Posted on June 23, 2022
The July edition of Dancing Times highlights some current and important issues within the dance world at large. Karen Berry, who has provided some thought-provoking articles for us in the past, this month asks if the dance profession is doing enough to challenge studio culture, both in schools and companies, whilst Matthew Paluch, in his Talking Point column, wonders if current professional dancers’ employment contracts are friend or foe in light of recent events within the UK’s dance sector. We would very much like to hear your thoughts on these subjects for further debate, so why not let us know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org?
Also in this issue, we find out the names of the winners at both the 2022 Blackpool Dance Festival and the National Dance Awards, and celebrate the career of Rudolf Nureyev, the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, brought dance to the wider public at large through his inspirational performances and staging of the Russian classics.
We also hear from director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall, whose hit production of the stage musical Anything Goes returns to London this month, and from former Northern Ballet premier dancer Javier Torres, who recently retired from the stage.
“GD: Why Nureyev?
NK: In many ways, the motivation to put this together has come out of my own career – I entered the world of ballet aware of Nureyev’s impact on it. Nureyev embodied the idea that dance can come from anywhere and from any background and also heightened the awareness and acceptability of the male dancer as an artist in his own right.
“When I went to Canada’s National Ballet School, I was immediately conscious of how important he had been to the company. Also, my teacher there, Sergiu Stefanschi, had been at the Vaganova Academy with Nureyev and they had been principals of the company at the same time, so his name was mentioned on a daily basis as I grew up. When I entered the company, I was surrounded by people who had known Nureyev, from the character artists all the way up to the director Karen Kain, and when my career took me abroad, Nureyev’s presence was felt wherever I went, from Denmark to here in London at the Royal Opera House where artists pass under an enormous picture of Nureyev as they enter the stage.’”
“It has not been an easy year globally, as we all know, and the war in Ukraine had a direct impact on numbers at this year’s Blackpool Dance Festival, with many familiar faces missing from the dance floor. We, of course, very much hope things will be back to normal by this time next year, but in the meantime the organisers should be congratulated on a smooth-running festival. The whole event had a feeling of ‘what will happen?’, given that spaces were available for anyone who performed. Musical director Ashley Frohlick and the Empress Orchestra were as great as ever and raised all of the dancers to levels that many of them had never reached before, providing spectators with the usual Blackpool shivers down the spine.
“Winners in all five dances in the Amateur Latin were Salvatore Sinardi and Alexandra Kondrashova, who had a great night, ensuring there was never any doubt in the judges’ minds as to first place. A great three-way tussle occurred between Lloyd Perry and Rebecca Scott, Adam Hathazi and Morgana Lakatos-Hayward and Tal Livshitz and Ilana Keselman for the following places, with the final couple triumphing in second place, Hathazi and Lakatos-Hayward third, and Perry and Scott fourth. Any one of these three could have finished second, which is what made the whole final so interesting. Fifth were Taha Batu Cosar and Aleksandra Povzun, and Tang Yi Ming and Huang Xin Yi came sixth.”
“There aren’t many people who talk about grounded theory in an interview. Javier Torres, former premier dancer with Northern Ballet, is one of the few who do. He finished his 12-year career with the company in May with performances of Kenneth Tindall’s Casanova at London’s Sadler’s Wells (see Dance Scene). Prior to this, Torres danced in his native Cuba for a decade with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, where he also reached the highest rank possible.
“On the cusp of retiring from his 22-year career as a professional dancer, we had a discussion that reminisced about his beginnings, covered his professional years and pondered on his future.”
Karen Berry asks if the dance profession is doing enough to challenge studio culture
Nicola Rayner speaks to Kathleen Marshall, director-choreographer of Anything Goes
James Whitehead looks at the hip twist in the rumba
Matthew Paluch on professional dancers’ employment contracts
Phil Meacham looks at the running finish in the quickstep
Barbara Newman reviews My Fair Lady and Age of Rage
Simon Selmon says thank goodness for dance
Laura Cappelle on the Ballet de Lorraine’s Pas assez suédois
Pete Meager speaks to one of the UK’s newest equality dance couples
Graham Spicer watches a gala tribute to Carla Fracci at La Scala, Milan
Jack Reavely remembers the elegance of ballroom’s golden years
Leigh Witchel sees New York City Ballet and Trisha Brown Dance Company
Margaret Willis interviews Eric Snyder of English National Ballet
Debbie Malina explores the subject of stress, and considers some of the ways to cope with this difficult issue
Winners of the National Dance Awards announced, Queen’s Birthday Honours, Mark Morris announces a new full-length work, new president of the British Dance Council is announced, Cabaret to hold charity show for Ukraine, Andrea and Sara Ghigiarelli retire from professional ballroom, Aurélie Dupont resigns as director of dance at the Paris Opéra Ballet, Jasmin Vardimon launches Alice, Sammy Stopford’s lecture at Blackpool causes equality outcry; Reviews of live performances from A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Ballet de Santiago, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ecole des Sables, Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2022, Northern Ballet, Rambert, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet; Liane Daydé, John Leach and Ann Hutchinson Guest remembered in Obituaries; New books, CDs and DVDs; New things to try in Products; bbodance’s GradPro, Ballet Central, Elmhurst Ballet Company; Calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; Where to learn to dance in the UK; We look back to July 1982