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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 […]

Music Notes by Barbara Newman

Pictured: les ballets C de la B in nicht schlafen. Photographs: Chris Van der Burght. 1. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker/Rosas in Rain at Sadler’s Wells In Lucinda Childs’ Melody Excerpt, created in 1977 and seldom if ever revived now, the dancers’ feet in trainers supplied the only music. Grouped in varying combinations, the five performers […]

Travelling to see Miami City Ballet           

In the summer, our thoughts turn to the holidays, but I had something of my own busman’s holiday back in March when I went to see Miami City Ballet performing for one night only in a south Florida town called Naples. It was a Tuesday night, the drive took two hours, and I’d had a […]

Something Old, Something New

A distinguished dance critic once declared she never wanted to see Swan Lake again. If the statement strikes you as extreme, don’t forget there are lots of fish in the sea, and it’s often more fun to reel in a fresh one than to catch what you expect. The spring season landed new winners, new […]

Daniel Pratt considers how technology can be beneficial to ballet

I’m plundering conversations I’ve had this month to reflect on technology; I want to begin a dialogue about its potential within dance. The application of new technology within dance medicine is increasingly documented, and progress in more sophisticated lighting and stage techniques affords creative teams a broader palette to paint from, but is technology transforming […]

Barbara Newman on cultural identity

Suddenly, the most engaging dances around deal with cultural identity and immigration, the same topics that fill newspaper headlines. In 2015, Shobana Jeyasingh conceived Material Men to display two performers and their specialised talents – Shailesh Bahoran’s for hip hop, Sooraj Subramaniam’s for Bharata Natyam. Enlarging the original piece to absorb a slice of history, […]