Posted on May 31, 2017
In this month’s issue, we pay special tribute to Zenaida Yanowsky, who retires from The Royal Ballet at the end of this season, and hear from three very different choreographers: Richard Alston, Diego Romay and Jasmin Vardimon.
Zenaida Yanowsky tells Zoë Anderson about career milestones and plans for the future…
“Though she’s retiring from The Royal Ballet, Yanowsky plans to keep dancing in other projects. ‘It’s been two years where I’ve been thinking hard about giving up. I felt very strongly – and I still do – that I’m getting quite good at performing? It’s such a shame that your body’s going ‘Ohhhhhh’, it’s not as powerful as it used to be, but the performance side is very powerful. You become a master of your trade. I don’t want to close the door on that. Yes, I’m older, but my body is in good nick. If anybody could see what I am, right now, and what I can bring, that would be a win-win situation.
“‘I’ve got a few projects, but to be honest I don’t have that much, so whoever is reading this…! This can be a card!’ She laughs. ‘It’s a tough one, because I think, “It would be wonderful to work with so-and-so,” but they have to take into consideration that I’m not Zen the one from ten years ago. I’m Zen the 42-year-old. I now I have my kids. My body’s not 19 – luckily, because I think it got better! It was like a bolted horse, I managed to rein the energy in… This is what I would like my future to be, before I hang up the shoes for a long time.”
Diego Romay tells Nicola Rayner about his show Tanguera
“The 1980s were a period of rebirth for the tango, too. During the military junta [in Argentina], up until the early 1980s, there were restrictions on people meeting at night that affected milongas and practicas. Tango went underground. When democracy returned, there was a tango renaissance: exiles returned to Buenos Aires, classes and milongas began to fill up again. By the 1990s, tango was everywhere.
“Growing up in the 1980s, with a father who, among his many talents, wrote tango lyrics, must have been the perfect recipe for a potential writer of a tango musical. However, it was a visit to the UK that helped Diego along the way.
“‘I saw in London the work of Matthew Bourne and I was shocked because I had it in my mind to do Tanguera with this aesthetic,’ he says. ‘When I saw The Car Man, I said, “This is really what I had in my mind.” I loved the magic, the atmosphere and the movie concept, that way of telling a story. I was very impressed by the emotional impact of that experience…’”
Jasmin Vardimon tells Graham Watts about inner worlds and emotional generosity
“We start by talking about JV2 [Vardimon’s junior company], which Vardmon formed in 2012. ‘I’d seen thousands of dancers, at auditions, with the capacity to learn movement, but if I asked them to access their inner world and express something externally, with authenticity, it was far more difficult,’ she explains. ‘For me, performance quality is all about emotional generosity. This is what provides audiences with a better experience. So, being able to develop tools that enable artists to access their inner world is crucial to my work. JV2 provides an alternative education that helps dancers to perform with their entire capacity: physically, vocally, emotionally and conceptually…’”
Stephanie Jordan watches Richard Alston at work on Benjamin Britten, one of his favourite composers
Dancing your way to business: Gavin McCaig thinks dancers have more skills than they realise
Kristen McGarrity, now appearing in An American in Paris, is our June Dancer of the Month
Talking point: Maggie Foyer wonders whether ballet has too much baggage
Marianka Swain goes behind the scenes on dance documentary Baby Ballroom
Laura Dodge reports from The Hammond School as it celebrates its centenary
Alison Gallagher-Hughes on the rejuvenation of the Piccadilly Ballroom
New dance books: Beryl Grey’s autobiography, New Zealand School of Dance, Reid Anderson, body therapist Miranda Tufnell’s When I Open My Eyes
Tips on technique: James Whitehead explores essentials in waltz and cha cha cha
Phil Meacham, our dance doctor, on spot and switch turns
Debbie Malina looks at yoga as therapy
Simon Selmon on the highs and lows of swing dance
Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain has news from Le Rendez-Vous de Paris
Jack Reavely continues his history of the early years of Blackpool Dance Festival
Buy your print copy here or buy your digital copy from all good app stores
Plus reviews of The Royal Ballet in Mayerling, National Youth Dance Company, Rosie Kay Dance Company in MK Ultra, BBC Young Dancer 2017, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in Material Men Redux, Breakin’ Convention, Northern Ballet’s Casanova, Rambert in Ghost Dances and Aletta Collins
International reviews of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, the Paris Opéra Ballet, The Maryinsky Ballet, Scottish Ballet and CNDC Angers in New York, Joffrey Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet in Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Stanislavsky Ballet in Mayerling, new works from the Norwegian National Ballet, Ballet du Capitole’s new Don Quixote, a collaboration between Alberta Ballet, Ballet BC and National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Danish Ballet in Jewels, Sarasota Ballet
News of Strictly Come Dancing, Boy Blue Entertainment, Rambert, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Now initiative, Argentine tango, Fleur Darkin, Melanie Manchot, Clare Connor at The Place, Western Theatre Ballet reunion
Obituaries of Elaine Thomas, Roy Round and Geoffrey Cauley
Education news of the Dance Teacher Conference, Encore Dance 2017, Samira Saidi, York Ballet Summer School, Spanish Dance Society, KS Dance