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June 2021 issue

Posted on May 26, 2021

06 Cover June
So theatres are finally open again in the UK. Despite the potential new threat of an “Indian” variant of COVID-19 spreading across the country, dance companies were able to return to the stage from May 17 after an absense of more than five months.

Those performances took place too late to be included in this issue of the magazine, but Dancing Times will be publishing reviews from Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Rambert and The Royal Ballet next month in Dance Scene International. It seems a very long time to have been deprived of live performances of dance in an indoor venue, but now they are back, let’s hope they will remain so. 

There is a lot to read in the magazine this month: Laura Cappelle talks to Hugo Marchand, an étoile at the Paris Opéra Ballet; Fátima Nollén discovers how Ballet Nacional de España has been managing to continue performing on stage despite the pandemic in Spain; Vikki Jane Vile finds out what some of the Strictly Come Dancing professionals have been up to in lockdown; and Northern Ballet’s Gavin McCaig recounts what it has been like to create a new children’s ballet during the past 12 months. 

Profoundly affected

Laura Cappelle talks to the Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Hugo Marchand about his career and the pandemic

15 17 Hugo Marchand June21“Laura Cappelle: You also delve into the solitude that you felt came with becoming an étoile. Has it changed in the years since you started writing the book?”
     Hugo Marchand: It ebbs and flows. This past year has been very strange because we were even more isolated as soloists than usual, with dedicated classes and rehearsals, due to safety protocols. However, I think I was in a small part responsible for the isolation I felt, too, and since I have control over that part, I’ve decided to spend more time with others. 

“My work does remain quite lonely. At the moment, at noon I’m hanging myself as the Jeune Homme in one studio, at 1.30pm I’m Romeo in another, at 2pm Juliet is dead… I love it, but it’s intense and troubling. I can’t go out and laugh with people immediately afterwards. It’s like diving: you need decompression chambers.”

“LC: How are you managing your energy and emotions as you prepare to go back on stage?”
     HM: I know that I’m not going to want to approach Le Jeune Homme et la Mort with any distance. I haven’t danced in front of an audience in months, and I want to be that Jeune Homme fully, to lose myself in the role, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Then I’ll need to recuperate in time for Romeo, because Nureyev’s Romeo and Juliet is so long and physically demanding.”

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The Odd Couple

Nicola Rayner hears from Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice about their new show, Him and Me

19 21 Anton and Giovanni June21“When you think of Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice, the Strictly Come Dancing professionals who have teamed up for Him and Me, which opens this month, it’s their contrasting qualities that spring to mind first. ‘The fun will be in the fact we’re so different… He’s obviously much older than me,’ jokes Du Beke, ‘and he’s Italian with his shirt open to his naval, while I’m known for my traditional English style – with a top hat and a cane – but it’s been a lovely coming together of the two styles, the two worlds. Not just the ballroom and Latin world – it’s so much more than that. The show is about our personalities, which is going to be great fun. 

“‘I’ve traditionally only ever done shows with Erin [Boag],’ he continues, ‘and I didn’t fancy doing a show with another woman as such – just replacing Erin with another woman. I didn’t see the value in that, but the idea of doing something with Giovanni was really exciting. I thought we could have a bit of fun with it. ’”

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Dancer of the Month

Margaret Willis interviews Scottish Ballet’s Rishan Benjamin

63 65 Dancer of the Month June“‘I just loved dancing the “Calliope Rag” from Elite Syncopations,’ enthused Scottish Ballet’s Rishan. ‘It is so sassy – cheeky showgirl stuff. You just let yourself go and show off to your audience.’ 

“This vision is certainly a far cry from the little seven-year-old hiding herself in the back row in primary school, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed by the visitors who were looking for prospective students on The Royal Ballet’s Chance to Dance programme. ‘I loved doing street dancing whenever I heard music, and was just engrossed in my own little world when the people came in to watch us,’ she continued. ‘Then suddenly my name was called and the next thing I remember was that I was going to ballet classes once a week at The Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden.’ 

“Despite knowing nothing about ballet, Rishan surprised herself when she realised that she was enjoying the classes. However, ballet was no more than a hobby – something to do after school. To become a Black ballerina was not on her horizon – then.”

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Also in the June issue…

Teresa Guerreiro takes a look at dance on screen

Deborah Weiss visits Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance

Vikki Jane Vile catches up with the Strictly Come Dancing professionals

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp continues his discussion on diversifying classical ballet

Jack Reavely looks back to Blackpool in 1950

Fátima Nollén meets Rubén Olmo, director of Ballet Nacional de España

James Whitehead looks at dancing fast and slow

Igor Stupnikov reviews The Eifman Ballet in Passions of Moliere

Jane Pritchard highlights the career of stage designer Claud Lovat Fraser

Gavin McCaig describes the choreographic process behind Pinocchio, his first children’s ballet

Pete Meager looks at how equality dancing is developing in some of our teaching and competitive environments

Graham Watts talks to music directors Koen Kessels and Gavin Sutherland

Phil Meacham on the value of a good partnership

Jack Anderson watches choreography by Ephrat Asherie, George Balanchine and Martha Graham online

Simon Selmon remembers Lindy hop legend Frankie Manning


06 Cover JuneExclusive Zoom event for Dancing Times readers with Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta, New dance show from Matthew Bourne, National Dance Awards 2021, Sadler’s Wells announces upcoming performances, Royal Ballet promotions, BBC Dance Season announced, dance legends celebrated by Canada Post, Lost Dog back on tour, Paris Opéra Ballet’s 2021–22 season announced; Jacques d’Amboise, Shirley Hancock, Ismael Ivo and Nancy Lassalle remembered in Obituaries; New ballroom and Latin CDs reviewed; Ballet Central on tour, Dance School of the Year, The Australian Ballet’s David McAllister receives the RAD’s Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award; calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; we look back to June 1981

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

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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