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August 2017 issue

Posted on July 27, 2017

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We hear from Flavia Cacace about her new tango show with Vincent Simone, about ballet in Moscow and Ufa, and highlight the Washington Ballet, whose EunWon Lee and Gian Carlo Perez are this month’s cover stars…

Thoroughly Moderno

Flavia Cacace tells Nicola Rayner about Tango Moderno – and why she and Vincent Simone are returning to the stage after saying goodbye

“‘It was really towards the end of The Last Tango [their previous stage show] that people started to say, ‘You’re going to be missed. Why are you retiring?’ And we said, ‘We’re not retiring; we’re just not planning a fourth theatre production,’ so it was a difficult, muddy sort of thing, actually.’

“After a few months’ break from the West End, ‘which we needed because we were absolutely exhausted’, Vincent and Flavia met with producer Adam Spiegel. ‘Two months off, as dancers, it’s like a lifetime, really,’ laughs Flavia. ‘We met with Adam for a cofeee, and he said, ‘Look, do you want to do something else?’ And when you have the opportunity and you hae the urge and you still love what you do, we thought, ‘Right, let’s crack on’.’

“‘It’s going to be very different,’ she notes. ‘When we start a show, we always make it different to the previous one, so the audience can come and see something new. We decided, with this one, to go down a more modern route, hence the Moderno in Italian’ – Vincent and Flavia both come from Italian families – ‘so, as our previous shows have been set from the 1920s to the 1970s,this is something we haven’t done…’”

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Nureyev Festival

Graham Watts reports from Ufa’s celebration of its most famous son, Rudolf Nureyev

“…On New Year’s Eve, 1945, that new opera house was where Nureyev discovered his love of ballet. As a momentary escape from their poverty, his mother, Farida, bought a single ticket but somehow managed to smuggle her children inside. They saw The Crane Song, a three-act ballet based on a popular Bashkir folk tale, about a woman – magically transformed into a crane – pursued by a hunter. Young Rudolf was utterly transfixed, initially by the richness of the theatre’s interior, but then, indelibly, by the dancing of the prima ballerina, Zaituna Nazretdinova. He later spoke of that evening as his calling: ‘I knew. That’s it, that’s my life; that will be my function’…

“It seemed to me that the women of the Bashkir State Ballet are stronger dancers than the men and, on an afternoon visit to the Choreographic College, I came to see why. The institution, founded in the late 1980s, is based in the same building that had been Nureyev’s primary school. The College has now taken his name and it trains young dancers both in ballet and Bashkir National Dance, which was Nureyev’s own first experience of dance. I was struck by the dynamic, heroic virtuosity shown by the male students and it seemed likely that this hugely popluar folk dance idiom provides a more lucrative career for the best young male dancers of Bahkiria…”

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Up in arms

Arms are the unsung heroes of ballroom and Latin. Nicola Rayner explores their vital role

“In dance, the feet get all the glory, not just in songs such as ‘Footloose’ or ‘Happy Feet’, but in the way we’re almost always taught footwork first. ‘I’ve found a lot of people get stuck on the feet, and it doesn’t develop any further,’ says Strictly Come Dancing professional Katya Jones. Fellow Strictly pro AJ Pritchard agrees: ‘So much focus is on the feet, the legs and body that the arms get neglected’…

“…As for the most difficult dance, most professionals agree that the artistry required for the flamenco arms in the paso doble is particularly demanding. AJ recommends lots of mirror work for perfecting it, ‘working into the wrists, the hands, the fingers, because that’s what they see at the end of the silhouette. It’s the cherry on the cake, really.’

“At least in the pas doble, ‘we know exactly what to do, says Neil Jones. ‘Yes, it’s difficult because I have to work on it more, but at the same time it’s easier because I know it’s about shaping and presenting. It can be harder with something like the cha cha, because you are working out what to do. Maybe I want to create a gesture: am I inviting somebody? Am I pointing? Maybe you’re using your hands to touch your body to emphasise the movement coming from that body part. Funnily enough, when you start thinking about the choreography of arms like that , it actually becomes easier.”

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Also in the August issue…

Scottish Ballet’s Araminta Wraith is our Dancer of the Month

Margaret Willis sees the winners of the 2017 Moscow International Ballet Competition

 Health: Debbie Malina on muscle memory

Emma Maguire tells Zoë Anderson about the Ann Maguire Gala, remembering the much-loved teacher and raising funds for arts education

Talking point: Daniel Pratt on how dancers respond to music

Musical theatre in the Midlands: Laura Dodge visits MADD as the school celebrates its 50th anniversary

Dean Alexander’s photographs of the Washington Ballet

Lee Knights meets belly dance teacher and choreographer Charlotte Desorgher, who is pioneering a new approach to training

A fractured ambition: Trader Faulkner remembers the ballerina Elaine Fifield

Keeping a legacy alive: Alison Gallagher-Hughes on the importance of inspiration in dance

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on waltzing in harmony

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, explores contra body movement position

Simon’s guide to swing: No Jitterbugging Allowed! Swing dance’s journey to the UK

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain reports on an eventful World Outgames

Jack Reavely remembers ballroom legend Glenn Boyce

Plus reviews of Birmingham Royal Ballet in Ruth Brill’s new Arcadia, Le Baiser de la fée, Pineapple Poll and Coppélia, Scottish Dance Theatre, the Natalia Kremen Ballet Foundation, Bat Out of Hell, YANK!, Alexander Whitley Dance Company in 8 Minutes, les ballets C de la B in nicht schlafen, Voices of the Amazon, Mithkal Alzghair’s Displacement, Dorrance Dance in ETM: Double Down

International reviews of Dutch National Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, National Ballet of Cuba in Paris, the Paris Opéra Ballet in Pierre Lacotte’s La Sylphide, the Dance Open Festival in St Petersburg, including Ekaterinburg Ballet, Perm Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company and the Polish National Ballet, LA Dance Project in New York, Royal Ballet Flanders in Pina Bausch, Martha Graham and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and the National Ballet of China

Plus news of Arts Council England funding, the new Nureyev ballet postponed at the Bolshoi, priority offers at MOVE IT and more

Education news of London Ballet Circle Bursary, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Dance School of the Year, National Youth Ballet, School of Ballet Theatre UK, Spanish Dance Society, Millennium Performing Arts, International Solo Dance Theatre Festival, Genée 2017 and Images Ballet Company

The August 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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