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May 2015 issue

Posted on April 28, 2015



may2015squareThis month, we pay tribute to Mary Clarke, our beloved editor emeritus, and speak to our cover star, Aurélie Dupont, as she prepares to leave the stage of the Paris Opéra Ballet. In this issue, we also investigate adult amateur ballet, the recent Munich reconstruction of Paquita and more…


Letting go

aurelie-dupont-grabOn May 18, Aurélie Dupont retires as an étoile of the Paris Opéra Ballet in a performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon which will be transmitted live to cinemas around France. She tells Gerald Dowler about her career and her plans for the future…

“I was waiting for someone to help me change. As a form of self-protection, I had embarked on making myself as technically strong as I could, even though I am the exact opposite as a person. But deep down I wasn’t particularly happy with the self-imposed path I was taking and was subconsciously hoping for someone to help me change. Pina [Bausch] came to the Opéra to stage Rite of Spring and picked me to dance the Chosen Maiden. I thought she had selected me because of my strength but one day she came over to me and asked, ‘Do you know why I have chosen you?’ Of course, I said ‘no’ and she replied ‘for your weaknesses’. That completely nonplussed me and I thought, ‘How can someone who has just arrived here know me better than all the people who have known me for years?’…”

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Mary Clarke 1923 – 2015

mary-clarke-grabJonathan Gray, Clement Crisp and Jerome Monahan remember Mary Clarke, the dance writer, critic and editor of this magazine for 45 years.

“Early in World War II, Mary obtained a job at Reuters, where she must have honed her impeccable writing skills, and where she also wrote ‘reams about the ballet and dance companies I had seen in London’. She had an article published in the 1943 issue of Dancing Times – ‘a short piece deploring, with all the acerbity of youth, the advent of what I called The Literary Ballet… It was accepted and I was paid one pound.’…”

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Living the ballet dream

adult-amateur-ballet-grabLaura Dodge explores the increasing popularity of adult amateur ballet companies:

“‘Adult ballet is becoming more and more popular, but there aren’t enough opportunities to learn repertoire and perform,’ explains Tom Linecar-Boulton, former dancer and London Amateur Ballet artistic director. ‘Performing is what makes dancing dancing. Doing class is such a small part of ballet.

“‘Being in an amateur company is an opportunity to live the ballet dream… the LAB company members have really varied careers, from surgeons and barristers to full-time mums, but they love learning ballet in the evenings and at weekends. Dancing brings something special to life and being in a company means you’re part of a community with other people who share the same passion for dance.’”

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Also in the May issue…

Doug Fullington, expert in Stepanov notation, explains the detective work behind Paquita, which he and Alexei Ratmansky revived for the Bavarian State Ballet

Keeping the lions on their toes: Thea Nerissa Barnes describes her work as resident dance supervisor on the West End production of The Lion King

James Barton of Birmingham Royal Ballet wonders whether dancers should pay more attention to acting

Debbie Malina explores the origins of the Dance For Parkinson’s Network, including work by the Mark Morris Dance Group, Rambert and English National Ballet

English National Ballet’s Jinhao Zhang, winner of the latest English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Award, speaks to Margaret Willis

In Hercules, New Art Club take on the ancient Greek hero, finding room for hula-hooping and audience participation. Zoë Anderson finds out more

Plus news of The Royal Ballet 2015–16 season, UK dance training controversy, chances to win tickets to Billy Elliot The Musical and signed copies of Zoë Anderson’s The Ballet Lover’s Companion, Olivier awards and South Bank Sky Arts Awards nominations, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Award and the gala for Ann Maguire; reviews of Birmingham Royal Ballet in Serenade and Carmina burana, The Royal Ballet in Hofesh Shechter, Balanchine, MacMillan and Swan Lake, Candoco Dance Company in Jérôme Bel, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance’s La Bayadère – The Ninth Life, Robert Cohan at 90, Scottish Dance Theatre in Miann, National Youth Dance Company, Hong Kong Ballet in Turandot and The Sleeping Beauty, Liam Scarlett’s Carmen for Norwegian National Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet and its School, The Indian Queen at English National Opera, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, a gala for Viktoria Tereshkina in St Petersburg, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance in New York,  book and DVD reviews, dance education news and more.

The May issue is in stores – including branches of WH Smith – now, 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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