectator and theartsdesk.com. She is the dance critic for the TLS. She has also broadcast on historical topics for BBC Radio 3 and was recently commissioned to record a series of short pieces about Charles Dickens’ London for BBC Radio 7

Recent Articles

Working on Assassin’s Creed

Working on Assassin's Creed
Judith Flanders has never played video games – not even Angry Birds – so no one was more surprised than the historian herself when she was approached by the developers of the Assassin’s Creed franchise to serve as a consultant on the latest instalment, set on the streets of 19th-century London amid the Industrial Revolution. “It’s like you’re an expert on a faraway place,” said Flanders. “You’ve learnt the language. You’ve met people from there ...
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Stuff vs. Theory

Stuff vs. Theory
Street-advertising: note the handbills, as well as the boards promoting various exhibitions and products (and one election campaign, far left). In a rather acid moment, my publisher once said that all my books could secretly be titled Fun Stuff I Have Found Out. He did not mean it unkindly, or at least I tell myself he didn’t. And up to a point it’s a fair cop, guv. I came to history-writing by the back door ...
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Wheeldon: Winter’s Tale, ENB: Lest They Forget, BRB: Pagodas

Wheeldon: Winter's Tale, ENB: Lest They Forget, BRB: Pagodas
Choreography may be the most difficult of all performing-art forms. The dance-lover is all too aware that the standard theatre or opera repertoires contain thousands of works. Dance, by contrast, has a repertoire that numbers only in the hundreds, and most companies commonly draw on only dozens of works. For England’s three largest ballet companies to produce new pieces within months of each other, therefore, is unusual. That the works come from four of the ...
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Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton was a relative unknown when in 1956 he produced the collage for which he is still, perhaps, most famous: “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” (The original is too fragile to travel, and a print version produced by the artist in 1992 takes its place in the Tate’s show.) The piece was included in the Whitechapel Gallery’s seminal This is Tomorrow exhibition, and it would be difficult ...
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Modernism and Dance

Modernism and Dance
Susan Jones: Literature, Modernism and Dance (360pp. Oxford University Press. £55) “Les Noces” in rehearsal at the Teatro Colon, Buenoa Aires 1923 In 1930s literary London, ballet was everywhere. Virginia Woolf, several Stracheys, the Bells, E. M. Forster, H. G. Wells, John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley, the Sitwells and T. S. Eliot all attended the Ballets Russes. Louis MacNeice’s Les Sylphides appeared in 1939, and in the same year Henry Green’s Party ...
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Royal Ballet: Triple Bill

Royal Ballet: Triple Bill
It is possible to see Gloria, Kenneth MacMillan’s howl of rage at the wanton waste of the First World War, as the final piece in a great arc of expressionist dance, from Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (1913), through Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces (1923), to Gloria (1980). The first two works portray a mythicized peasant life, where women are ritually sacrificed for the benefit of the community. The violence they depict, overt in Le ...
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Le Corsaire, English National Ballet, and people-trafficking

Le Corsaire, English National Ballet, and people-trafficking
Tamara Rojo was, for many years, one of the Royal Ballet’s foremost principal dancers. She has proved equally surefooted as the newly ensconced director of English National Ballet. After an initial season of smartly programmed triple bills, Le Corsaire is her first commissioned work, a way of throwing down the gauntlet, announcing that ENB is playing in the big league. This full-length work from the classical tradition showcases her new star, Alina Cojocaru, whom Rojo ...
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Hannah Höch, Whitechapel Gallery

Hannah Höch, Whitechapel Gallery
Two large collages bookend Hannah Höch’s career. First, the cumbersomely titled “Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser Dada durch die letzte Weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands” (“Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany”, not on show in this exhibition), a centrifugal spray of creation which made her reputation when it was exhibited at the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920; and, half a century later, the grid-like “Lebensbild” (“Life ...
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Robert Cohan: The Last Guru, book review

Robert Cohan: The Last Guru, book review
Paul R. W. Jackson: The Last Guru: Robert Cohan’s life in dance, from Martha Graham to London contemporary dance theatre With commentary by Robert Cohan 380pp. Dance Books. £20 (US $33.95). The dance world’s reach has always been tiny. Robert Cohan, the driving force in the understanding of contemporary dance in Britain in the twentieth century, grew up, like most people, in blissful ignorance of either classical dance or the burgeoning contemporary schools. Cohan was ...
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Isabel Allende: Ripper, review

Isabel Allende: Ripper, review
Isabel Allende, Ripper (Fourth Estate, £12.99, 478 pp.) Some literary writers have patronizing attitudes to genre. John Banville, who writes crime-fiction as Benjamin Black, has said he produces just 100 words a day as a literary novelist, but a couple of thousand as Black. Crime-writing is easy was his subtext. Isabel Allende’s 1982 debut, The House of the Spirits, introduced millions to magic-realism. Her subsequent sprawling tales of love in historical settings have a devoted ...
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Royal Ballet, Jewels

Royal Ballet, Jewels
It has been said that Mozart, so prodigiously talented so young, seemed to be merely a vessel through which God, or the music of the spheres, or whichever higher being one chooses, channelled the sounds of heaven. So, too, sometimes, does Balanchine appear to be a vessel through which music is channelled, to take solid form in front of our eyes. And never more so when the music in question is Tchaikovsky. Jewels can be ...
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Saints of the Shadow Bible

Saints of the Shadow Bible
Ian Rankin, Saints of the Shadow Bible (Orion, 428 pp.) The wait for Rebus’ return was not as long as Holmes’ from the Reichenbach Falls. Only a year after the Edinburgh detective ‘retired’, readers were reassured he would return, and he did, working cold cases. Now he’s back on the front-line, in a neat role reversal detective-sergeant to former protégée Siobhan Clarke’s detective-inspector. Malcolm Fox is back too, on his last case with ‘The Complaints’ ...
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