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October 2017 issue

Posted on September 28, 2017

This month’s issue has a strong focus on women in dance, from flamenco superstar Rocío Molina to new Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas, The Royal Ballet’s Nathalie Harrison, who reflects on dance and motherhood, and a group of women making names for themselves in the often male-dominated world of hip hop…

Strictly Shirley

New judge Shirley Ballas talks Strictly Come Dancing with Marianka Swain

“As a highly respected ballroom adjudicator and coach, will Shirley be a tough judge on Strictly? ‘I love creativity and thinking outside the box – as long as it’s balanced with very, very good technique. Technique isn’t just legs and feet, it’s how you’re moving through space and using your inner core and body to express the dance. I’ll be looking at everything.

“‘Ed Balls was absolutely fascinating: a non-dancer who went in without a lot of confidence and came out shining as this wonderful entertainer. So I can be forgiving of some shortcomings if they make it up in other ways… One of my great strengths is taking difficult technical ideas and putting them in layman’s terms, so the general person watching this understands. Dancers and non-dancers share in this show, so I want people to get me and know what I’m trying to tell that celebrity. I want to be constructive and also very encouraging, but if they come back the following week and no attention has been paid to my comments, the talons might come out!’”

Marianka Swain reports on each week’s Strictly Come Dancing on her blog, Strictly Speaking.

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Unknown territory

Zoë Anderson meets our cover star, Rocío Molina

“‘I first got on stage aged three,’ she remembers, ‘and I haven’t stopped working since… I sat my family down, at age seven, and told them, ‘I want to make a career out of this, so I’m going to need training to be able to do that.’

“How did her family respond? ‘They knew, because I was dancing every weekend from the age of four to seven. They even said, occasionally, “Don’t worry, you don’t need to dance if you don’t want to, it’s just a bit of fun”. I said, “No, this is very serious.” From the age of ten, that was my life: going to school and training, eating in the car and dancing some more…”

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The future is female

Marianka Swain investigates women in hip hop

“‘You’re usually the token girl – it’s rare to have a gender mixed crew… [reports hip hop dancer Emma Houstoun]. It doesn’t have to be like that. I was in Stockholm recently, and a guy there was surprised, saying he had girls in his crew and they had equal status. In the UK, it’s more likely that a crew takes an inexperienced boy to nurture rather than an experienced girl’…

“Female hip hop dancers are superbly showcased by Kate Prince’s ZooNation. ‘I worked in the music industry, and realised these dancers were more talented than the artists they were dancing behind – like Teneisha Bonner, who’s so expressive,’ explains Prince. ‘I did have problems running a rehearsal room with men who didn’t like that a woman was in charge – actually I still do!’”

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Also in the October issue…

The Royal Ballet’s Nathalie Harrison on returning to the stage after maternity leave

Jonathan Gray interviews Frank Andersen, who is staging La Sylphide for English National Ballet

Nicola Rayner hears from new Strictly professionals Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova and Amy Dowden

Talking Point: Neil Norman asks if live ballet performances work as cinema

Elly Braund of Richard Alston Dance Company is our Dancer of the Month

From tsar to commissar: in the first of a three-part series, Gerald Dowler looks at ballet and the Russian Revolution

The blame game: dance psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt tells Nicola Rayner how social dance can become antisocial

Cork City Ballet celebrates its 25th anniversary

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on the cha cha cha

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, continues his look at head weight

Simon’s guide to swing: a new edition of lindy hop queen Norma Miller’s autobiography

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain reports on the European championships

Notes from the dance floor: Blackpool Dance Festival China

Dance health: Debbie Malina on injury prevention

Somewhere in time: Jack Reavely remembers some characters from a golden age of ballroom

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Plus reviews of Maria Pagés Company, Nederlands Dans Theater, Rosas in Rain, dance at the Edinburgh Fringe, Iceland Dance Company’s Sacrifice, Hofesh Shechter Company’s Grand Finale, The Royal Ballet reopening Hull’s New Theatre, Salad Days at the Union Theatre and Follies at the National Theatre

International reviews of the Maryinsky Ballet in Ilya Zhivoi’s the Four Seasons and Vladimir Varnava’s Yaroslavna. The Eclipse, Biarritz’s Le Temps d’aimer la danse festival, The Australian Ballet in George Balanchine and more

Obituaries of Janine Charrat and Bruce Forsyth

News of English National Ballet, dance at the BFI London Film Festival, World Ballet Day, social dance at Southbank Centre, the UK Theatre Awards, new Nureyev biopic The White Crow, Cardiff Dance Festival, plans for Woolwich Creative District

Education news from Bird College, English National Ballet School, DanceEast’s Challenge 1000, English Folk Dance and Song Society, the RAD’s Genée 2017, EDge at The Place

 

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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