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March 2017 issue

Posted on March 1, 2017

This month’s is the biggest ever issue of Dancing Times! It’s packed with features on a huge variety of dance styles, from a behind-the-scenes look at the new Sergei Polunin documentary Dancer to an interview with Strictly’s Joanne Clifton and news of how dance can help people with multiple sclerosis…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancer: the outtakes

Julie Kavanagh goes behind the scenes on the documentary recording the life of Sergei Polunin (also reviewed in this issue)

“After their press conference he visited Kiev’s ballet academy, where he’d been trained as a child, and was visibly moved by the ‘same smells and faces’. In Giselle rehearsals he was coached by his first mentor, Nicolai Priadchenko, a wiry man with thick grey hair and leathery skin, who’d prepared Sergei for his Royal Ballet School audition, taught him variations for European competitions, and passed on the combination of romantic softness and danseur noble imperiousness that defined his own performances as company star.

“Priadchenko had been horrified to hear that Sergei had walked out of The Royal Ballet – ‘It’s not a company to be left. It was his base’ – and on camera was visibly shocked when the dancer confessed to hardly ever taking company class. Among his teachers only Priadchenko, Sergei said, was ‘constantly critical’, something he admitted he badly needed. ‘I work by myself, I mark things, and nobody tells me anything. So I’m trying in a way to lie to people – pretending I know what I’m doing, but really I don’t. Nicolai knows that, and tells me off in rehearsals. He wants to correct me; show me something new. I try to hold on to the key moments that I remember, but it’s not the same. If I had him every day, I’d be on a different level…’”

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Northern Star

Last year’s Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton tells Nicola Rayner about ambition, tap dancing and starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie

“Joanne Clifton is a curious mixture, with girlish charm hiding what must be pretty steely ambition – and then there’s that wonderful Grimsby accent. ‘Ooh, heck!’ she exclaims when I ask her if we’ve missed anything out at the end of the interview. ‘You’ve got me thinking on the spot.’

“Is she like Millie? ‘Well, I’m playing a 19-year-old girl,’ she laughs. ‘I’m not 19! She took herself off from Kansas and left her family behind, because she went to New York where her dream was to marry a rich man and live the modern life… though it might not turn out like that in the musical…

“‘In terms of leaving your family to pursue your dreams, that I can relate to, because to pursue my dream, which was becoming world champion, I took myself off at 16 and moved to Italy…’”

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Building confidence

Debbie Malina explores the physical and psychological benefits of dance for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS)

“A study undertaken at Ohio State University in 2010 demonstrated improved brain function following exercise… Ruchika Shauyra Prakash, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology explained: ‘For a long time, MS patients were told not to exercise because there was a fear it could exacerbate their symptoms, but we’re finding that if MS patients exercise in a controlled setting, it can actually help them with their cognitive function.’

“…The condition can affect the area of the brain controlling coordination, and when symptoms increase, individuals may be tempted to move less, limiting their use of coordinated movements, exacerbating the problem, often leading to depression and anxiety. Dancing involves following directions and coordinating movement, stimulating the brain and enhancing its ability to continue these movements… Taking part in a dance therapy class is likely to improve an individual’s mobility – of equal relevance is the fact it provides the opportunity to connect with others. People with the condition often feel they have lost their independence, relying on others for many of their regular activities; dance therapy helps them feel they have a greater sense of control.”

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Also in the March issue…

Sharon Wagner on the return of stage musical 42nd Street to London’s West End

Saying goodbye: David Mead meets DanceXchange’s David Massingham to look back on 17 years of changing dance in Birmingham

Back to the barre: Jonathan Gray describes his experience with adult ballet lessons

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Lewis Turner is our March Dancer of the Month

Zoë Anderson reports from the National Dance Awards 2016 ceremony

Laura Dodge visits vocational college Centre Pointe

David Toole tells Zoë Anderson about Stopgap Dance Company’s new production, The Enormous Room

Nicola Rayner reports from the UK Open in Bournemouth, with analysis of the four major competitions and the Rising Stars

Marianka Swain interviews DJ Jacky Logan about two trailblazing decades in same-sex dance

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on the cha cha cha

Our Dance Doctor, Phil Meacham, looks at the natural spin turn in waltz and quickstep

In our serialisation of Nadia Nerina’s memoirs, the ballerina recalls joining the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1946

We preview MOVE IT, the UK’s biggest dance event, and its MOVE IT PRO programme for teachers, social media fans and emerging choreographers

Gerald Dowler on the role of the dance critic

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Reviews 

English National Ballet in Mary Skeaping’s Giselle, debuts by Francesca Hayward, Yasmine Naghdi and more in The Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Masurca Fogo, The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works and Javier De Frutos’ Les Enfants Terribles, 52 Portraits at Sadler’s Wells, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble, Israel Galván and Eva Yerbabuena at Flamenco Festival London, Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag’s Swing Time, English National Opera’s Rigoletto, Simon McBurney’s production of Beware of Pity, Thomas Ostermeier’s staging of Richard III

International reviews

Christopher Wheeldon’s timely new Nutcracker for Joffrey Ballet, new works by Justin Peck and Pontus Lidberg at New York City Ballet, The Stone Flower back on the Maryinsky stage, Fredrik Rydman’s The Nutcracker Reloaded, the gala Stars of the Bavarian State Ballet, works by Yuri Possokhov, Jirí Bubeníček, Justin Peck and William Forsythe, Royal Ballet Flanders in Spartacus, Company Wayne McGregor and the Paris Opéra Ballet in Tree of Codes

Plus news of the Paris Opéra Ballet, Dancers’ Career Development, Prix de Lausanne 2017, Brighton Festival, Dutch National Ballet, new film Alive and Kicking, Zenaida Yanowsky and more

Obituary Vicki Karras

Media The Sergei Polunin documentary Dancer reviewed

Last Dance Our regular dip into the Dancing Times archives includes Peggy Spencer on Rudolf Nureyev, a 1977 snapshot on the Royal Danish Ballet and a 1926 Molyneux evening dress, “all clever slanting lines to make excessive slimness appear where slimness is not”

The March issue is now in shops – including branches of WHSmith – or you can buy your print copy here or buy your digital copy from all good app stores

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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