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December 2018 Dancing Times

Posted on November 28, 2018

12 DT December 2018 Crop

The cover star for December 2018, which is also our 1300th issue, is The Royal Ballet’s Matthew Ball as The Swan in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, a role he will be dancing at Sadler’s Wells until the end of January 2019. Matthew Ball is also featured in a three-page interview inside the magazine, and we also talk to Strictly Come Dancing’s Faye Tozer, ballet superstar Marcelo Gomes and Rambert’s Sharia Johnson. Also this month, we look at recovering from injury, report back on the ballroom and Latin American finals of The International held at the Royal Albert Hall, and find out more about the dance scene in Mexico.

Fast Forward

Gerald Dowler talks to Matthew Ball about his life as a dancer

“I met Matthew Bourne some time ago at the National Dance Awards and had a bit of a ‘fan moment’ when I told him how much Swan Lake meant to me when I was growing up. My mum taught dance and it was on the curriculum, and so I watched the video countless times. It’s a role that has always been close to my heart, so, when almost a year ago, having seen me perform in Men in Motion, Matthew asked if I was interested in the role. I replied immediately ‘definitely!’ He wanted me away from The Royal Ballet for six months, but I said I didn’t think I could take that much time out, and that was before I knew I was going to be promoted!

“Thankfully, Matt was keen to make it work, so we agreed on these two months and other dates when I can make myself available. It’s an amazing opportunity to take a brief step off the path that I have been on since the age of 11, to work with different people and have a different experience, which I’m sure will feed into the work I will continue to do here.”

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One step at a time

 Nicola Rayner interviews Faye Tozer about her experience on Strictly Come Dancing this year

“It’s early November when I speak to Faye Tozer and she’s just delivered one of the standout routines of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing – her wonderful theatre jazz performance in Halloween Week. Yet when I ask if she and Giovanni Pernice have started to think about their showdance for the final, she won’t have any of it. ‘Oh my goodness, that’s presumptuous: I haven’t even thought about it,’ she laughs. ‘I’m taking it week by week.’

“Of course, she’s right. By the time you read this in December, anything could have happened – after all, Strictly loves a shock elimination – but one imagines that Faye will be safe, having delivered a series of consistently excellent performances on the dance floor, with a modest, likeable manner off it.”

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Unexpected benefits

Natasha Rogai catches up with Marcelo Gomes, the former principal with American Ballet Theatre

“You can’t help noticing a certain wistfulness when Gomes talks about his years with American Ballet Theatre. He loved the experience of being a ‘homegrown’ dancer and the way, ‘you can work towards a ballet for three or four weeks as a group, go on stage and then the curtain comes down and we can all say “we did it!”’

“Nonetheless, his freelance career is proving ‘more fulfilling’ than he’d expected and he’s relishing the freedom of being able to choose what, when and where to dance as well as explore how different companies work. As a guest, he makes an effort to get to know the other dancers, ‘so we can all be telling the same story. That goes a really long way instead of ‘insert dancer here’”.

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 Also in the December issue…

Laura Dodge gives a personal insight into the mental and physical challenges of injury

Michael Crabb travels to Banff and Oslo to observe the fascinating evolution of a fresh look at Hamlet

Lee Knights discovers the roots of Cuban dance

Debbie Malina takes a look at the connections between dance and royalty

Fátima Nollén looks at Ballet Folklórico de Mexico Amalia Hernández

Rambert’s Sharia Johnson is our December Dancer of the Month

Nicola Rayner reports on the final night of the International Championships from London Royal Albert Hall

Amelia Ideh calls for greater recognition and opportunities for black dance artists in the UK

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on the quickstep

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham on grooming for dancers

Simon Selmon wonders whether swing dance died of natural causes, or was it pushed?

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain reports on the 12th Vienna Dance Contest

Jack Reavely remembers ballroom couple Bobby Henderson and Eileen Henshall

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News of The Royal Ballet’s Francesca Hayward and Steven McRae in Cats, a Dancewear Central bundle giveaway, the Hip Hop Dance Awards, Boston Ballet’s support for female choreographers, the Bolshoi Ballet in London, Strictly Come Dancing celebrities in Rip it Up, Autism with Attitude, win £150 in Theatre Tokens, Ann Hutchinson Guest’s 100th birthday celebrations, Thiago Soares’ film Primeiro Bailarino

Reviews of Dance Umbrella 2018, The Royal Ballet in Mayerling and La Bayadère, Jasmin Vardimon Company in Medusa, Tap Dogs, Ballet Cymru in A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs, Rambert2 at Sadler’s Wells, Mark Morris Dance Group in Layla and Majnun, Chinese National Peking Opera, and Company in the West End

International reviews of Queensland Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, Zürich Ballet, Ballet du Capitole, Ballet Nice Méditerranée, Royal Danish Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin in Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of La Bayadère, Paris Opéra Ballet in a tribute to Jerome Robbins, The Mikhailovsky Ballet, and new works by New York City Ballet

Obituaries of Cecilia Barrett, Mary Munro, Christine Woodward

Education news of the Elmhurst Ballet Company, Tap Attack, National Youth Ballet, the Spanish Dance Society, Royal Academy of Dance, and Chisenhale Dance Space

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



Jonathan Gray is editor of Dancing Times. He studied at The Royal Ballet School, Leicester Polytechnic, and Wimbledon School of Art where he graduated with a BA Hons in Theatre Design. For 16 years he was a member of the curatorial department of the Theatre Museum, London, assisting on a number of dance-related exhibitions, and helping with the recreation of original designs for a number of The Royal Ballet’s productions including Danses concertantes, Daphnis and Chloë, and The Sleeping Beauty. He has also contributed to the Financial Times, written programme articles for The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, and is co-author of the book Unleashing Britain: Theatre gets real 1955-64, published in 2005.

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