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December 2016 issue

Posted on November 30, 2016

This month, we look at Matthew Bourne’s new production The Red Shoes, meet Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt and explore the marketing of dance…

Art and love

red-shoes-grabZoë Anderson speaks to Matthew Bourne and cover star Ashley Shaw about The Red Shoes, the new production inspired by the Powell and Pressburger film

“I suppose the premise is whether you can be a great dancer and have a life as well,” Bourne says, laughing. “The more I’ve delved into it, I sort of agree with Lermontov…”

It’s a surprise to hear the relaxed Bourne compare himself to Anton Walbrook’s possessive impresario. “He’s quite similar to me, in some ways. In other ways, completely not! I’m not a very authoritarian figure. I’m much more friendly, with the dancers, but I do have that kind of – almost love affairs with dancers, in the sense that they are the people that I use to create what I want to do, and without them I can’t really do it. When they’re really good, and I love what they do, it’s like losing someone in your life who is very important. I think that’s his relationship with Vicky, really. A lot of people say, ‘Is he in love with her?’”

Bourne dismisses that: “He’s not in love with her in that way, he’s in love with what he can do with her, how she can help him achieve what he believes in, what he’s passionate about. I do have that relationship with people, have had, in the past – I still feel that.”

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Bright young things

aj-and-chloe-grabNicola Rayner hears from AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt, the young’s professional dancers ever to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing

The pair grew up watching the show. “It started when I was eight years old,” explains Chloe, “and I’ve always watched it. It’s always been a dream of mine to be on it… It’s quite surreal. There is a Strictly bubble, for sure, but it’s amazing to be a part of it and it’s been a whirlwind since we started. You go in on the first day of rehearsal and you’re looking at all these people that you’ve seen on TV, thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’ve watched you since I was really tiny.’”

 

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Another opening, another show

marketing-grabPaul Arrowsmith looks at how dance companies get us to buy tickets

Jan Teo, chief executive of Birmingham Royal Ballet, makes the perhaps surprising point that dance companies do not sell tickets themselves. She explains, “They are sold through our venues, with whom we must build collaborative partnerships. They know what works and understand the operational marketing techniques, seasonality and geographical factors. You cannot turn up once a year and expect an audience. We went back to the Bristol Hippodrome last June after 17 years’ absence but the theatre was ready with targeted marketing, postcode demographics, the timing of the campaign and distribution methods.”

…The forthcoming Dance Consortium tour is Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, beginning in February. Their most recent visit four years ago played ten venues, but the 2017 tour will include new theatres. “Repeat venues have an understanding of the company and their love of dancing together,” says Shereden Matthews, director of marketing agency Dressing Room 5. “For new destinations, we need to help them understand this is not the stereotype of Cuban heels and hats, so we have a split approach that will brand the company from scratch. We take marketing people from our venues to see companies perform in their home cities so they can appreciate their creativity where it is made. This was the case for the recent Alvin Ailey tour. That improves the quality of the direct marketing materials that the theatres here send out. It makes them so much more personal and real, conveying the emotions that the dancers embody. Audiences want to feel that connection.”

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Also in the December issue…

The Taglioni of horsewomen: Caitlyn Lehmann looks at the life of Camille Leroux, a horseback dance star of the 1840s

Jenny Veldhuis profiles Antwerp’s Royal Ballet School

Jeanette Andersen looks at older dancers on stage

Nicola Rayner reports on the 2016 International Championships

Neil Norman asks whatever happened to topical ballet?

Margaret Willis meets English National Ballet’ s Rina Kanehara, our Dancer of the Month

Zoë Anderson finds out about going dancing at Christmas

Tips on technique: James Whitehead’s advice for making an impact in Latin

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, on connection in ballroom

Simon Selmon explores the social side of social dance

Jack Reavely concludes his memories of dancer and judge Alex Warren

Fire! Debbie Malina on the role fire has played in theatre, from candlelight to conflagrations

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Plus news of National Dance Awards nominations, Scottish Ballet’s new season, Blackpool results, dance charity Make a Move, Will Tuckett’s Nutcracker cancelled, Laurent Hilaire, Roberta Marquez, Liam Scarlett and Nicholas Legat

Reviews of The Royal Ballet in Anastasia and Wayne McGregor, Dance Umbrella 2016, Ballet Theatre UK’s Romeo and Juliet, Jasmin Vardimon Company’s Pinocchio, Rambert in Contemporaries and The Creation, New English Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet in Akram Khan’s Giselle

International reviews of Jessica Lang at American Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet’s tribute to Zhanna Ayupova, Ballet Collective, Zürich Ballet, the Kremlin Gala, the Royal Swedish Ballet in a reconstruction of Bournonville’s Ponte Molle, Norwegian National Ballet in Balanchine, the Ballet of La Scala in Alexei Ratmansky’s Swan Lake

Reports from the Night of 100 Stars, the same sex dance Nordic Open previewed

Obituaries of Yvette Chauviré, Ellis Ann Rothenberg and Edward Griffiths

Media reviews of Zenaida Yanowsky in Elizabeth, bolero instruction DVDs from Hips on fire and more

Education news of Back to the Barre, Kenneth Tharp at Speaking to Schools, flamenco at Sadler’s Wells, Trinity Laban, Dance Proms and Step Live

 

The December 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

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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