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November 2018 issue

Posted on October 25, 2018

Slideshow Nov18

Our cover stars for the November 2018 issue are Elly Braund and Nicholas Shikkis of Richard Alston Dance Company, which has announced that it is to close in 2020. Alston has said he will seek new opportunities to make dance: we hope to see much more from him. Also this month, we look at preparations for going on pointe, hear about how one dance school met the changes from British Empire Dublin to the Irish Free State, and look forward to Strictly Come Dancing-related touring shows…



When can I go on pointe?

Rachel Rist continues her series on technique

“Most girls long to go on pointe, almost as soon as they start ballet training. Most mothers are keen to indulge their dancing daughters, and possibly themselves, by buying pointe shoes. Most teachers are keen to delay going on pointe until a strong technique is present. It’s a dilemma many teachers face as they try to hold back the dam of child and parent expectation with their professional knowledge that going on pointe too soon can be damaging…

“I use very structured criteria for assessing if someone is ready, if ever, to go on pointe. This is done in the studio for the child to understand why they may not go on pointe, when they might go on pointe and, if they are allowed on pointe, what they need to work on. By doing a rather clinical and open process, it removes the personal and the emotional element and is a professional approach that can be supported by an assessment. I have evolved this over the course of many years and teachers may want to adapt or shape it to their own classes…”

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From ballroom to brogues

Anna Mackey traces the fortunes of a Dublin dancing school through political change, which it matched by going from ballroom and ballet to Irish dancing

“Dancing was an integral part of state entertainment and the height of Dublin social life was to be invited to a ball in Dublin Castle. Dublin society – like London’s – was tightly-knit and laced with snobbery. Though an invitation to ‘the Castle’ could be achieved through careful networking, social climbers were frowned upon, newcomers were scrutinised and a faux pas – literally a wrong step – could expose one as an outsider and spell social disaster…. It is therefore of no surprise that the most celebrated satirists of London society – Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw – were both Dublin Protestants…”

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Strictly Wheels

With the World Para Dance Sport European Championships taking place this month in Poland, Nicola Rayner hears from the UK’s only top level Para Dance Sport couple, Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness

“Dancing in a wheelchair is a lot harder than it looks. ‘A big misconception, especially when you see, say, a Combi ballroom couple [a standing person and a wheelchair dancer], is that the wheelchair user is just being pulled along,’ says Gary. I would challenge anybody to sit in a wheelchair and try it. You need a lot of core strength and ability to control that chair in hold with your hands off the wheels.’

“Paula dances in a chair especially created for her by Roma Sport in Bridgend. ‘They’ve designed it so I can work it and turn it with one hand. It gives me support in my pelvis so I can sit in a secure seat,’ she says… ‘It’s very lightweight, although not as light as you might think because it has to take my weight and the forces you put on it in competition. When we do freestyle, it has to take Gary’s weight, too. He’ll climb on the chair, he might lie across me, or drop down from my shoulder…’”

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Also in the November issue…

Vikki Jane Vile highlights forthcoming tours by Strictly Come Dancing professionals

Graham Watts on dance in unexpected places, above and below ground

Dance health: Debbie Malina’s guide to organisations offering help for people experiencing mental health difficulties

Swing in style: Zoë Anderson on vintage fashion for dancers

Fátima Nollén reports on classical ballet in Mexico

English National Ballet’s Daniel McCormick is our November Dancer of the Month

Laura Dodge visits the Bodywork Company

Daniel Pratt looks at 2018’s World Ballet Day

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on the cha cha cha

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham on grading and expectations

Simon Selmon on live music for swing dancing

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain speaks to The Philippines’ new same-sex star, Exequiel Vargas

Jack Reavely remembers ballroom couple Len Colyer and Dorice Brace

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Plus News of Richard Alston Dance Company, a Legwear International Silky Dance tights giveaway, the International Championships, Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary season, Spring 2019 at Sadler’s Wells, One Dance UK report on Brexit, UK Theatre Awards, Knights of Illumination Awards, Photographers vs Prostate Cancer

Reviews of Northern Ballet in The Three Musketeers and new works by Morgann Runacre-Temple, Mlindi Kulashe and Kenneth Tindall, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, ZooNation – The Kate Prince Company in Sylvia, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in Contagion, Birmingham Royal Ballet in La Fille mal gardée, The King Dancesand Juanjo Arqués’ new Ignite, New English Ballet Theatre, Annie-B Parson and Big Dance Theater Company, Carlos Acosta: A Celebration, William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance, The Royal Ballet in Mayerling, Twelfth Night adapted by Kwame Kwei-Armah for the Old Vic

International reviews of Hong Kong Ballet, The Australian Ballet’s new Spartacus, the Royal Danish Ballet’s Carmen, the Défilé and Decadence at the Paris Opéra Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet in Milan, the Ballet of La Scala, Milan in Rudolf Nureyev’s  Don Quixote, new works at the Maryinsky Theatre, New York City Ballet’s Fashion Week gala

Obituaries of Arthur Mitchell and Beryl Morina

Education news of The Point training scheme, English National Ballet School, CDMT Careers Conference, International Choreography Competition Hannover, Hammond School, new artistic director at the Royal Academy of Dance, standardisation of auditions, One Dance UK, the Prix de Lausanne, Elmhurst Ballet School, RAD QEII award for Carlos Acosta

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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