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January 2022 issue

Posted on December 17, 2021

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Happy New Year to you all! As both 2020 and 2021 proved to have completely unexpected consequences during their course, I’m not exactly sure what will be in store for us in the coming months, but let us hope that dance will continue to excite and engage us all in 2022. Rest assured, Dancing Times has every intention to continue being here, reporting on the world of dance as we always have since 1910. 

In this issue, we find out more about how dance has been overcoming COVID-19, with principal dancer Daniel Camargo explaining how becoming a freelance dancer at this time has helped expand his career as a performing artist. We also travel to Latin America to hear from dance companies re-emerging from the pandemic. Julia Cheng reveals her ideas behind the choreography for the new West End production of the stage musical Cabaret, and Marianka Swain looks back at an extraordinary series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Strange as it might seem, we also celebrate the return of The Nutcracker, that indestructible Christmas favourite, to companies in cities across the UK, many of whom had to cancel performances of the ballet last year when it became clear another lockdown was about to be enforced.

JONATHAN GRAY


Keeping focused

Natasha Rogai catches up with Daniel Camargo, the Brazilian former principal with Stuttgart Ballet and Dutch National Ballet to talk about life as a freelance dancer, taking control of your career and coping with the pandemic

16 19 Daniel Camargo January“He [Camargo] spent three years at Dutch National [Ballet] and although he did make guest appearances abroad, ‘Again, being part of a place, at some point you need to choose the things you do and either say no to projects outside or stay [where you are].’ In the end he decided to turn freelance, in order to take control of his own schedule. It meant he could decide for himself which projects to do, or be able to take time to go and learn from different artists, things you can’t do when you’re in a company. ‘Being a freelancer gives you that freedom. It’s hard,’ he admits wryly, ‘very hard, but you do have a certain freedom, which is nice.’

“The biggest challenge, Camargo says, is finding the means (and the discipline) to continue training: ‘With ballet, if you take a few weeks off, it’s gone. So that’s the hardest part, to always be fit.’ One of the good parts is being able to take on projects such as the ones in Hong Kong, spending a couple of months at a time with the company. ‘I was lucky to be in Jewels, I hadn’t danced in it before, then Septime [Webre]’s Romeo and Juliet [for Hong Kong Ballet], so I’ve been really fortunate to still be doing new things during this time.’”  

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No bowler hats, no chairs

Nicola Rayner hears from Julia Cheng, the choreographer of a new production of Cabaret

21 23 Cabaret January“How does she feel about Cabaret? ‘It’s the first musical I performed in,’ she begins. ‘I haven’t spoken to many people about it, but I was a Kit Kat girl in college – it was an amateur production, but I really, really loved the music and the context of the work and the depth of what it was talking about.’

“The 1972 film, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey, won eight Academy Awards. Has Cheng revisited it many times in preparation? ‘I haven’t watched the film,’ she tells me. ‘Even when we did it at college, I didn’t watch it – I was more about looking at the scripts and the music and movement and understanding it for myself. Even my research for this work, in preparation for it and during it, I really didn’t want to look too much at what had been done before, because I find that sometimes can influence me… I did do some research – I saw little snippets of parts of the film, and I did see snippets of different stage versions. Mainly, also, it was to see what there was before – and what definitely not to imitate.’”

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Blurred, fuzzy, active, potent

Stage designer Antony McDonald talks about his career to Paul Arrowsmith

25 27 Antony McDonald January“All of which makes McDonald something of an unexpected choice for Raymonda. ‘There are no tutus,’ he says quickly, ‘and no, I’ve never seen a full-length Raymonda. For ENB, Tamara [Rojo]’s is an original show, a real celebration of dance. I hope audiences will get the feeling of reality, real people doing real things. Expect this Raymonda to be very full-on. The male roles, particularly, will be beefier, which I think reflects how special these dancers are.

“‘The idea to frame the story during the Crimean War was Tamara’s, working with dramaturg Lucinda Coxon. This was one of the first wars to be photographed so we’ve all done our research about the period. I’m not keen on video in live theatre but here film helps give a sense of time and place, particularly suggesting Raymonda’s journey to the Crimea, [depicted] against newspaper headlines of the age.’” 

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Also in the January issue…

Marianka Swain rounds up a dramatic series of Strictly Come Dancing

Fátima Nollén finds out how Latin American dance companies have been returning to the stage

Shaun Walters asks for an open mind towards modern teaching practices

Gerald Dowler highlights the career of dancer and director John Field

James Whitehead looks at line figures in waltz

Phil Meacham says “please keep your feet on the floor!”

Fátima Nollén finds out how dance companies in Latin America have been returning to the stage

Barbara Newman reports on Alain Platel’s Gardenia at Sadler’s Wells

Simon Selmon reflects on his other life as a swing dance DJ

Igor Stupnikov reviews the opening events at the International Festival of Arts “Diaghilev P S in St Petersburg

Laura Cappelle attends the Cannes Dance Festival

Pete Meager on the UK Equality Open in Manchester

Leigh Witchel sees Twyla Now and The Art of Fugue in New York

Jack Reavely remembers ballroom legend Frank Ford

Margaret Willis interviews English National Ballet’s Rhys Antoni Yeomans

Jann Parry reviews the book The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet

Luke Abnett explains how dance physios can help dancers who don’t have an injury


Plus

01 DT Jan22Phoenix Dance Theatre at 40, BBC celebration of dance in 2022, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new Don Quixote, Mark Bruce Company on tour, Company Wayne McGregor postpones The Dark Crystal, Dance highlighted at the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards, Birmingham’s Dance Hub Strategic Investment Programme, Brighton Festival 2022, English National Ballet’s Raymonda, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 returns to the UK, César Morales receives Dancing Times Best Male Dancer Award, Bust of Peter Darrell unveiled at Sadler’s Wells; Reviews of live performances from Akram Khan Company, Ballet Cymru, Bavarian State Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, McNicol Ballet Collective, Rambert2, The Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Voxed and Yorke Dance Project; Ronn Guidi and Tom Merrifield remembered in Obituaries; New things to try in Products; Royal Academy of Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet new partnership, English National Ballet’s pipeline project, new chair at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, bbodance news, winners of the 2021 Dance School of the Year announced; Calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; Where to learn to dance in the UK; We look back to January 1982

The January 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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