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February 2018 issue

Posted on January 25, 2018

This month, we look at dance in and from South America. Our cover star, The Royal Ballet’s Brazilian-born principal Thiago Soares, gives a frank interview about his career, while we report on the ballet scene in Argentina and speak to tango master Germán Cornejo. This month also sees a new regular column on dance in Italy, a look at relaxed performances, interviews with choreographer Mark Bruce and Strictly Come Dancing professional Giovanni Pernice…

 

 

 

 

Embracing change

Thiago Soares tells Gerald Dowler about the next stage of his career, with The Royal Ballet and beyond

“Thiago Soares: I’m approaching a new phase in my career. I’m now 37 and my repertoire is changing. The challenge is to find a different direction artistically while still preserving elements of what I have done and who I have been until now…

“It takes a lot of conversations to sort it out – I have been able to talk to Kevin O’Hare [director of The Royal Ballet], who has been through what I am going through, to map out what can and can’t be in the next stage for me… The current process of change for me is planned – I have a say in [which roles he dances] and this is my decision as well…

“There are roles I can still do, as long as I am well prepared and not in pain, which, to be honest, after about 36 or 37 becomes a big concern. Then there are those parts that, if I had two months to build up to, I could do, but I’m aware that I’m part of a large company with younger generations of dancers lining up for them. At this stage, I feel I have to do what still means something to me and gets me out of bed!”

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Everyone welcome

Zoë Anderson looks at relaxed performances

“‘A relaxed performance is welcoming for everyone,’ explains Catrin Sheridan, learning and participation coordination coordinator at the Festival and King’s Theatres in Edinburgh. ‘They may have visual impairments, sensory impairments, additional needs, or they may just not be able to go – or want to go – to our regular programming. Anything that stops people coming to see or take part in our theatre is something that we want to work on, try to remove, make more accessible.’

“More and more dance companies are working to lower those barriers. This month, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) will give its first relaxed performance of The Sleeping Beauty at Birmingham Hippodrome. The performance is open to everyone, but is particularly focused for people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder…

“Beyond any technical changes, the attitude of the venue is vital. ‘The biggest thing that makes a difference is our front of house teams making sure that our audience knows they are welcome,’ Sheridan says. ‘However they want to experience the show, we’re there to support them in that. We’re happy for them to move around, make noise, come in and out. Really pushing that home is the thing that we get the best feedback about. We’ve found that often our patrons and our audiences almost apologise for being there. They apologise for friends and family moving and making noise, and that’s not what we want at all…’”

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A born winner

Giovanni Pernice and Debbie McGee will go down in Strictly Come Dancing history as a partnership to remember. Pernice speaks to Nicola Rayner

“Would he say he is competitive? ‘Well, yes,’ he laughs. ‘One hundred per cent. I always say: you don’t need to win, but you need to make your mark so people remember you. That’s my goal in life.’

“…Another standout memory for Pernice was the paso doble in Week One [of Strictly Come Dancing]. ‘That was the moment when I thought something was going on,’ he says. Did Debbie surprise him? ‘She definitely surprised me,’ he smiles. ‘Who would have thought that a lady of 59 years of age could dance like that? I’ve been dancing for 20 years now and I’ve done it all over the world – I’ve seen people of that age dance nicely, but Debbie was something else…’”

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Also in the February issue…

In his new regular column, Graham Spicer reports on dance in Italy

Chase Johnsey tells Graham Watts about his decision to resign from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

 In the first of a two-part series about ballet in Argentina, Fatima Nollen reports on the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón

Beauty in darkness: Mark Bruce tells David Mead about his new dance production of Macbeth

Marianka Swain talks tango movement and music with Germán Cornejo

Cordelia Braithewaite of New Adventures is our February Dancer of the Month

Sitting in judgement: Alison Gallagher-Hughes joins the panel for Strictly Stafford

Akademi’s Mira Kaushik tells Zoë Anderson about The Troth, choreographed by Gary Clarke

MOVE IT 2018 – we introduce MOVE IT PRO, the dance show’s programme for teachers and professionals

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain on the new documentary Hot to Trot

Dance health: Debbie Malina reports on the risk of extreme workouts

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on floorcraft in foxtrot

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham answers a reader’s question on rumba

Simon Selmon argues that technique shouldn’t become a barrier to social dance enjoyment

Jack Reavely remembers the golden age of ballroom

 

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Plus news of resignations and retirements over misconduct allegations, new season at Stuttgart Ballet, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Siobhan Davies Dance, SICK! Commissions, National Dance Company Wales

Reviews of Project Polunin’s Satori, The Royal Ballet’s Sylvia with Natalia Osipova, English National Ballet in The Nutcracker, Song of the Earth and La Sylphide, New Adventures in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Ballet Theatre UK in The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall, Resolution 2018,

International reviews of the Ballet of La Scala in La Dame aux camélias, La Scala’s Ballet Academy in The Nucracker, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in The Taming of the Shrew, Don Quixote at the Paris Opéra Ballet, the Diaghilev PS festival in St Petersburg, including Wayne McGregor, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulrike Quade Company and Ballet de Lorraine, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Sarasota Ballet in John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker, Kader Belarbi’s new Nutcracker for Ballet du Capitole, Bavarian State Ballet’s Don Quixote

Obituaries of Adam Darius, Karin von Aroldingen, Tamara Nijinsky

Education news of KS Dance, Ballet Central, Ballet West, Chelsea Ballet Schools, West London School of Dance, World Tap Championships, Harvard movement and cognition conference, Cecchetti Legacy Committee

 

The February 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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