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March 2018 issue

Posted on March 8, 2018

March is a bumper issue of Dancing Times, with 148 pages embracing a huge variety of dance styles. We look at the UK’s rising tap stars Clare Halse and Charlie Stemp, report from this year’s National Dance Awards and the UK Open Dance Championships, hear from choreographer Richard Alston, launch our Dancing Times readers’ survey and more…


Feet firmly on the ground

Gerald Dowler on Clare Halse and Charlie Stemp, two UK tappers dancing up a storm in the West End and on Broadway

“The ‘American’ style of tap required for this particular show [42nd Street] was something new to Halse. ‘I had to do my homework pretty fast for that, watching Ginger Rogers and Eleanor Powell in particular. Tap requires a really specific approach – you have to relax the ankles to make it happen, which is not the first thing you want to do. There’s also a lot of pressure to nail it. If you miss a beat, everyone notices, but I love this style. Initially, my arms were too high; I had to learn to relax them, and make them more natural. I have tried to get that fast spinning and stopping dead you see in classic films – I think it is so amazing.’

“Dancing in a musical has its own special requirements. ‘Having to do a huge number and then being able to speak… let alone sing! When you are dancing, you keep your core muscles really tight to make it all look easy and controlled, but when you sing, you have to let them go. Snapping from one discipline to another is tough…’”

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 Leading the way

Avatâra Ayuso attends the Women in Dance Leadership conference held in New York in January

“How do we prepare the next generation of female leaders in the dance sector? Answers fluctuated between preparing them with multiple skills and encouraging them to ask for help if needed, to the importance of mentoring and role models as essential support. Women at the top need to support the development of other women, serving as examples to inspire and stimulate younger generations.

“One of the most noteworthy discussion points was the participation of men, and it was agreed men must be brought into the conversation. Men and women need to become allies, develop empathy and understanding of each other’s issues, as well as see the value in sharing leadership responsibilities. It seems young and middle-aged generations of men are much more aware of these issues than their predecessors, and, as Angela Davis has said, ‘Progressive men need to take the initiative themselves, they don’t need to be invited’…”

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Dancing to music

Richard Alston looks back on his 50 years of choreography

“On February 18, 1968, I presented my first choreography. Transit was for four women, lasted four minutes and took all of four months to make; I had very little idea of what I was doing but even so, hesitantly it all started. Following on from that I made many short dances for workshop programmes – they were a way of learning the craft and gradually finding my own voice. All around me were dances of Jungian psychodrama – the Martha Graham influence was very strong – but I felt clear that this was not why I danced. I danced because I loved moving to music, something I found joyous and exhilarating. I wanted to make dances that simply celebrated this…”

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Also in the March issue…

MOVE IT! We preview the UK’s biggest dance event, held at London’s ExCel Centre from March 16 to 18. We’ll be there – come and say hello, and pick up a free limited edition copy of Dancing Times, exclusive to MOVE IT, from Stand 205A

Bolshoi Ballet soloist Alyona Kovalyova speaks to Zoë Anderson about her career

Ice and fire: Nicola Rayner finds out how opposite attract in the partnership of Gunnar Gunnarsson and Marika Doshoris, British National Professional Latin champions

Zoë Anderson reports from the National Dance Awards

Open doors: Nicola Rayner sees dancers taking opportunities at the UK Open

Time after time: Marianka Swain speaks to director Drew McOnie and star Ziti Strallen about the stage musical adaptation of beloved dance film Strictly Ballroom

Creating a buzz: Natasha Rogai meets Septime Webre, the new artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet

Dancing Nation: Fátima Nollén continues her look at the ballet and contemporary dance scene in Argentina

Talking point: Gail Monahan thinks corps de ballet dancers deserve more recognition

We launch our Readers’ Survey, with fantastic prizes to be won!

Ihsaan de Banya of Richard Alston Dance Company is our March Dancer of the Month

Tips on technique: James Whitehead looks at vertical alignment

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham answers a reader’s question on rumba walks

Simon Selmon looks back at a swing dance classic, the film of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain reports on the Nordic Open

Jack Reavely remembers famous ballroom coaches “Madam” Ida Ilett and Sonny Binick

 Dance health: Debbie Malina looks at dance and social care, focusing on the work of Aesop and Rambert

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Plus news of Sadler’s Wells 20th anniversary, The Embroidery Girl, Peter Martins, Tamara Rojo, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bronislava Nijinska, New Adventures

Reviews of English National Ballet in La Sylphide and Le Jeune homme et la Mort, The Royal Ballet in Giselle, with Marianela Nuñez’s 20th anniversary and debuts from Francesca Hayward, Alexander Campbell, Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty with Delia Mathews and Brandon Lawrence, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Viktor, Strictly Come Dancing Live!, The Royal Ballet in The Winter’s Tale, Flamenco Festival London with Ana Morales, Úrusla and Tamara Lopez and Leonor Leal, Lost Dog Dance in Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage, Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Iolanthe at English National Opera

International reviews of Béjart Ballet Lausanne in La Flûte enchantée, the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Theatre in Johan Kobborg’s new staging of Don Quixote, New York City Ballet in Peter Walker’s dance odyssey, Malpaso Dance Company, Kadder Attou – Compagnie Accrorap, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in Dance Me, Stuttgart Ballet in Dances at a Gathering and Initials RBME, Royal Ballet Flanders in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Faust

Obituaries of Peter Brownlee, Elisabetta Terabust and Geraldine Stephenson

Education news of Duchy Ballet, One Dance UK, Groove Child dance syllabus, Paula Hunt stepping down from the Royal Academy of Dance, Prix de Lausanne 2018


The March 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



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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