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August 2018 issue

Posted on July 26, 2018

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In the August 2018 issue, we mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Frederick Ashton, one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, with articles by Alastair Macaulay, Alex Simpkins and Iain Webb. We also hear from professional ballroom couple Warren and Kristi Boyce, Maryinsky ballerina Viktoria Tereshkina and more…


Ashton after Ashton

Alastair Macaulay looks at the legacy of the work of Frederick Ashton

“Six months before he died, I had asked Ashton how he felt about recent revivals of his classic Symphonic Variations (1946). He had replied ‘Well, it’s dead.’

“Yet he immediately went on to say ‘But they’ve got the steps right; and that’s important. Someone could come along and illuminate it.’ He did not, however, hold out much hope as he said so. As he knew, most choreographic creations are fragile. Even some of the works that seemed most indestructible and cast-proof can fade for one reason or another. With a shrug, he thought that people might still go on dancing La Fille mal gardée in years to come. About the survival of others, he was sceptical.

“Yet he was proved right about Symphonic Variations years after his death. The first company I saw fulfil his words was American Ballet Theatre in 1992. There have been finer revivals since then: both by that company in New York and by The Royal Ballet in London…”

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Keeping it in the family

Warren and Kristi Boyce, who hold the records for wins at the British National and UK Closed Professional Ballroom Championships, tell Nicola Rayner about their decision to retire from competitive life at Blackpool this year…

“‘For this particular Blackpool, we trained harder than ever,’ says Warren, ‘but on top of that it became really very difficult because Glenn [their son Glenn-Richard Boyce, a record-breaking dance champion in his own right] was studying for his GCSEs at the same time. I helped him with his revision for the first exam and after he’d taken it, he said, ‘You never guess what? The question you asked me – exactly that one – came up.’

“It was that moment I thought: crikey, I could really help him to the next level and I’ll be failing as a father if I don’t do this. So throughout the crazy training schedule during May I was also revising until 1am or 2am with Glenn. We did that because education is super-important as well as dancing…”

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Letter from St Petersburg

Igor Stupnikov speaks to the Maryinsky Ballet’s Viktoria Tereshkina…

“IS: It is considered that if a ballerina has Giselle in her repertoire she can’t do Kitri in Don Quixote. You do both.

“VT: I think a ballerina should not be ‘omnivorous’. Honestly, some of the roles in my repertoire are not quite mine, Aurora [in The Sleeping Beauty] among them. The young princess is reminiscent of a fragile porcelain figurine and my stature is quite different. Sometimes I have to struggle with a role to adapt it to my physical abilities and penetrate into its inner world. As to Giselle, well, the role is a problem for me, but I love it so much that I’ll never quit it. After all, Giselle is not a princess, and a country girl may be of any stature and height…”

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Also in the August issue…

In part three of her series on dance in Brazil, Fátima Nollen looks at Grupo Corpoand the São Paolo Companhía de Dança

Alex Simpkins on Frederick Ashton as choreographic innovator

In the final instalment of his series of Soviet ballet from 1924 to 1941, Gerald Dowler looks at “ballet fraud”, the attack on the ballet The Bright Stream

Alison Gallagher-Hughes reports on ballroom online

Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Vanessa Vince-Pang is our AugustDancer of the Month

Latin coach Barbara Nagode Ambrož tells Nicola Rayner about going back to the roots of Cuban dance

Talking point: Iain Webb, director of Sarasota Ballet, remembers Frederick Ashton

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain on the first Norwegian Equality Open

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on slow foxtrot

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham on good foundations

Swing dance: Simon Selmon sees a world record attempt

Jack Reavely learns from some great champions of the 1950s

Dancing down the wicket: Debbie Malina on the relationship between cricket and dance

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Plus news of Tanztheater Wuppertal, dance at the Edinburgh Fringe, Mark Morris Dance Group UK tour, Brighton Tap Festival, Greenwich Dance, Southbank Centre’s Unlimitedfestival, Balanchine celebrated at New York City Center, Matthew Ball

Reviews of Birmingham International Dance Festival, Ignition Dance Festival, Dresden Semperoper Ballett in William Forsythe, Ballet Theatre UK’s Ten Year Anniversary Gala, Opera North’s Kiss Me, Kate, The King and I, Nederlands Dans Theater in Crystal Pite, Noh Reimagined, Neil and Katya Jones

International reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet in Paris, the Paris Opéra Ballet in La Fille mal gardée, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote at La Scala, Alexei Ratmansky’s Harlequinade for American Ballet Theatre, Madboots Dance, Sean Dorsey Dance, Hong Kong Ballet, a tribute to Jerome Robbins at Les Etés de la danse

Obituaries of Gillian Lynne and Colin Ross

Education news of The Royal Ballet School, Rambert School, Images Ballet Company, Anna Du Boisson’s West London School of Dance


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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