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August 2021 issue

Posted on July 26, 2021

08 Cover August

It’s too early to know, just yet, what impact “Freedom Day”, on July 19, may have had on dance in the UK. From that date onwards, people were no longer required to socially distance themselves from others, and were also free not to wear face-coverings if they chose not to. Theatres, restaurants, pubs and clubs could open at full capacity again, which also meant dance schools and studios could begin to operate “normally”. Is all this too much, too soon? In this issue of Dancing Times, Nicola Rayner hears from ballroom, Latin American and partner dance teachers – whose businesses have perhaps been the hardest hit within the dance industry during the pandemic – on how they were planning to “get back to normal”, if indeed they were. Additionally, Ginny Brown of the ISTD offers an antidote to teaching dance in a digital world. We also find out what live dance events are being planned for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. 

Exploring other areas of dance in a post-pandemic world, Daniel Pratt asks how much the dance industry will protect its artists in his Talking Point column, and on page 22 Matthew Paluch looks at queer representation in ballet. All topics that are food for thought.

Right as rain

Faye Tozer speaks to Nicola Rayner about reprising her role as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain

3bbc2a09 bf5f e03f 957d 7afc788f0ff4‘“Lina has all these amazing one-liners,” Tozer enthuses. “There are so many different layers to her and she goes through such a big, big journey. She’s a monster made by the industry that she’s grown up in. She’s fighting for survival within the industry and then finds out she’s not that thing any more. She’s beautiful and gorgeous and perfect for the silent movies, but she just doesn’t have the voice to carry through to the talkies.”’ 

“That’s a compassionate way to look at her. ‘When I was discovering who my Lina would be, when I first started learning about her all those years ago, I really had to learn to love her and understand where she was coming from. I think lots of people see her as a superficial diva who everyone has to control, but actually she’s a victim of the times, so that’s how I play my Lina.’”

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Keep dancing

Ginny Brown, chief executive of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, offers an antidote to a digital world

19 21 ISTD August“It is estimated that there are 15,000 dance teachers in the UK who prepare students for graded examinations. They mainly operate outside statutory education and make a significant contribution to cultural provision in their local area. By connecting these dance teachers with their local primary and secondary schools we can support dance teaching in schools and build progression routes for children and young people who are motivated to continue dancing beyond the school day. Towards this end, the ISTD is supporting teachers to broaden access to dance through training and financial support to seed fund innovative projects. Thanks to a grant from a Cultural Recovery Fund, this June the Society offered an intensive training programme structured to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to reach beyond their current students. Angela Boshoff, a course participant, reflected: ‘I have more confidence now to move my work into the community. At a time in my career when I was feeling a bit lost, this has reignited my passion and love for what I do, reminded me of how important the work is and how precious the gift of dance can be.’”

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Queering ballet

Matthew Paluch looks at queer representation in ballet

22 25 Queering ballet August“An equally important voice is that of choreographer and director Christopher Rudd. As a Black, gay male creative, Rudd was commissioned by ABT to create Touché, a duet for Calvin Royal III and João Menegussi, which premiered as a dance film in November 2020. A work about gay male love danced by two gay dancers, it affected me deeply – understandably so, as I hadn’t seen anything like it before. Something that communicated my understanding of love through dance so literally is a sign of true art, namely when the medium almost becomes irrelevant as the intention is so clear and purposeful.” 

“This kind of work should be more readily commissioned, given a platform and experienced by those it represents, but why have we had to wait so long? Why does this kind of artistic discussion/creativity seem to be happening mainly in the US? When will representation find its way to all the audiences waiting for it? As essential as the work is, it’s the established American Ballet Theatre platform that enabled it to reach so many. Take heed board members and artistic managements in the UK and Europe; in fact, take action. We are watching and waiting.”

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Also in the August issue…

Zoë Anderson previews the 2021 Edinburgh International Festival

Daniel Pratt asks how much will dance protect its artists in a post-pandemic world

Nicola Rayner hears some thoughts on Freedom Day from teachers of ballroom, Latin American and partner dancing

James Whitehead explores authenticity and commitment on the dance floor

Gerald Dowler highlights the history of International Ballet

Phil Meacham asks whisk? What whisk?

Barbara Newman reviews Hairspray

Simon Selmon introduces Marcus Koch and Bärbl Kaufer

Pete Meager talks to Ray Batchelor about his book Queer Tango Futures

Laura Cappelle sees the Paris Opéra Ballet in Romeo and Juliet and works by Roland Petit

Jack Reavely remembers footwork on the dance floor

Graham Spicer watches the Ballet of La Scala, Milan, on television and in the theatre

Igor Stupnikov attends the graduation performance of the Vaganova Academy

Margaret Willis interviews Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Natalie Alleston

Debbie Malina looks at dance in the animal kingdom


08 Cover August webNational Dance Awards 2020, Scottish Ballet to dance Gene Kelly’s Pas de Dieux, Autumn shows at Sadler’s Wells, Ballet Workshop launched at The Cockpit, Dance in the Park 2021, &Juliet returns to the West End, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, new company directors named in Canada, Germany, Mexico and Switzerland, new dancers on Strictly Come Dancing; reviews of live performances in Dance Scene International from the Bavarian State Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Breakin’ Convention, English National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Theatre-Rites; Lucette Aldous, Olga Moiseyeva, Elizabeth Souritz and Donald York remembered in Obituaries; New books, CDs and DVDs; win David Bowie in Just a Gigolo on Blu-ray disc; New things to try in Products; Graduation performances from English National Ballet School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance reviewed, Rudra Béjart School Lausaane suspends classes, London Children’s Ballet auditions, finalists of the Royal Academy of Dance’s Fonteyn competition announced; calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; we look back to August 1981

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

Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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