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Stamping on Flamenco: Barbara Newman sees Rocío Molina

The most interesting thing about Rocío Molina is her dancing. You might expect that from any attraction in London’s Dance Umbrella, but Molina has decided to upend traditional flamenco and give it a new slant, the sort of decision that usually requires a lot of explaining and extensive programme notes. Unlike many contemporary choreographers, however, […]

Restless Creature

Daniel Pratt sees a documentary film about Wendy Whelan “You know I’ve sat at this spot for 23 years?” Wendy Whelan opens the film Restless Creature looking into a mirror whilst applying stage make-up. Her frank, wise and intimate tone presages much about this moving documentary that charts the last months of her classical career […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 4

No theme this week, thank the Strictly gods, unless you count the tidal wave of emotion that saw a nation reaching for more Kleenex. If an overcome Alexandra wishing her late mother could have seen her 10s-scoring jive didn’t get you, how about Jonnie’s shoutout to the surgeon who saved his life, or Susan acing […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 3

Ah, Movie Week, AKA Can You Remotely Recognise The Dance Under Ten Layers of Theming Week. This was no exception – I had to keep checking my notes to see which dance was supposedly being represented. Also: Trolls. I’m just leaving that there. Worse, theme weeks tend to exacerbate judging inconsistency, with the producers’ choices […]

A new chapter in Cuban dance

Fourteen dancers, five dances, two hours. That’s what it took for Acosta Danza to make its UK debut at Sadler’s Wells, packing the house as it nailed its colours to the mast for all to see. Founded in 2015 to develop Cuba’s dance talent, supported by the Cuban government and international assistance, and now with […]

Strictly Speaking – Week 2

Oh dear. A few highlights and redemptive dances aside, Strictly seemed to have the Week 2 Blues: an error-strewn performance show with bizarre scoring followed by a sad first exit. I doubt Chizzy would have lasted too long in the competition, but I’d have liked to see a few dances from her – and Brian […]

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 1

And we’re off! Strictly Come Dancing Series 15 began its competitive shows with a marathon episode that gave viewers at home a little competition of their own: posterior versus seat. Still, squeezing all the couples into one programme did mean minimal faff and filler, and a good chance to assess a promising crop of celebs. […]

Reflections on life after dance

Back in July, I found myself in good company at a trendy event space overlooking crepuscular Shoreditch. My job has allowed me to rub shoulders with guests at glamorous occasions, but this evening was significant because it was my first interaction with Dancers’ Career Development (DCD), and I was swapping stories and clinking glasses with […]

Strictly Speaking 2017: The Launch

Marianka Swain introduces the contestants… Welcome back, dance fans! Doesn’t everything feel great and not at all like the End of Days?! Honestly, Series 15 of Strictly Come Dancing could not have come at a better time, bringing sparkle, humour and warmth to combat the, er, Biblical plagues and imminent nuclear annihilation… Not that it […]

Shakespeare’s Legacy by Barbara Newman

Ashton retold A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 70 minutes. Balanchine slipped the narrative into one act and filled the second with pure dancing. John Neumeier dressed the lovers in sleek silvery unitards and the mechanicals as circus clowns. The greatest artworks open themselves to infinite interpretations, which is why choreographers keep reinventing Shakespeare’s plays. No […]

Old Ways Going Forward

In July 2016’s Dancing Times, Dominic Antonucci wrote about dancers on holiday, so in the spirit of summer, this month my own vacation to Italy is my starting point. It was the first time I had visited the country, but amongst much fun, photo-taking and pasta-eating, my mind didn’t stray too far from ballet. Associated […]

Protest and Provocation by Barbara Newman

Take off most of your clothes, paint your body white, and move as if you’re drugged or hypnotised or a ghost or a dream. The art of butoh often involves all these things, along with extremely slow and highly controlled movement, playful and despairing moods, hands cramped into claws and grotesque positions. This indefinable dance-theatre […]

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