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July 2019 issue

Posted on June 26, 2019

07 DT July 2019

This month we bid farewell to choreographer David Bintley, who is stepping down as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet after 24 years; find out about Iain Mackay’s plans for the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars; and report back on the 2019 edition of Blackpool Dance Festival. In addition, we take a look at voguing, as well as the world of commercial dance, discover more about contemporary dance in Ecuador and Greece, and talk to The Royal Ballet’s Joseph Sissens, who is our Dancer of the Month.

Strike a pose

Nicola Rayner explores the re-emergence of voguing in the mainstream

“Inspired by model poses, martial arts and Egyptian hieroglyphics, voguing is known for its impossible-looking arm work and fierce attitude. ‘It has that element of owning who you are when you step on the floor,’ says choreographer Benjamin Milan, who’s worked with FKA twigs and Madonna.

“‘It came from queer people of colour in the US in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s,’ he explains. ‘It’s important to understand the socio-political climate of what we call ballroom came from. The black drag queens were being discriminated against in competitions so they started their own functions up in Harlem. Before it was called voguing it was called posing – developing from the way the drag queens posed, on the beat, at the end of the runway. From there – from the purely more aesthetic categories like Best Dressed or Face – as the LGBT community came together, voguing developed both at the balls and in the clubs. ’”

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Turning point

Jonathan Gray talks to Iain Mackay about his ambitions for the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars

“One of the great advantages of Yorkshire Ballet Seminars is how it does its best to enable young dancers from all walks of life to experience the Seminars for themselves. ‘We offer a large number of scholarships,’ Iain Mackay continues, ‘and hold auditions for them in London, Birmingham and Leeds. This year 300 attended, and we were able to offer 50 weeks of scholarships due to the generosity of our supporters. They are incredible, people like Peter Wright and Deborah MacMillan, or organisations such as The Linbury Trust and the London Ballet Circle. David Gayle got all of them to become loyal supporters, and they have continued with us right up to today.’”

“Once they are there, the students get the opportunity to learn from some of the greats of the ballet world. In the early days, these included Ninette de Valois, Alicia Markova and Lynn Seymour. How does Mackay go about finding the inspiring YBS teachers of today? ‘Many of the people who come to teach are people I may have seen teaching elsewhere. I take advice, too, but I’ve also just asked people – I use the network I have built up over my years of dancing.’”

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Dancer of the Month

Margaret Willis meets The Royal Ballet’s Joseph Sissens

“‘At Tring [Park School for the Performing Arts], I especially loved tap and modern, but I have to confess I didn’t have much respect for ballet – it seemed too disciplined and the domain of white dancers. Thank heavens for Carlos [Acosta]. If it weren’t for him and the example he gives to all black dancers, I wouldn’t be here today. He paved the way for me to study hard and get where I am. He recently coached me in the Bronze Idol solo [in La Bayadère]. It was just ten minutes, but he spoke to me as an equal and was so authoritative and kind – he has one of those characters that wants to help others who, like himself, are challenged with being a different colour from most of the other dancers. I can’t thank him enough.’

“‘Before Tring and in my earliest days at the school, I had always struggled with ballet, but as I studied more, I gained great respect for the art. I was helped by teachers who made me feel part of the ballet world, a part that had no colour barriers.’”

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Also in the July issue…

Northern Ballet’s Gavin McCaig asks if ticking boxes is beginning to limit the creative output of arts organisations in Talking Point

Paul Arrowsmith asks David Bintley to look back at his time as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Martin Cutler reports from Blackpool Dance Festival

Fátima Nollén explores the contemporary dance scene in Ecuador

Jonathan Gray talks to Diane van Schoor about the release on DVD of Complete Cecchetti Diploma

Alison Gallagher-Hughes attends the British Open

Debbie Malina considers the development of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network

Laura Dodge discovers the growing commercial dance industry

Paul Arrowsmith meets Linda Kapetanea, director of the Kalamata Dance Festival

Marianka Swain previews a new UK same-sex ballroom and Latin American competition

Simon Selmon continues his tribute to Lindy hop dance legend Norma Miller

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New season plans from Northern Ballet, Royal Ballet soloist Fernando Montaño announces a charity gala, the return of Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, National Youth Ballet, the Queen’s birthday honours, Marcelino Sambé becomes a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet

Reviews of American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Dancenorth Australia, English National Ballet, Force of Nature Natalia, Maryinsky Ballet, Masters of Choreography, New York City Ballet, New York to Paris, Northern Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Pam Tanowitz Dance, Rambert, Rosie Kay Dance Company, The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Seeta Patel, Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals, Sweet Charity, Yorke Dance Project, Zürich Ballet

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Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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