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February 2015 issue

Posted on January 30, 2015

square feb

square-febOur February 2015 issue is here! We believe it’s our largest in our 105-year history: 124 pages of interviews, features, reviews, news and debate, with Cira Robinson of Ballet Black as our cover star. We speak to dance names including Vadim Muntagirov of The Royal Ballet, choreographer Richard Alston, dancer and designer Yumiko Takeshima, report from dance schools around the world, review performances and more…






It couldn’t be better

vadim grabVadim Muntagirov, who left English National Ballet (ENB) for The Royal Ballet last year, tells Zoë Anderson about his choices and about life at his new company…

“I wanted more challenges. Here at The Royal Ballet, the ballets change quite fast: sometimes you perform one in the evening, and rehearse two more the next day. That’s what I like. It’s not easy, it’s very hard, but because I’m still quite young, I don’t feel I should be in a company where I’m relaxed, settled down. I felt I wasn’t really moving forward with ENB – stuck with The Nutcracker for half a year.

“Plus, Tamara [Rojo, ENB’s director] didn’t really let me go to other companies much. I had everything with Wayne Eagling, our previous director at ENB – he let me go and dance everywhere. Even with ENB’s schedule, I could still see other companies around the world and dance other ballets. Since the director changed, it was different. I just thought, it’s time. It happened quite fast. Two hours! I had a meeting with Kevin [O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet] and in two hours I was changing in a different changing room.”


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Stitches from steps

yumiko-grabFormer Dutch National Ballet (DNB) principal Yumiko Takeshima has launched a second career as a dancewear and costume designer, with her designs appearing in the studio, in ballets by choreographers such as David Dawson and William Forsythe and in the movie Black Swan. She speaks to David Mead:

“Takeshima’s family had a kimono shop started by her great-grandfather, and she says she always loved being around the beautiful material. It was after spotting some stretch fabric in a store that she decided to make a leotard. ‘I ran home to try and make something. It was really difficult. It took me three days! I think it was pretty bad, actually,’ she laughs, but when she wore it to class, dancers started asking if she could make one for them too…”

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Always learning

alston-grabAs Richard Alston Dance Company celebrates its 20th anniversary, Richard Alston speaks about discovery, music and working with a new generation of dancers:

“So what does he look for in new dancers? ‘The work is not easy, so I have to have a certain kind of technical skill. I’ve learned over the years that you can’t shortcut that. You can’t say, “This person’s really, really interesting, but they can’t do that“, because in the end, not doing that does get in the way. What I look for, what I need, are dancers who internalise music. I call it singing with the body…

‘I think you can look at my company and see that I don’t want everyone to look the same. The best thing that people say, on tour, about my company, is that they look like ten really good friends. They look like people who want to dance together.’”

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Also in the February issue…

Designer Richard Hudson tells Paul Arrowsmith about recreating Léon Bakst’s designs for The Sleeping Beauty, for Alexei Ratmansky’s new production for American Ballet Theatre

Laura Dodge reports from The Royal Ballet School’s Focus on Creativity seminars

Maggie Foyer visits the New Zealand School of Dance

Margaret Willis interviews Oihana Vesga Bujan of Richard Alston Dance Company

Graham Watts says “We are all Charlie”, exploring freedom of expression in dance

We preview MOVE IT, the UK’s biggest dance event

Zoë Anderson previews Northern Ballet’s new Romeo and Juliet

Debbie Malina looks at collaborations between dance and science


Plus news of the BBC’s Year of Dance and Song, The Tales of Hoffmann in cinemas, opportunities for artists at The Point, Eastleigh and Phoenix Dance Theatre, major gifts from the Merce Cunningham Trust and a chance to win tickets to see Birmingham Royal Ballet; reviews of ZooNation Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, English National Ballet (including guest star Ivan Vasiliev and the farewell performance of ballerina Elena Glurdjidze), Arthur Pita’s The Little Match Girl, The Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, principals and soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, An American in Paris, the Maryinsky Ballet, Meredith Monk, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; obituaries of Derek Rencher, Brian Macdonald, Sitara, Stephen Speed and John Chesworth; reviews of dance books and DVDs and more!

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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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