Posted on March 1, 2022
This month’s magazine is all about everything new in the dance world – new productions, new tours, new buildings and new dance champions. Within these pages, you can hear from choreographers Kyle Abraham and Marco Goecke, whose work can be seen in the UK during March, discover the names of the winners of the UK Open Championships in Bournemouth, take a look at the new headquarters of the Royal Academy of Dance with its CEO Luke Rittner, and read about the shows that Strictly Come Dancing professionals Giovanni Pernice and Johannes Radebe are about to launch following their success in the 2021 series of Strictly. This month also sees the return of MOVE IT to London’s ExCeL after an absence of two years, so why not come and meet some of the magazine team on Stand 212?
Finally, on behalf of all the staff and the readers of Dancing Times, I would like to wish many congratulations to our regular contributor Simon Selmon, whose wife Anna gave birth to a baby boy on February 14.
“MP: What can you share about your upcoming commission for The Royal Ballet?
“KA: We are working with two casts of 11. Creating on a large company like The Royal Ballet, in which the dancers are potentially doing five different ballets within a day, it takes a different mind-set. Knowing that everyone’s coming from different rehearsals into your shared space. There’s a sense of responsibility as a choreographer, a different pressure than normal.
“MP: Did you need to take casting advice?
“KA: No, not necessarily. Kevin [O’Hare] is a wonderfully supportive person. He tells me I can do whatever I want, but will also make me aware of the rankings. He’s always very open, and considerate of any casting questions or thoughts that I have during the process.
“The cast is really all over the map. The roles they play in the work are not dependent on hierarchy. I focus on who is connecting with the language, material, and who’s interested in exploring.”
“I tell him that Dancing Times has supported same-sex dancing with its column, Stepping Out, for more than a decade and that everyone at the magazine is extremely pleased to see same-sex partnerships on Strictly at last. What did it feel like to be part of such an exceptional final, up against Rose Ayling-Ellis, the show’s first deaf contestant? ‘I mean, I was a mess. Every week. You saw me: people were like, “Johannes, can you stop crying?” My mum said, “It would be nice just to watch the show without seeing tears pour down your cheeks.” She doesn’t like to see me cry, because she can’t hug me. I think she wanted to know where those tears came from. It has healed my relationship with her: we never used to speak about my sexuality… because as Africans we don’t open up about things like that, so that has always been something that has been looming over our relationship.
“It’s something we’ve never talked about,” he continues, “and my partnership with John allowed me and my mum to have an open, honest conversation about my life. I’m so grateful for that and, if my relationship with my mother has improved, can you imagine how it’s also helped people watching? I’m so proud and that is why I cried every single week. When I was standing there with John, waiting for the elimination, and we heard that we’d made it through, that was because there were people at home, supporting and voting for two men dancing together on national primetime television. That’s what got to me every time. For me, it was beautiful, because I just thought we have progressed as a society, we have progressed as people, and it’s the most beautiful thing to watch, because we both know that ten years ago this would have never gone down well.”
“Everything was going swimmingly until COVID-19 hit us [The Royal Academy of Dance]. It was a very difficult time, as I was very conscious that I would be stepping down as CEO at some point. We had paid off all our debts and mortgages, and were making a modest surplus in profit – in 2019 we were in a better financial state than I think we had ever been before. I was about to leave with the RAD in a tip-top state, or so I thought.
“Suddenly, just as we were about to celebrate our centenary, everything got cancelled. It was awful to bring to a halt our first-ever ‘Fonteyn’ competition [The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition, the new title of the former Adeline Genée International Ballet Competition], plus, overnight, our income stopped. I wasn’t sure the RAD was going to survive. However, we had an amazing response from the staff. Moving online kept the business going, and all the video exams became an important lifeline. We had to cut expenditure, and the staff took pay cuts – we threw everything at surviving. The government’s furlough scheme, and the Cultural Recovery Fund kept us going. Without them, we would be in a very different situation today.”
Laura Cappelle asks for integrity in new stagings of the 19th-century classics
Nicola Rayner interviews Giovanni Pernice about his new tour
Martin Cutler reports on the UK Open Championships in Bournemouth
Jeannette Andersen speaks to German-born choreographer Marco Goecke, whose work can be seen in the UK this month
Debbie Malina looks at the importance of hydration for dancers
Barbara Newman reviews Moulin Rouge! in the West End and Theodora at Covent Garden
James Whitehead considers the samba
Laura Cappelle attends a new version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by the Ballet du Rhin
Phil Meacham looks at timing in the jive
Margaret Willis interviews Emmitt Crawley of NDT2, our Dancer of the Month
Simon Selmon celebrates a special anniversary
Igor Stupnikov sees works by Leonid Yakobson in St Petersburg
Pete Meager previews the EuroGames 2022
Jack Reavely remembers a dance event in 1950
Leigh Witchel watches performances by New York City Ballet and Fist and Heel Performance
Ballet Black celebrates 20 years, Federico Bonelli to become new director of Northern Ballet, Ballet Cymru, Dance International Glasgow Festival, Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance Creations on tour, choreography by Marikiscrycrycry at Battersea Arts Centre, Birmingham Royal Ballet announces plans for 2022–23, Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined, animated film based on Coppelia released, Serge Diaghilev anniversary, Betty Laine retires from Laine Theatre Arts, dancer promotions at English National Ballet and New York City Ballet; Reviews of live performances from Acosta Danza, Ballett am Rhein, The Royal Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Strictly Live, Suresnes Cités Danse, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, T.H.E Dance Company, Zürich Ballet; Ezio Frigerio, Tatiana Legat and Jeanne T Newlin remembered in Obituaries; New things to try in Products; Prix de Lausanne results, Royal Ballet School Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme, Ballet Academy Cymru, London Children’s Ballet, Royal Academy of Dance’s new building to open this month; Calendar dates for performances in the UK and abroad; Where to learn to dance in the UK; We look back to March 1982