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May 2018 issue

Posted on April 30, 2018

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In the May 2018 issue, Dancing Times travels the world – from Staatsballett Berlin to dance in Chile, from Blackpool Dance Festival to ten years of Ballet Theatre UK, plus our regular reporting from France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, Russia and the US…







A decade of growth

David Mead on ten years of Ballet Theatre UK

“New ballet companies come along rarely. Few manage to be full-time and even fewer manage to survive more than a few years. So, it’s no mean achievement that Ballet Theatre UK (BTUK), based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, should be celebrating its tenth anniversary.

“Now with 16 dancers, BTUK was born out of founder and artistic director Christopher Moore wanting to increase opportunities for graduates leaving UK vocational schools, a wish to raise awareness of classical dance and as a creative outlet for himself. The company had something of a premature birth. Moore had planned to launch in 2009, but late the previous year he received a call from the Arlington Arts Centre in Newbury where a Russian company had cancelled, leaving Christmas dates unfilled. Typical of his ‘can do’ approach, ‘Leave it with me and I’ll get it sorted,’ he remembers saying.

“Today, BTUK travels the length and breadth of England and Wales, staging 12 to 15 performances a month at mid-scale regional theatres…”

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Backstage at Blackpool

Behind the scenes at ballroom’s best-loved festival with James Whitehead

“Marcus Hilton, the dance festival chairman of adjudicators, also picked out [the 90th anniversary Parade of Champions] as a moment he recalls very fondly. ‘A few years ago, when I introduced all the champions of the present and the past for The Champions’ Parade and when they all stood on the floor in that big curve, goose bumps went up and down my spine and my voice choked as I announced the wonderful Bill Irvine, Bobbie Irvine and then Peter Eggleton, as he walked onto the floor and joined the past champions of this hallowed championships on the hallowed floor of the Empress Ballroom and the Winter Gardens; so, so special!’

“The chairman is a very visible role at the festival, an important voice that helps to create the feel of the competition. Marcus took advice from a famous BBC news broadcaster, who told him always to be well prepared, not drink too much coffee and hydrate with water as much as possible to help keep his voice going over the entire festival period…”

Don’t forget, we have a special alternate cover for this month’s Blackpool Dance Festival – get your free copy from the DSI stand at the Winter Gardens.

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Life is a dream

Kim Brandstrup tells Zoë Anderson about his new work for Rambert

“‘I used to have a reputation for doing narrative works,’ Brandstrup explains, ‘but I’ve also thought narrative is very, very difficult in dance. My process is always that if you have a source story, you have to reduce it to a few physical actions, interactions. Two, maybe three people. You cannot do it any other way. It has to be very one-to-one focus, where you understand what’s going on – otherwise, it relies too much on the programme note.’

“…He also praises the dancers’ approach to the work itself. ‘I’ve always felt it’s the body, it’s the physical that has to speak. Of course, you have to engage your imagination in your work, but this has to be physical. I feel all these dancers work that way, they start in that place. Of course, all great dancers do that, the great classical dancers do it as well. There is convention, in classical ballets – moments when it’s just gesture, it’s not physical. This feeling that everything must be embodied, to come across – that’s what I feel I can do with these contemporary dancers… Sometimes it’s nice that they don’t ask, ‘What does this mean?’ They just do it, and it’s in the doing that it reveals itself.’

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Also in the May 2018 issue

All change: Margaret Willis meets Johannes Öhman, the incoming co-director of Staatsballett Berlin

A prince among men: Matthew Bourne pays tribute to the late Scott Ambler

Dancers get cancer too: Lee Knights explains how her dance community supported her through cancer treatment

British Amateur Latin dancers Lloyd Perry and Rebecca Scott talk to Nicola Rayner

Talking Point: Jonzi Don hip hop dance theatre

Fátima Nollén on Chile’s Ballet de Santiago and the Ballet Nacional Chileno

Jenny Veldhuis highlights the dance course of the Royal Conservatoire of Music, based in The Hague

 Tips on technique: James Whitehead celebrates the paso doble

Technique clinic: Phil Meachamon delivering the goods

Alex Harrison, currently appearing in Cats, is our May Dancer of the Month

Swing dance: Simon Selmon on three days in the life of a teacher

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain previews the Paris Gay Games

Jack Reavely remembers the first Ballroom Dancers Federation congress

Dance health: Debbie Malina looks at Performing Medicine, which uses arts techniques to help healthcare professionals be more considered – and compassionate – in their approach

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Plus news of Marianela Nuñez DVD competitionMerce at 100, Korean dance at The Place, Birmingham International Dance Festival, National Association of Teachers of Dancing Congress, Lea Anderson and Scottee, Step Change Studios, Choreodrome 2018, Brandon Lawrence and Katya Jones join Dancing Times at MOVE IT

Reviews of Hamilton, The Royal Ballet in Bernstein and Manon, Motionhouse, Richard Alston Dance Company, Scottish Ballet in Highland Fling, National Youth Dance Company, English National Ballet in William Forsythe and more

International reviews of Marie-Agnès Gillot at the Paris Opéra Ballet, Dance On Ensemble, Roberto Bolle in Béjart at La Scala, St Petersburg galas for Boris Eifman and the Mikhailovsky Ballet, the Homage à Petipafestival, Tulsa Ballet in New York, Dada Masilo’s Giselle, Richard Siegel’s BOD, Ballet of Difference, Sarasota Ballet in Frederick Ashton and David Bintley, American Ballet Theatre in Hong Kong, Dutch National Ballet’s Dutch Doubles, Norwegian National Ballet, The Washington Ballet in Ashton, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins

Obituary of Ivor Guest

Education news of K S Dance, Déda, Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre, Ballet Central, Phyllis Bedells Bursary


The May 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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