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July 2017 issue

Posted on June 30, 2017

With summer in full swing, we celebrate a wide range of dance styles this month, from Arlene Phillips’ work on stage and screen to Blackpool Dance Festival and Dorrance Dance’s new take on tap. Our cover star is National Youth Ballet’s Lita Garcia, in a dramatic photograph by Tim Cross

Gossip Girl

Arlene Phillips tells Nicola Rayner about her new show, which looks back over four decades in show business, from Hot Gossip and work with pop stars such as Freddie Mercury and Whitney Houston to Strictly Come Dancing and beyond…

“Most of the stars in music videos are singers, rather than trained dancers. ‘Somebody like Freddie Mercury was not a trained dancer,’ agrees Arlene, ‘but in his inner belief he was the greatest dancer on earth. He was completely involved in any of the videos he made. He wanted to know what he was doing, what the story was – he wanted to be fully engaged with what was going to happen…’

“One of Arlene’s favourite anecdotes is how she persuaded Diana Ross to jump on a glass table for ‘Chain Reaction’. ‘Again, that was a real build of confidence… with time you can build and build and build and get them to do almost everything. With Diana Ross, it was, “I want to underlight you and I want you to sit in the fourth position, very Martha Graham.” I knew she had had movement and dance training, and the more she became involved with the video clip, the more fabulous she was…’”

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Tapping inspiration

Iris Fanger introduces Dorrance Dance, the US-based tap company led by Michelle Dorrance

“On stage, Dorrance is a tall, lean assemblage of sharp-edged, flying arms, elbows, knees and – especially – feet that stomp, whisper, fall back on their heels or rise on their toes, all to the beat of music that is sometimes self-generated. She is on her game as a tapper, but also mixes in other dance styles, most recently delivering a mean lindy hop at Dartmouth. She often has an appealing grin on her face, belied by the intensity of focus on the intricate pattern of steps and sounds…

“Nicholas Van Young, Dorrance and Warren Craft appear in the show as both musicians and dancers. Van Young designed the wizard-like jumble of technology that captures the tap riffs and stretches their aural possibilities. ‘What Nicholas has developed is a set of instruments – hand-made, little wooden boxes or platforms, open on one side, with contact microphones that plug into a mini-converter that in turn is plugged into a computer,’ Dorrance explains. ‘We play these with our feet like an electronic drum kit…’”

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Fresh faces

Martin Cutler reports on a dramatic year at Blackpool Dance Festival

“Professional Latin

What a night, what a comp, what an atmosphere, what were you doing missing this one? It had everything, with the crowd clapping from round one and the couples all performing as if their life depended upon the result. I can honestly say I have never witnessed a better pro comp or atmosphere in the ballroom, with a standing ovation in the semi-final whilst the couples were still dancing – never known before.

“Winners and still champions, by winning all five dances, were Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko from the US. Suffice to say they were at their unbelievable best – and had to be, because all of the couples in the final were being swept along on a tidal wave of support from the crowd…”

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Also in the July issue…

Movers and shakers: Marianka Swain meets leading practitioners in the field of movement direction

Staying afloat: Gerald Dowler looks at the different forms of funding for dance

The memoirs of Nadia Nerina: the ballerina remembers dancing Giselle in Leningrad

Blackpool’s magic bubble: Martin Cutler completes his report of the festival

Margaret Willis interviews Scottish Ballet’s Victor Zarallo, our dancer of the month

Laura Dodge reports from SLP College

Talking point: Stephanie Jordan wonders if dance at UK universities is another world?

Igor Stupnikov interviews Andrian Fadeyev, former Maryinsky dancer now directing Yakobson Ballet Theatre

Zoë Anderson speaks to Sue Goodman, the outgoing artistic director of Step Into Dance

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on smartening up the rumba

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, turns away from toes turned out

Simon’s guide to swing: Simon Selmon asks if real men let go on five

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain reports on the German Open

Notes from the dance floor: the Carl Alan Awards

Jack Reavely remembers puttin’ on the Ritz

Health: Debbie Malina on relaxing with reflexology

Plus reviews of The Royal Ballet, including Liam Scarlett’s new Symphonic Dances, an all-Frederick Ashton programme and Zenaida Yanowsky’s farewell, Mark Morris Dance Group in Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper at 50 celebrations, the Cliftons in Karen and Kevin Dance, Drew McOnie’s production of On the Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Let’s Dance International Frontiers festival, including Urban Bush Women, Philadanco and Ella Mesma, Working at Southwark Playhouse, Ballet Theatre UK’s Alice in Wonderland, Northern Ballet’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Scottish Ballet in Crystal Pite and Angelin Preljocaj, Richard Alston Dance Company

International reviews of Alexei Ratmansky’s new Whipped Cream for American Ballet Theatre, new works from the Paris Opéra Ballet’s Choreographic Academy, dance and circus from Yoann Bourgeois, Hong Kong Ballet in Coppélia, a new Carmen and more, choreography by Merce Cunningham from Compagnie CNDC-Angers and the Paris Opéra Ballet, Cathy Marston’s new Les Liaisons dangereuses in Copenhagen

Plus news of Dance Umbrella, the Pina Bausch Fellowship, plans at the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, Degas from the Burrell at London’s National Gallery, dementia-friendly work at Scottish Ballet, Voices of the Amazon and more

Obituaries of Lois Strike, David Dean and Sergei Vikharev

Education news of School of Ballet Theatre UK, Dame Beryl Grey and bbodance, Ballet Central, Encore Dance, the Royal Academy of Dance’s Project B, National Youth Ballet, Dance Forward

The July 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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