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October 2018 issue

Posted on October 2, 2018

Slideshow Oct18

We start the autumn with a packed October 2018 issue of Dancing Times, including a view of Disney’s new Nutcracker-inspired film, interviews with Strictly Come Dancing’s new pros Luba Mushtuk and Johannes Radebe, a tribute to choreographer Paul Taylor and more…


Disney’s Nutcracker

Mindy Aloff introduces The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a new film by Disney

“Disney’s 1940 Fantasia, a revue of animated numbers to well-known orchestral compositions, does contain a sequence set to one of the musical suites Tchaikovsky devised from his 1892 two-act ballet… The animation, replete with special effects, brilliantly links the music with hand-drawn visual imagery such as drops of dew sliding down branches and figure skating ice fairies…

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is much more conventional: it tells a story that purports to be a version of the tale moviegoers are likely to know from the many balletic staging’s. Indeed, the advertising campaign makes it clear that your pleasure in the movie is expected to hinge on your familiarity with the ballet: ‘The legend you know has a dark side,’ one of the trailers reads. We are also reminded that this Nutcracker is being brought to us by the studio that released the 2014 live-action Maleficent (more or less based on Charles Perrault’s 1697 version of The Sleeping Beauty and Walt Disney’s 1959 animation of the fairy tale, but in the ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ manner of the Broadway show Wicked)…”

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Paul Taylor

Jonathan Gray pays tribute to the choreographer, who died on August 29 at the age of 88

“Tall, blond and athletic, Taylor had a strong stage presence, and was quickly in demand as a dancer, first with [Merce] Cunningham’s company from 1953 (he created a role in Septet), then with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1955 to 1962. Graham created roles for him such as Aegisthus in Clytemnestra and the Stranger in Embattled Garden, and he also appeared in Episodes, the joint work made by Graham and George Balanchine in 1959 in which the latter made a solo on Taylor.

“Whilst he was so prominent as a dancer, Taylor was also choreographing and, in 1954, founded his own ensemble – The Paul Taylor Dance Company – for which he collaborated with the artist Robert Rauschenberg. Like Taylor at the time, Rauschenberg worked as a window dresser at Tiffany’s, and the pair made Jack and the Beanstalk,Three Epitaphs and Seven New Dances together, Rauschenberg designing the sets and costumes. This was during a period when Taylor was exploring in movement the idea that dance could be ‘anything’, including everyday gestures, which at the time was seen as highly controversial, but that Taylor would later develop in works such as Esplanade which, as has been pointed out by dance critic Alastair Macaulay, contains no formal dance steps…”

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New kids on the block

Nicola Rayner hears from two of the new professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing, Luba Mushtuk and Johannes Radebe

“When I ask him about his development as a dancer, Johannes, who is warm and very friendly, laughs and tells me to settle in for a long story. ‘I come from a very small town, a township called Zamdela, where there was nothing much for youngsters to do,’ he begins. ‘The only popular sport in the community was soccer. One day I came back from school and asked where my friends were and was told they were at the recreation hall, where there was a dance school opening – and I ran!

“‘I got there and the ballroom couple who were hosting the audition were dressed up with their make-up and hair done and everything. For me, as a black boy growing up in a township, I was attracted by the beauty and the elegance of it. The sequins were shining; I was in heaven. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I knew it was something I really wanted to do…’”

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Also in the October issue…

Nicola Rayner on Battle of the Ballroom, a new style of dance competition

Latin America in the UK Fátima Nollén concludes her roundtable discussion with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s César Morales, Rambert’s Miguel Altunaga and The Royal Ballet’s Leticia Stock, Isabella Gasparini and Fernando Montaño

Lee Knights concludes her series on bone health for dancers, examining the best nutrition to keep bones strong

The Royal Ballet’s Gina Storm-Jensen is our October Dancer of the Month

Jann Parry on Rhythm and Colour,a new study of three glamorous and almost-forgotten dancers of the 1920s and 1930s

Rachel Rist continues her series on technique, examining a growth mindset in teaching dance

Talking Point: The Royal Ballet’s Melissa Hamilton on dancing in ballets by Kenneth MacMillan

Paul Arrowsmith on Norman Morrice, choreographer and director of both Rambert and The Royal Ballet

Jonathan Gray talks to Anita Young about her career as a dancer and teacher

Tips on technique: James Whitehead on tightening up your tango

Technique clinic: Phil Meacham urges dancers to stop turning the whisk

Swing dance: Simon Selmon on the shag, a high-energy dance

Same-sex dance: Marianka Swain on the tenth Gay Games in Paris

Laura Dodge reports from Performers College

Dance health: Debbie Malina on a new screening centre opened by the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS)

Alison Gallagher-Hughes on the revitalisation of the English Amateur Dancesport Association

Jack Reavely on a brilliant Russian couple, Sergey and Olga Konovaltsev

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Plus news of New York City Ballet allegations, Para Dance UK National Championships, the Linbury season at the Royal Opera House, Killick Royale Championships, Nureyev documentary and more

Reviews of dance at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Swan Lake, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa in Play, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Natalia Osipova at Sadler’s Wells, Dance Nation at the Almeida, Gecko’s Missing

International reviews of Gauthier Dance in Grandes Dames, Lyon’s Dance Biennale, Stars of the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Sarasota Ballet in New York

Obituaries of Diana Vere, Michael Boulton and Lindsay Kemp

Education news of the Genée Competition in Hong Kong, Millennium Performing Arts, Central School of Ballet and Northern 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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