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As Dancing Times enters its 104th year of continuous publication, we thought it high time to give the magazine a bit of a “makeover”, so welcome to the first issue of our “new look”, designed by our production editor, Simon Oliver. We hope you like what you see and read, and look forward to any comments and suggestions you may have.
Cork City Ballet will celebrate its 21st birthday with a Ballet Spectacular Gala programme, presented at Cork Opera House from November 21 to 23. Stars include guest ballerina Lucia Lacarra, who danced with Roland Petit’s Ballet de Marseille, San Francisco Ballet and the Bavarian State Ballet. She will appear with her partner Marlon Dino.
Frederic Franklin, the British-born dancer who performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during the 1930s–1950s, and who played an integral role in the formation of ballet in the US, will be remembered in a memorial celebration of his life hosted by American Ballet Theatre at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York on October 14.
The Dance Teachers’ Benevolent Fund (DTBF) has just launched a new website that gives full details about its sterling work helping qualified dance teachers suffering temporary or long-term hardship.
Graham Watts speaks to Steven McRae about his latest project – on the page, not the stage
“Like most kids, I was surrounded by cartoons and comics and I loved things like Toy Story, The Flintstones and TheJetsons,” says The Royal Ballet’s Steven McRae when we meet to discuss his latest project. “And then Sailor Moon, a Japanese animation, came to Australia. I was blown away by the vibrancy of how manga captures action and movement in a unique artistic way. Manga made the two-dimensional jump out for me. ”
The Flames of Paris
The Mikhailovsky Ballet, Mikhailovsky Theatre, St Petersburg – July 22, 2013
Within minutes of the curtains closing on the premiere of The Flames of Paris, dancers and staff of the Mikhailovsky Ballet were addressed onstage by the surviving son of Vasily Vainonen. He spoke softly, barely audible above the sound of regimented handclapping, that continued on the other side of the fourth wall. Later, when the hard-core fans’ clamour for yet another curtain call had finally dissipated, Vainonen’s granddaughter – the daughter of his other son – also spoke. Both direct descendants of this great, long-neglected hero of soviet choreography (Vainonen died in 1964) praised the production they had just seen and especially the forensic authenticity achieved by Mikhail Messerer in reconstructing the 1932 ballet, originally made in this city (then renamed Leningrad) for the Kirov Ballet.
Lyric Pieces, Bitesized Ballet, Pineapple Poll
Birmingham Royal Ballet, Swan Theatre, High Wycombe – May 21, 2013
Birmingham Royal Ballet's "split-tour" nomenclature suggests a glass half empty. Its notion of "south west" is misleading too, extending to the doorstep of London – to High Wycombe. The company – well this half of it – looked fresh and danced with typical verve. In cash tight times, this half-pint tour delves into BRB's back catalogue and economically creates more outings for ballets recently performed. Pint glass full, there were no short measures for the Wycombe audience.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Baltic Dance Theatre, Baltic Opera House, Gdańsk – May 28, 2013
A breath of fresh air wafted though this innovative narration of Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, carrying with it an affirmation that complex stories can be told with simple clarity through the medium of dance and gesture alone without the need to lean upon the crutches of modern technology. The choreographer, Izadora Weiss, is an avowed disciple of Jiří Kylián and yet, unlike her mentor, Weiss has a penchant for tackling well-known stories (both The Rite of Spring and Romeo and Juliet are already in her back catalogue). Kylián invests every movement in his non-narrative dance with a particular meaning and Weiss applies this skill of utilising subtle gesture and articulate motifs to tell a story effectively, without graphics, multi-media tools, mesh screens or any other digital device. The clear intent of her distinctive movement is to be further admired for bucking this burgeoning trend for complex multiple collaborations in modern choreography.
Five Dances – a modern ballet evening
Hungarian National Ballet, Erkel Theatre, Budapest – June 1, 2013
In its aim to attract newcomers to enjoy dance, the Hungarian National Ballet certainly got things right when putting together its latest evening of modern ballets. With pieces not too long to let attention wander, and accompanied by beautiful music with plenty of passion and comedy to please everyone, the two-hour programme did just what it set out to do. The 2,000-seat auditorium of the Erkel Theatre in Budapest was packed with all ages, from youngsters to oldies, and their enthusiasm for the programme was infectious. Whistles, cheering, slow (appreciative) handclapping followed the curtain calls, and for those more used to the big story-telling traditional ballet evenings the company is known for, this programme certainly opened eyes to seeing that dance without specific scenarios can be just as entertaining.