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Strictly Speaking: Week 7

Happy halfway mark, Strictly watchers! I can normally tell we’ve reached this stage because I’m genuinely surprised to see some of the celebrities in the opening titles. Was Katie McGlynn really in this season? Or poor Robert Webb? It feels like years ago already. Yet the sheer talent of some of these contestants also makes […]

Mapping intimacy

Barbara Newman sees Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell and Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project Have you noticed that nobody imitates Matthew Bourne? Choreographers don’t hesitate to produce their own take, respectful or not, on Martha Graham or Pina Bausch. With an affectionate nod to Jerome Robbins, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo neatly skewered Dances […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 6

Have I just lowered my expectations so much that we’ve hit 3,000 feet below sea level, or was this Halloween show actually… kind of bearable? Yes, there were some horrendous dressing-up elements (we’re coming to that opening pro number shortly, and the ridiculously overmarked lobsters), but also several brilliant dances that not only survived the […]

English National Ballet’s Creature

Does anyone understand what happens in Creature, Akram Khan’s new ballet for English National Ballet? I know I wasn’t the only person it confused. On the bus after the performance, my guest said to me, “Well, we know she was raped,” and the woman sitting behind us, a complete stranger, leaned forward and added, “And […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 5

Well that’s more like it. After a rather exhausted, grouchy hangover show last week, Strictly was back on form with several really impressive routines, a scattering of 10s, a new bread-based-ography, and the judges wandering idly down memory lane. The race to the final is still too close to call, even if it felt like […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 4

Ah, the theme week hangover. Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing was very much the bleary, old contact lenses stuck to eyelids, two Alka-Seltzers dissolved in ginger ale, nibbling at cold leftover pizza while moaning softly morning-after to Movie Week’s night of ecstatic clubbing. No one was dishing out points for mistakes. Craig all but set his […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 3

Ah, Strictly theme weeks: synonymous with high drama, rampant scoring inflation, and a heady mix of glamour and the dredges of a three-year-old’s dressing-up box. This Movie Week was no exception: we got 10s; we got tears; and we got costumes that are so psychologically scarring that they will actually be the last thing I […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 2

Welcome to the Thunderdome! Week 1 was all pats on the back for even finding your way into the studio; now, the real Strictly judging begins. Well, sort of. Once again, we found our panel in a mercurial mood, dishing out everything from 3s to 9s with the whimsy of a giggling child dictator. Most […]

Strictly Speaking: Week 1

We’re off! This opener had everything we love about Strictly: dance, drama and dance-drama; a bewildering costume lottery; Tess patronising people to within an inch of their lives; scoring that began sane and then descended into utter chaos; and, most important, contestants we’d never heard of before this claiming a place in our hearts.  On […]

Strictly Speaking: Launch show

Marianka Swain introduces the Class of 2021 Hurrah, we’re back! Hello, fellow Strictly watchers – I’m so glad that our Saturday nights are sparkly once more. The show really got me through the darkness of winter 2020 and it promises to be a joy again, this time with a full run, a cast of 15 […]

Brave New World? 

It isn’t unusual to feel reflective at the start of a new year, but as winter 2020 turns into spring 2021, I’m feeling more pensive than I have in recent years. I’ve written before in the pages of Dancing Times about how lucky I am to be living a dancing life that, though adapted, is […]

Strictly Speaking: The final

What an extraordinary end to the series. The Strictly final aired just hours after Boris Johnson made his latest screeching u-turn, announcing that millions of people would have to cancel their festive plans and spend Christmas separated from loved ones. Could our dance show, which has been an escapist haven during a grim, dark winter, […]

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