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January 2018 issue

Posted on December 19, 2017

Slideshow Jan18

We start the New Year with a look at a new exhibition on the pop group ABBA, which has just opened at London’s Southbank Centre. Also in this issue, we meet English National Ballet’s new lead principal Aaron Robison, look at the Royal Academy of Dance’s Project B, which aims to get more boys interested in ballet, and more. Our cover stars are 2017’s Strictly Come Dancing winners, Joe McFadden and Katya Jones, and this issue also features our blogger Marianka Swain’s look back at the latest series…




Thank you for the music

Marianka Swain explores a new exhibition celebrating ABBA

“It’s musical magic: without fail, ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ fills the floor at any event, and with every generation. Even the Queen is reportedly a fan. So just why are the Swedish mega-band’s hits so enduring, and what fuelled their original success?

“There are plenty of answers at London’s Southbank Centre, where immersive exhibition ABBA: Super Troupers puts their work back in its original 1970s context. ‘We wanted to do this as if we were telling a brand new story,’ explains exhibition coordinator Madeleine Lynch. ‘It came about as part of the Nordic Matters Festival, our year-long celebration of [Scandinavian] art and culture. That provided an opportunity to work with Entertainment Exhibitions International and the ABBA Museum in Stockholm, so we’ve found a way to chart ABBA’s work and legacy in a really interesting way: incorporating original archive material – like costumes, photographs and instruments – into a theatrical context.’

“That means plunging visitors directly into the world of ABBA…”

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Where the boys are

Daniel Pratt takes a look at the Royal Academy of Dance’s Project B

“‘Don’t put up any barriers… there will be enough of them later on’, says Iain Mackay resolutely, when I talk to him about the Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD’s) new initiative, Project B. The Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) principal has taken on an inspiring role as RAD male dance ambassador, teaching and choreographing as part of the Academy’s aim to widen access for dance to boys. In 2020, the RAD will be 100 years old and to mark the milestone, it is ambitiously striving to bring dance to more people in more places. Project B is an important part of the RAD’s celebratory initiatives, for which it is investing £30,000 over three years to support this focus on boys’ ballet…”

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Fighting fit

New Year’s resolutions hanging over your head? Fear not – these dance classes make fitness fun, says Marianka Swain

“It’s the annual January promise: healthy diet, more sleep and, of course, a new fitness regime. If dragging yourself to the gym is a chore, and you’ve got no desire to join the running brigade, try dancing instead.

“Concentrating on learning a skill, and enjoying putting it together with music, means you’re thinking less about how much your thighs are burning. Plus there are now so many different classes to choose from, you’ll easily find something that suits you – and which targets the areas you need to work on physically…

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Also in the January issue…

Strictly Speaking: Marianka Swain, our Strictly Come Dancing blogger, gives her take on Series 15

Dance forward: Jonathan Gray reports from the 50th anniversary performances of the New Zealand School of Dance

Robert Greskovic reports on a new exhibition about the artist Edward Gorey

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Lachlan Monaghan is our January Dancer of the Month

Former Strictly pro Ian Waite talks to Nicola Rayner about same-sex dance, partnering Darcey Bussell and his upcoming tour with Oti Mabuse

Talking Point: Charlotte Vincent on her company’s response to a “crisis” in mid-scale dance

Aaron Robison, English National Ballet’s new lead principal, talks to Gerald Dowler

MOVE IT – we preview the 2018 edition of the UK’s biggest dance event

Tips on technique: James Whitehead looks for togetherness in ballroom and Latin

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham unveils the secrets of body weight

Dance health: holistic movement

Simon’s guide to swing: Simon Selmon starts the new year by counting his blessings

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain looks back on the past year, and previews 2018

The British Nationals: Helena Fitoussi reports from the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

Jack Reavely on how dance is transformed over time

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Plus reviews of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid, Arlene Phillips in Arlene! The Glitz, The Glamour, The Gossip, Svetlana Zakharova in Amore, Rambert in Ben Duke’s new Goat, Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion, Guys and Dolls, Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet in Sylvia and The Nutcracker

International reviews of the Paris Opéra Ballet in Alexander Ekman, troubles and performances at Lyon Opéra Ballet, birthday celebrations for Oleg Vinogradov, Diana Vishneva’s festival of contemporary choreography, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballett in New York, The Australian Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Hungarian State Ballet celebrate Hans Van Manen, Boston Balletin Wayne McGregor and Jorma Elo, Hong Kong Ballet’s new Le Corsaire, Norwegian National Ballet 2 in George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin and more, Royal Danish Ballet’s new Raymonda

Obituary of Annette Page

Education news of Veronica Lewis and London Contemporary Dance School, Birmingham City University, the Carl-Alan Freestyle and Theatre Awards, Tiny toes ballet, Elmhurst Ballet School


The October 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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