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November 2015 issue

Posted on October 30, 2015

squarenovember 2015


squarenovember-2015There’s an international slant to November’s Dancing Times, with features on the Peking Opera, British male dancers working overseas and a report from the International Championships in ballroom and Latin dance. Our cover stars are The Royal Ballet’s Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball, whose debuts as the star-crossed lovers of Romeo and Juliet are reviewed this month.

The Lost Boys?

lost-boys-grabGrowing numbers of British male dancers have left to pursue successful careers abroad. Should we worry that so much home-grown talent is leaving the UK? Gerald Dowler speaks to Alexander Jones, William Moore, David Moore, Robert Robinson, Gregory Dean and Xander Parish…

“Gerald Dowler: Why do you think there are relatively so few British principals in UK companies?

“Xander Parish: I know that it’s not for lack of talent – from my class alone there are now soloists and principals in companies from New York to Zurich, but whereas companies abroad are more inclined to nurture and develop their own talent, in the UK, companies have been known to employ an off the shelf, ready-made dancer who’s had experience already and they are brought in above the Brits who have been in the corps de ballet for a while. In doing that, they take the roles those Brits would have used to learn their craft…’”

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Ryan and Ksenia

ksenia-grabAlison Gallagher-Hughes speaks to Ksenia Zsikhotska, leading Latin competitor, about her partnership with Ryan McShane:

“It took time for the partnership to gel… Over time, however, they brought a little of each other’s positive traits to the other: Ryan’s drive and forward thinking and Ksenia’s more considered approach. It worked well creatively and personally, and over time they became a couple off the dance floor, too.

“‘A dance relationship is like a marriage from the outset,’ says Ksenia. ‘Your lives are suddenly merged together with lessons, practice and travelling. At first we would contradict each other, so there was lots of “don’t do that” or “you did this”, and we had to learn to manage that to bring out the positives. We found there were aspects of personality that complemented each other. For example, Ryan doesn’t let anything stand in his way, he’ll say yes to new opportunities whereas I tend to think things through. We balance each other out…”

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All dressed up, but is there anywhere to go?

peking-opera-grabAs the Peking Opera prepares to visit Liverpool and London, Graham Watts meets its star, Hu Wenge – amid a constant stream of fans…

“I doubt there could have been more fuss had I been chatting to Justin Bieber on the forecourt of Waterloo Station. The analogy is relevant since Hu left his original career with the Qinqiang opera (a regional operatic style from Shaanxi province in north-west China) to carve a career as China’s first cross-dressing pop star in the 1990s.

“That openness took courage and has done much to make Hu such an interesting and popular figure in the social and political landscape of modern China and so revered by the Chinese diaspora around the world. His status is explained to me by one of the Chinese staff in his entourage: ‘It was so brave to go on stage as a pop star, dressed as a woman, in those days. Many people could not accept it but – amazingly – those in power did nothing to stop him. It changed popular attitudes to gay rights, especially among young Chinese people….’”

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Also in the November 2015 issue

DanceEast’s Brendan Keaney considers what artists can gain from some peace and quiet

Win! Copies of Romeo and Juliet on DVD, starring Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev

Laura Dodge visits Millennium Performing Arts

Nicola Rayner meets the founder of Simply Dancing Partners, a UK dance school that provides an expert partner for every client

Luke Jennings talks to ballerina Antoinette Sibley about her early training and career with The Royal Ballet

James Whitehead looks at Latin partnering in Tips on technique

Phil Meacham explores using your head in ballroom and Latin

Simon Selmon on high-energy swing style the Shag

Jack Reavely remembers the first International Championships

Margaret Willis interviews Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Brandon Lawrence

Debbie Malina concludes her health guide for dancers


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Plus news of honours for the dance world, Strictly Come Dancing’s live tour, a new Charleston record, opportunities at Dance East, Matthew Bourne and more

Reviews of Royal Ballet Romeos and Juliets Matthew Ball and Yasmine Naghdi and Vadim Muntagirov and Sarah Lamb, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Cas Public’s Symphonie dramatique, Hofesh Shechter Company’s #Hofest, including barbarians, Political Mother and Orphée et Eurydice, Scottish Ballet in Maze, Motion of Displacement and Elsa Canasta, Alessandra Ferri in Chéri, Birmingham Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, Lea Anderson’s Ladies and Gentlemen, Company Wang Ramirez’s Borderline, The Royal Ballet in Raven Girl and Connectome, Aakash Odedra’s new double bill, Kinky Boots in the West End, Norwegian National Ballet in Manon, Alexei Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty at La Scala, Ballet am Rhein in Forsythe, Ashton and Van Manen, the Mikhailovsky Ballet in Le Corsaire, premieres from Kim Brandstrup, Myles Thatcher, Robert Binet, Craig Schumacher and Justin Peck at New York City Ballet;

Reports from the International Championships at Brentwood and the Royal Albert Hall, same-sex competition the Vienna Dance Contest, World Amateur Allstars at Dance Options Cheam and Night of 100 Stars

the latest book and DVD releases including the Royal Danish Ballet in Napoli, Berlin State Ballet in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Caravaggio and National Ballet of Canada in Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow, Stephanie Jordan’s Mark Morris, musician – choreographer, Lois Greenfield photographs collected in Lois Greenfield: Moving Still and more

education news, including reports from the Genée International Ballet Competition, the National Youth Ballet gala and end-of-year shows from SLP College and Bird College



The November issue is now in stores – 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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