As 2009 draws to a close, Dancing Times can look back at an eventful year in the world of dance. We have celebrated the centenary of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the birth of Sir Robert Helpmann; we have marked the 40th anniversaries of both Northern Ballet Theatre and Scottish Ballet, and also the opening of Glasgow’s Tramway and the Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich; we have paid tribute to figures in the dance world who have reached a significant birthday and sadly mourned the passing of many dance luminaries.
Where would dance be without music? I know that many pieces of contemporary dance are performed in silence, but it seems to me that dance has been inextricably bound to music of all forms from the dawn of civilization. This month, we include two features that explore the relationship between music and dance.
Well, we did it! With the Dancing Times office closed for refurbishment and redecoration for a fortnight, and then just over a week to get this issue ready for the printers in our new-look office, I hope you find the September issue of Dancing Times an informative and entertaining read. The RAD Pre-primary and Primary syllabus debate stimulates more Letters to the Editor on page 11 (with more to come next month), and Sean Williams, director of the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET) sets out the aims of the Recognised Schools Scheme in his Talking Point column on page 12.
The Maryinsky Ballet returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, this month after an absence of four years. Within the past year the company has gained a new ballet director, Yuri Fateyev (see dancing-times.co.uk for a web-exclusive interview), who will undoubtedly be aiming to shape the company to his own vision following the departure of former director, Makhar Vaziev.
In this month’s Dancing Times, we highlight the careers of two of the world’s leading male dancers. Incredibly, Adam Cooper graduated from The Royal Ballet School 20 years ago this month, and he has since gone on to lead a glittering career in dance, first as a much-admired principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, then leaping to international fame as The Swan/Stranger in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. Since that groundbreaking production, Cooper has gone on to dance, direct and choreograph extensively. Alison Kirkman catches up with him during rehearsals for his latest Sadler’s Wells show, Shall We Dance, on page 15.
After our special tribute to Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes last month, we get back to business with a fine selection of stimulating features on a diverse array of dance topics. On page 15, Nadine Meisner talks to Yuri Burlaka, the new artistic director of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, and on page 19, Jeffrey Edwards reports back on the work placement he undertook with The Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School as part of DanceEast’s Rural Retreat for aspiring artistic directors.
There is no escaping the celebrations for the centenary of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Dancing Times this month. It’s hard to imagine how the international dance world might have evolved without the impact made by this extraordinary company – there would certainly be no UK ballet or contemporary dance scene as we know it today – and it is entirely appropriate we should reflect on the astonishing legacy of the Ballets Russes in its centenary year.