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January 2016 issue

Posted on December 18, 2015


We welcome 2016 with coverage of very many dance styles, from ballet, ballroom and contemporary dance by way of malambo from Argentina and the Peking Opera from China…

Energy forever

nunez-grabZoë Anderson speaks to Royal Ballet principal Marianela Nuñez about Giselle, dance on screen and the politics of guesting:

“Nuñez feels strongly about [guesting]. It’s a point she returns to, underlining her own identity as a company woman, a Royal Ballet ballerina. ‘If I take a guesting performance, I would like to spend some time with that company, get to know the dancers, show them respect, and learn the production as it is,’ she says, emphatically. ‘Because it’s not fair to arrive and then, ‘I do my own thing’. No. So I don’t do that many guestings, because obviously my priority is here at The Royal Ballet, at the opera house. When I do guestings, I want to give them my 100 per cent, to respect the company and also this art form. It’s something that should be addressed, because it’s not fair, to just… Otherwise it becomes like fast food, and that’s not it.”

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 The Comfort of hold

diana-melly-grabDiana Melly, the widow of jazz musician George Melly, talks to Nicola Rayner about her new book, which looks at the healing power of dancing:

“Melly’s book Strictly Ballroom: Tales from the Dancefloor is an appealing collection of vignettes – with dance floor anecdotes: struggles with the heel turn or the fan position – sitting alongside memories of George and his illness, all told with dry wit and an appealing mixture of naughtiness and restraint.

“The latter is most notable in the final chapter, entitled ‘Why We Dance’, in which Diana writes about the death of her daughter, Candy, in 2013. ‘When I finished the book initially I hadn’t said anything about Candy and a friend said, “You’ve left out something incredibly important,”’ Diana says. ‘I thought that maybe it wasn’t appropriate to write about my daughter dying, which is a tragic thing after all, in a book about dancing, which one might feel is quite a frivolous thing. And then, I thought: no, actually, we dance for all sorts of reasons, and I did start dancing when she was ill: that is what happened…’”

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Preserving the legacy

legacy-grabIn a new series, Gerald Dowler investigates how dance can be preserved for future generations:

“What characterised 20th-century ballet was an increasing focus on authenticity and ownership. Mikhail Fokine was constantly frustrated by the number of unauthorised productions of his ballets, made famous and desirable by the Ballets Russes; everyone wanted Les Sylphides, and many who had danced in it felt perfectly qualified to stage their own version.

“With advancing technology, the world has shrunk, so that what was once local and site-specific has become global. Additionally, what was once far-off and remote is a mere international flight away. This allows choreographers greater control over their works – if Fokine heard about an unauthorised production of one of his ballets in South America, there was little if anything that he could do about it…”

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Also in the January 2016 issue…

Moving still: we publish a selection of photographs from the new book by dance photographer Lois Greenfield, chosen for us by Lois herself

Pages from a life: Paul Arrowsmith, currently helping Peter Wright prepare his memoirs, on writing and co-writing autobigraphy

Laura Dodge discovers how London Studio Centre’s training balances versatility and specialisation

The British National Dance Championships 2015: results and report from the dance floor

Zoë Anderson speaks to Erin Boag on …just gotta dance, her new show with ballroom partner Anton Du Beke 

Toini Kristensen introduces the classical ballet course at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Malambo in Argentina: in an extract from her new book, A Simple Story, Leila Guerriero explores the demanding Malambo championship

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Dominic Antonucci on the importance of the dance class

Restored by dance: Zoë Anderson speaks to Fitter, Stronger founder Paula Kerr about dancing for recovery and health

Tips on technique: James Whitehead looks at the cha cha cha

Our Dance Doctor, Phil Meacham, breaks down the Cuban break

Dancing in the movies: Simon Selmon on swing dancing for a new film

Same-sex ballroom and Latin: Marianka Swain looks back on a busy year and previews 2016

Jack Reavely remembers the “excuse me” dances and impromptu partners of the 1950s ballroom world

Margaret Willis speaks to The Royal Ballet’s Matthew Ball, our Dancer of the Month

Debbie Malina surveys the postgraduate courses available in dance medicine and science


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Plus news of One Dance UK, National Dance Company Wales, The Royal Ballet’s Roberta Marquez and Ricardo Cervera, Siobhan Davies Dance, Mark Bruce’s The Odyssey, Flamenco Festival London, Strictly Come Dancing on tour, photographs by Rick Guest, dance in upcoming exhibitions and more;

Reviews of Scottish Ballet’s new Cinderella, Royal New Zealand Ballet in Giselle and works by Javier De Frutos and others, China National Peking Opera Company, The Royal Ballet in Monotones and The Two Pigeons, Russell Maliphant’s Conceal | Reveal, Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, Ballet Cymru, Macbeth with choreography by Lucy Guerin, the Diaghilev P S International Festival of Arts in St Petersburg, including Akram Khan and Israel Galván and Angelin Preljocaj, Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Jirí Kylián, a new triple bill from Ballet BC, Cannes Dance Festival and the new film Bolshoi Babylon;

obituary of Bryony Brind;

education news, including the Cecchetti Classical Ballet Vocational Awards, School of Ballet Theatre UK, new appointments at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, Dance Forward, West London School of Dance and a summer intensive with Elena Glurdjidze 


The January issue is now in stores – 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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