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July 2018 issue

Posted on June 28, 2018

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From Russian ballet to Blackpool Dance Festival and beyond, our July 2018 issue is truly global. We have reports from the Arabesque Ballet Competition in Perm, features on ballet in the Soviet Union and on a collection of costumes relating to Bronislava Nijinska, not to mention the Bolshoi Ballet School of Brazil. We also hear from directors Nicolas Le Riche and Reid Anderson and find out about a Cuban Carmen, plus all our regular news and reviews…





The Wow Effect

Reid Anderson, stepping down after 22 seasons as director of Stuttgart Ballet, tells Gerald Dowler about his lifetime of dance

“GD: Stuttgart Ballet has always been famous for its openness…

“RA: I wear my heart on my sleeve – I always tell the truth because it is easier to remember and I’m frank in a kind way. My door is always open and I want the dancers to know I care for them. I learned that from John [Cranko]. Most people think of him as a choreographer, but I knew him really well as a person. I try to remember what really impressed me and made me want to dance; we were willing to try anything the choreographer needed to create, and I try to instil tht in my dancers.

“GD: Is that harder nowadays?

“RA: I think it is harder for young people to be what we expect them to be. We have to face what society is facing – the dance world is currently dealing with the #MeToo phenomenon – and it is true young people now have to deal with the internet and everything it represents… Technology sets up false perspectives – they see someone of their age who seems to be having a certain career and, quite naturally, ask why they are not. When it comes down to the basic reality of what we do, I don’t think dancers have changed much at all; they want to dance, to be nurtured and to feel secure in what they do. Being a dancer is one of the most extraordinary things a person can be – everything about it is so powerful and life-giving – so it’s important the dancers feel that.

“GD: Did you learn that from Cranko?

“RA: Absolutely. From the moment we arrived, he treated us all the same. I arrived from the Royal Ballet School in which you couldn’t even talk to company dancers, and as an apprentice with the company you had to sit on the side, watch, be quiet and then get up and know it perfectly. Thankfully, that has changed completely in today’s world.”

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The Blackpool Experience

Martin Cutler introduces this year’s Blackpool Dance Festival, and reports on the championships

“You walk into the Winter Gardens and straight into an unbelievable array of colours and textures from the numerous stalls that adorn the entrance foyer and beyond into the Exhibition Halls. There are dresses, suits, anything that a dancer needs while competing or just practising – and believe me, the practice wear is just as important with the thousands of dancers who are attending this week. There are shoes of every description, books, CDs, DVDs, every other means of communication known to man – the list is endless.

“Then there are tanning centres, very important for the dancers, and hairdressers who never seem to stop from dawn till dusk. The salons are jammed with competitors, and lots of wannabes too….

“One of the things that hits you most as you drive into Blackpool is the sight of couples walking around the streets in their competitive costumes, from hotel to ballroom and back, into all the shops. No one bats an eyelid; it’s Blackpool festival fortnight, and the locals love it.”

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Carmen with a Cuban twist

On August 1, Carmen La Cubana sees its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells. Nicola Rayner learns how it all began from director Christopher Renshaw

“The inaugural performances of Carmen La Cubana took place in the old port in Havana. ‘So that’s how it was born,’ Renshaw tells me. ‘It was both challenging and wonderful and the spirit was great. When it actually happened and the microphones arrived, the performers were thrilled’ Musicals, he explains, are relatively rare in Cuba. ‘There was a tradition much earlier, before the revolution, of musicals and operettas. I don’t think that has continued, though Cuban opera is very good and their ballet is wonderful.’

“Were the lyrics largely translated or rewritten? ‘They were quite rewritten,’ says Renshaw. ‘We had [lyricist Oscar] Hammerstein as a basis in English. When he wrote Carmen Jones, he did the lyrics in ebonics. They were very useful. Our lyricist is a famous Cuban poet, Norge Espinosa Mendoza, and he really got inspired…’”

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Also in the July 2018 issue

Nicolas Le Riche tells Erik Näsland about his new role as director of the Royal Swedish Ballet

Fátima Nollen interviews choreographer Deborah Colker, looks at the Joinville Dance Festival and finds out about Brazil’s Bolshoi Ballet School

Margaret Willis journeys to Perm in the Urals for the Arabesque Ballet Competition

Talking Point: choreographer Caitlin Trainor on the excitement – and perils – of audience participation

Continuing his series on Soviet Ballet, Gerald Dowler examines socialist realism

Ballet Black’s José Alves is our July Dancer of the Month

Jane Pritchard introduces a collection relating to Bronislava Nijinska at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on oversway

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham on the art of sway

Swing dance: Simon Selmon on Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom

Dance health: Debbie Malina on the fascial system

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain introduces California’s April Follies competition

Jack Reavely remembers Philip Richardson, ballroom expert and past editor of Dancing Times

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Plus news of Northern Ballet, 42ndStreet, Michael Jackson at the National Portrait Gallery, the Brazilica samba carnival, the Ballet of La Scala, Milan, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, Natalia Osipova and more

Reviews of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake and the Spring Gala, Zenaida Yanowsky in Elizabeth, Ballet Theatre UK in The Little Mermaid, Rambert in Life is a Dream, Akram Khan Company in XENOSand Portraits in Otherness, Chrysalis London in Savage, A Night with Boy Blue, English National Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty, Birmingham Royal Ballet in Romeo and Juliet and Polarity and Proximity, Karen and Kevin Dance, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Award

International reviews of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, the Dance Open International Ballet Festival with Edward Clug, Alexander Ekman, Johan Inger and Jeroen Verbruggen, New York City Ballet’s Jerome Robbins celebrations, American Ballet Theatre in Alexei Ratmansky and Wayne McGregor, Alberta Ballet in All of Us, Bavarian State Ballet in Raymonda, Royal Danish Ballet’s Ballet Festival, National Ballet of Canada in Robert Lepage’s Frame by Frame, Tanztheater Wuppertal in New Piece II

Reports from Blackpool Dance Festival and the Allied Dinner Dance

Obituary of Errol Pickford

Education news of Duchy Ballet, Dane Hurst’s Moving Assembly Project, Masters of Ballet, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, the Prix de Lausanne, Central School of Ballet, Summer adult intensive at Rambert, Encore Dance Company

The June 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

Main image: Daniel McCormick, winner of English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Award 2018. Photograph: Laurent Liotardo.




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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