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August 2022 issue

Posted on July 28, 2022

08 Cover August 2022 Crop

There is a Spanish theme – quite unintentionally – to this latest issue of Dancing Times. Not only do we report back on the most recent Flamenco Festival held at Sadler’s Wells in London in late June and early July this year, which presented a host of excellent dancers and companies, but we also hear from the Spanish ballerina Tamara Rojo, who steps down from her position as artistic director of English National Ballet later in the year in order to take up the role of artistic director of San Francisco Ballet. On a sadder note, in Obituaries we pay tribute to Marina Keet, one of the founders of the Spanish Dance Society, whose love of Spanish dance in all its forms made her a passionate advocate for the artform in this country and abroad – including Spain. 

Elsewhere in the magazine, we find out more about Artists Becoming, an institutional consulting business that seeks to elevate standards of wellbeing across the dance industry, and we consider the subject of relaxation and some of the techniques that can help bring the mind and body of the dancer back into balance. Finally, we also record the reunion of a long-lost company, London City Ballet.


Stirred, not shaken

Graham Watts interviews Tamara Rojo, artistic director of English National Ballet

12 15 Tamara Rojo August 2022“Rojo has both enjoyed praise and endured criticism during her decade at English National Ballet (ENB). I asked her to compare the company she is leaving with the one she joined in 2012 and she responded diplomatically: ‘I don’t want to undermine the work of my predecessors and I’m proud of what we have built together. Our move from Markova House to a new purpose-built home on London City Island has been an existential change that will propel the company forward. Without it we wouldn’t have survived the pandemic because we couldn’t have created new work in our old studios let alone make a whole digital season or bring the dancers back in a safe way under COVID-19 rules. I knew that having this building was a vital step forward artistically and financially, but I never imagined it would be key to our survival.’ 

“She also credits changes to the repertoire as her anticipated legacy at ENB, particularly ‘the great works by Akram Khan and giving opportunities to female choreographers.’ She believes that this has changed the conversation around what ballet can be. ‘It clarified our identity, nationally and internationally, and transformed ENB into a trailblazer, making it a company that others look to as a reference for what innovative ballet in the 21st century should be. This means there is already national and international touring in place for the next few years, which brings financial security that others can build upon.’”

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Repositioning the lens

Nicola Rayner speaks to Ann Yee, choreographer and movement director for South Pacific, which is at Sadler’s Wells this month

17 19 South Pacific August 2022South Pacific, which was based on James A Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Tales of the South Pacific, premiered on Broadway in 1949, not long, of course, after the conclusion of World War II and its horrors. Michener’s stories were based on his observations and anecdotes while stationed as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy at the Espiritu Santo Naval Base on the island now known as Vanuatu. The show was an immediate hit, but it’s a work that has divided opinion from its very beginnings. ‘There are so many big subjects, big ideas,’ says Yee. ‘There is gender, there is class, there is war, there is life and death, and murder. Emile – who is one of the main characters – admits to killing someone and running away from it. There are a lot of big ideas and one of the biggest ones, of course, is race and racism.’ 

“The subject is most famously tackled in the song ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught’. Yee reads me the lyrics over the phone: “‘You’ve got to be taught to be afraid / Of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade.” I’m based in Minneapolis,’ she says. ‘I was there during the murder of George Floyd, during the marches, and that line about “people whose skin is a different shade.’” She sighs. ‘Then the third verse always makes me cry. ‘You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late / Before you are six or seven or eight / To hate all the people your relatives hate / You’ve got to be carefully taught.” When you look at it like that, you think why isn’t everyone doing this piece?”

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Trusting their guts

Marianka Swain hears from professional Latin stars Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova

48 49 Troels and Ina August 2022“It’s been a remarkable few years for Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova. They turned disaster into triumph, emerging strongly from the pandemic and finally becoming Professional Latin Champions at last year’s Blackpool Dance Festival in September 2021. However, no sooner had they reached that career pinnacle, they were faced with an incredibly difficult decision about whether to attend the next British Championships because of the row over Blackpool Council’s application for competition trademarks – essentially threatening a major schism in the dance world.

“When I spoke to the pair in early May, they had just announced that they were boycotting. ‘It’s a sensitive topic because it’s still currently happening,’ notes Bager. ‘We based it on our love for dance. If we think about not just ourselves but future generations, we want to preserve this unique opportunity: competing against all the best dancers in the world.’”

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Also in the August issue…

Daniel Pratt finds out about Artists Becoming

Fátima Nollén attends the UK Tango Marathon and Championship

Graham Watts reviews the 2022 Flamenco Festival

Margaret Willis attends a reunion for London City Ballet 

Jamiel Laurence is inspired by the blossoming dance scene in Wales

James Whitehead on the topline

Barbara Newman sees two operatic love stories transformed into contemporary dance

Phil Meacham on making time stand still

Debbie Malina on how relaxation can help bring mind and body back into balance

Simon Selmon considers different approaches to teaching the Lindy hop 

Margaret Willis interviews Scottish Ballet’s Madeline Squire, our Dancer of the Month

Pete Meager reviews the Pink Jukebox Trophy

Leigh Witchel has a busy summer of performances in New York

Jack Reavely remembers a few of his favourite Scottish dance venues 

Laura Cappelle reports on dance festivals in Montpellier and Paris


08 Cover August 2022United Ukrainian Ballet to dance Giselle in London, New dancers on Strictly Come Dancing announced, Cira Robinson becomes new artistic director of Yorkshire Ballet Seminars, Capital Ballet at London’s the Cockpit, Blackpool Tower lights up for the IDTA; Reviews of live performances from American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, the Bavarian State Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, The Joffrey Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, New English Ballet Theatre, Queensland Ballet, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, Scottish Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin and ZooNation Youth Company; UK dance companies announce promotions, joiners and leavers; Marina Keet and Bob Lockyer remembered in Obituaries; Dance Books closes, summer dance on Marquee TV; New things to try in Products; Tring Park School, The Place, National Youth Ballet, English National Ballet School, Cecchetti Day 2022; Calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; Where to learn to dance in the UK; We look back to August 1982

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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