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November 2017 issue

Posted on October 27, 2017

Slideshow Nov17

This month, we report on anniversary tributes to the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, from Bradford and London to Houston, Texas, speak to our cover star, the ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, and offer in-depth analysis on the International Dance Championships at the Royal Albert Hall…

A chat in the sun

Margaret Willis talks to ballerina Svetlana Zakharova about her career and her upcoming London performances…

“I miss my [Maryinsky Ballet] coach Olga Moiseyeva greatly. She was more than someone I worked with in the studio – she was like the mother figure of my ballet career. However, at the Bolshoi, I’m now under the wing of Ludmilla Semenyaka, who has been guiding me all these years. She also comes from the Vaganova Academy and the Kirov [Maryinsky] Ballet, so we have a lot in common and retain the qualities of that training.

“Yes, I know I have a reputation for not wanting to have people watching my rehearsals in the studio, but for me it is a closed process, a moment of intimacy where a lot of small moments are prepared. Concentration is so important and I need every moment of my time with Ludmilla to concentrate on details and emotion. I don’t want to feel I’m performing for an audience during a rehearsal, especially if it’s people I don’t know…”

In this month’s magazine, we have a chance to win a copy of the DVD box set The Art of Svetlana Zakharova at the Bolshoi

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International treasure

Reporting from the International Championships, Nicola Rayner finds surprises and sparkle at the Royal Albert Hall

“It’s a social event as well as a competitive one, with everybody who’s everybody out and about. Entering the building, I bumped into head judge of Strictly Come Dancing, Shirley Ballas, looking as fabulous as you might imagine, and that rather set the tone for a night full of Strictly stars, competitive drama and even a proposal on the dance floor at the end of the Carnival Interlude, the social dancing break before the grand finals. In a cinematic moment, the crowd gathered around the happy couple cheering as they locked in a passionate embrace.

“The second biggest surprise of the night was last year’s winners Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva, from the US, coming third in Professional Ballroom. There was an audible gasp from the spectators at the announcement of this result. Victor and Anastasia were pipped to the post by England’s Andrea Ghigiarelli and Sara Andracchio in second place and former seven-time champions Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova, from the US, returning to retrieve their crown…”

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Mayerling, Texas

Jonathan Gray travelled to Houston, a city recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, to see a new production of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Mayerling

“…as if the ballet’s plot was not dramatic enough, another drama in the shape of the catastrophic, climatic events caused by Hurricane Harvey almost led to its cancellation. On August 26, less than a month before the opening night of Houston Ballet’s 2017–18 season, flooding caused by torrential rain devastated sections of the city and the surrounding areas. Residential homes and businesses were badly affected, with many people left homeless. Driving into the city a few weeks later, it was impossible not to notice the extent of the destruction, with the furniture and contents of people’s homes piled up outside in the street, and the still-sodden fields close to the airport not yet dried out by the strong Texan sun.

“…the damage done to the company’s home stage, just across the road at The Wortham Theater Center, was serious. With the venue now closed for repairs until at least May of next year, it became apparent it simply was not possible for Mayerling to be performed there… a solution was at hand in the form of The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts… I can’t have been the only person attending the opening night of the ballet with trepidation. In fact, there was no need to worry, as the company rose to the occasion in the best ‘show must go on’ spirit…”

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Also in the November issue…

Nicola Rayner interviews Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Oti Mabuse

Gerald Dowler’s series on ballet and the Russian Revolution continues with a look at directors and choreographers

English National Ballet’s Aitor Arrieta is our Dancer of the Month

Graham Watts reports on the Despertares gala in México City, held shortly before the September 19 earthquake

Akram Khan tells Zoë Anderson about his new show XENOS and the Darbar Festival of classical Indian performance

Dance health: Debbie Malina on coping with bunions

Zoë Anderson on three dance documentariesAnatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer on Marcelo Gomes, Restless Creature on Wendy Whelan and Rebels on Pointe on Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – at London’s Raindance Festival

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on the tango

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham whirls through the Viennese waltz

In his guide to swing, Simon Selmon ponders the history of the dance, and what we can learn from it

Marianka Swain speaks to Pete Meager on the future of same-sex dance

Somewhere in time: Jack Reavely remembers ballroom star Henry Jacques

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Plus reviews of Acosta Danza’s debut programme, Kenneth MacMillan celebrations from Northern Ballet, Scottish Ballet, English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Company Wayne McGregor in Autobiography, Cockfight, BalletBoyz in Fourteen Days, English National Ballet in La Sylphide, Natalie Lowe in Rip it Up, the Ballroom Dancers Federation’s Night of One Hundred Stars, François Testory in Medea, Written in Rage, English National Opera’s Aida

 International reviews of the Paris Opéra Ballet and a programme by one of its stars François Alu, the National Ballet of Canada, the Mikhailovsky Ballet in Cinderella, New York City Ballet in new works, Twyla Tharp Dance, Hong Kong Ballet in Don Quixote and more, White Dance Theatre’s Eros Thanatos, Norwegian National Ballet in Hedda Gabler

Obituary of Tamara Tchinarova

News of Sadler’s Wells, social dance at Bishopsgate Institute, Mark Bruce’s new Macbeth, Hofesh Shechter, access to the arts and a Royal Ballet reunion

Education news of Step LIVE!, Rambert School, CDET Careers Conference, London Contempoary Dance School, English National Ballet School


The October 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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