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November 2016 issue

Posted on November 1, 2016

November 2016 e1478100643296

This month, we look back at the creation of La Fille mal gardée, with the first in a series of extracts from the unpublished memoirs of Nadia Nerina, the first Lise in Frederick Ashton’s ballet. Our cover features The Royal Ballet’s Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, two of the most recent stars to dance the ballet’s leading roles – who were, our editor Jonathan Gray writes, “playfurl, carefree and musical… full of sunny personality and humanity.” Also this month, we speak to Strictly Come Dancing’s Neil and Katya Jones, explore dance for young people and more…


Keeping up with the Joneses

jones-grab-1jones-grab-2Nicola Rayner speaks to Strictly Come Dancing professionals Neil and Katya Jones:







“Katya has been paired with former shadow chancellor Ed Balls… She is full of praise for her partner. ‘After being a politician for so many years you’ve got to be quite brave to go and do something like Strictly Come Dancing. I adore that: he gives it a go and gives it 100 per cent and I see that in practice.’

“As for his strengths and weaknesses, she says: “The thing is, he’s very determined. Even if he’s struggling he’ll never give up. He goes at it and just wants to make it right, but then,’ she laughs, ‘the shoulder shimmy, he wasn’t that good at…’

“Although Ed’s Charleston was very funny, his partner is wary of going down the ‘comedy’ route. ‘He absolutely doesn’t want to do it for a laugh,’ says Katya, who, so far, has given Balls plenty of choreographic content to work with. ‘You’ve got to show he’s actually trying…’”

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The creation of La Fille mal gardée

nerina-grabIn the first of several instalments from Nadia Nerina’s unpublished memoirs, the ballerina remembers working with choreographer Frederick Ashton:

“Fred’s creative inspiration flowed so easily that rehearsals went quickly. He would say: ‘David [Blair, the first Colas], I want Nadia to look like smoke floating above your head,’ and wishing to please, David would try lifting me this way and that until Fred would say excitedly, ‘That’s almost what I want, but turn her more to the right and, Nadia, hold your arms in this or that position.’ With his creative genius he would transform the lift into something glorious. Working with Ashton was a most satisfying experience, as part of his creativity was to allow his artists to express their own personalities. He never tired to impose his will against their artistic temperaments; on the contrary, because of the marvellous alchemy of his talents, the artists flowered and created what he had in mind in their own way…

“The only shadow during the whole production, as far as I was concerned, was when Osbert Lancaster showed Fred and me his original concept drawings for Lise’s costumes. The dresses were stiff and in brilliant reds and greens. To my surprise and theirs, I burst into tears. The colours were those of the cheeky and wilful Swanilda [in Coppélia], not of the gentle Lise. I could not interpret Lise’s character in such sharp colours. Costumes are crucial to the interpretation of any role. I knew that to create Lise I had to wear dresses which were sympathetic to her character…”

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Young at heart

dance-for-children-grabFamily audiences are becoming a major priority for dance companies and creatives, Marianka Swain discovers

“Choreographer Jasmin Vardimon hopes her new version of Pinocchio will appeal to a wide age range. ‘The original book is pretty dark and asks questions that we all think about, like the role of education and what it means to be human. It’s been interesting drawing on a set narrative, rather than creating from scratch, and finding imaginative ways of retelling the story.’

“When the show premiered at Kent’s International Family Festival, Vardimon was ‘astonished by the engagement of the young audience. They came up afterwards, asking lots of interesting questions – it’s a reminder that the power of art can contribute to childhood development. The darkness wasn’t a problem for them, and actually theatre helps you deal with those subjects in a safe place…’”

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Also in the November issue…

 Together for dance Images from the gala held in aid of One Dance UK

Igor Stupnikov interviews Mikhail Messerer of the Mikhailovsky Ballet

Who owns a dance work? Francis Yeoh looks at the copyright of choreography

Margaret Willis interviews The Royal Ballet’s Reece Clarke, our dancer of the month

We preview Noir et Blanc – the black wave in Paris in the 1920s, a new exhibition at Dansmuseet, Stockholm

A family affair: Lee Knights on the related styles and rhythms of salsa

Talking Point: Graham Spicer argues that dancers should pay more attention to other art forms

Alison Gallagher-Hughes meets the stewards of the Blackpool Dance Festival

Tips on technique: James Whitehead’s advice for a light, energised quickstep

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, on the connection between partners

Zoë Anderson speaks to curator Alexandra Gerstein about The Courtauld Gallery’s new exhibition Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement

Simon Selmon remembers swing star Dawn Hampton

Jack Reavely on dancer and judge Alex Warren

Debbie Malina speaks to physiotherapists about dancers working through pain, and how they can protect themselves from injury

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Plus news of the 2017 Sadler’s Wells season, a chance to win tickets to see English National Ballet’s Mary Skeaping production of Giselle, Alexei Ratmansky’s new ballet Whipped Cream, Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern, Ben Wright’s new work for village halls, Cork City Ballet’s Giselle, same sex dance and the British Dance Council, Jay Jolley, Michael Hulls and Carlos Acosta


Reviews of Rosie Kay Dance Company in Double Points: K and Motel, The Royal Ballet in La Fille mal gardée, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in The Last Tango, Yorke Dance Project in works by Kenneth MacMillan and Charlotte Edmonds, Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Tempest and an all-Shakespeare triple bill, Avant Garde Dance in Fagin’s Twist, 2Faced Dance in Run

 International reviews of dance and fashion at New York City Ballet, Lar Lubovich’s NY Quadrilles season, the Bavarian State Ballet in Giselle, Hong Kong Ballet’s Choreographers’ Showcase, Royal New Zealand Ballet in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Washington Ballet’s 40th anniversary gala

Reports from the UK Fun Competition, the World Amateur Allstars at Dance Options, Cheam and the first Salsa Amor Cymru Weekender

Education news of National Youth Ballet, the Council for Dance Education and Training, Verve, Medallist of the Year of the National Association of Teachers of Dancing, Elmhurst Ballet School, the Royal Ballet School, London Studio Centre, Solo Dance Theatre Festival and Ballet Central

The November 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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