I often wonder what dance in the UK would be like without South America. This might sound far-fetched, but it’s worth remembering that Frederick Ashton, our greatest choreographer who did so much to distil what we now think of as the “British” style through the works he created on The Royal Ballet and other companies, experienced the artform for the first time in Lima, Peru, where the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova “injected him with her poison”. Throughout the 20th century, dances from the Latin American countries made a huge impact on the social dancing scene in Europe and North America, and where would we be now without the Argentine tango, the salsa, the cha cha cha or the samba?
The continent provides the world with some incredible dancers, and in this issue of Dancing Times we begin what I hope will eventually be a fuller exploration of dance originating from South America. Beginning with an interview with Thiago Soares, the Brazilian-born and trained principal of The Royal Ballet, we then continue to Argentina to look at South America’s oldest ballet company, the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. We look at tango as well.
I’m also delighted to launch this month a new regular column, Danza in Italia, in which Graham Spicer, the Milan-based writer, shares his views on the dance events taking place in Italy. I hope you enjoy it.
Jonathan Gray, Editor
Embracing change. Gerald Dowler meets The Royal Ballet principal Thiago Soares
A new spark. In the first of a two-part series about the ballet scene in Argentina, Fatima Nollen
looks at the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón
Tango connections. Marianka Swain talks tango movement and music with master Germán Cornejo