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October 2020 issue

Posted on September 24, 2020

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Welcome to this special anniversary edition of Dancing Times.

10 DT October 2020We are incredibly proud the magazine has reached this momentous milestone in its history, especially in light of the fact that within the time span of 110 years – two world wars, and political and economic turmoil, as well as pandemics – it has never missed an issue. The COVID-19 lockdown has been especially difficult for the magazine, but our small and dedicated team of just five people  – all of them working from home – are totally committed to bringing you as much material on dance as possible. I would like to thank them all – as well as our contributors and advertisers, and Warners, our printer and distributor – for their continued dedication and support during the past six months.

As the world slowly returns to some semblance of “normality” (I know I’m not the only one thrilled to be able to take a dance class again), you will notice we have been able to re-introduce the Calendar pages at the back of the magazine. As we go to press, there remains precious little dance to be seen live on stage here in the UK (top marks to Birmingham Royal Ballet, then, which will be back on stage later this month), but it’s heartening to observe just how many performances are scheduled to take place across Europe. Dance has always found a way to survive; we must be optimistic and look forward to a new, reinvigorated and highly creative future for the art form we love.

JONATHAN GRAY


Gardening leave

Northern Ballet’s Gavin McCaig discovers that dancers have been taking to their gardens and allotments during lockdown

Dancing Gardener October 1“Three men who found their gardens to be a sanctuary during the lockdown also happen to be three very talented dancers, spread across some of the UK’s leading dance companies. Whilst they haven’t been performing or rehearsing, they’ve turned their energy towards something altogether different from life in the spotlight – or is it?

“‘My interest started when I was a little boy with a cut out patch in the family garden,’ Scottish Ballet’s Andrew Peasgood tells me. ‘I would move around the soil now and then with the hoe and my work was done; I loved the idea of helping out.’ Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Tzu-Chao Chou and Kevin Poeung of Northern Ballet, didn’t have the same exposure to gardening growing up. ‘I spent my whole childhood in France living in flats so never really had any green space apart from parks down the road. I always wanted to have a house with my own garden someday,’ says Kevin. ‘We always lived in the suburbs,’ Tzu-Chao adds. ‘Even though my mum’s side of the family had a farm with land, I never really got exposed to any horticulture.’”

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A tribute to Philip Richardson

Beth Genné pays tribute to Philip J S Richardson, founder editor of Dancing Times

Mr Richardson 1 “At the same time as he educated himself, Richardson educated his public. In 1916, he and Espinosa launched their campaign against faulty teaching by advocating in The Dancing Times the formation of an official examining body to certify teachers of dance. This was followed in later issues by a spread of photographs illustrating common faults in teaching and how they should be corrected, using Espinosa students as models for the proper form (at the head of the demonstration class stood, prophetically, the young Ninette de Valois). The campaign continued through the years with a stream of articles designed to promote public awareness of good training: Phyllis Bedells was shown at the barre demonstrating her daily ‘side practice’, [Anna] Pavlova contributed an article on ‘bad teaching’, and an anatomist accompanies some impressive-looking X-rays of dancers’ feet, with a stern warning about the dangers of putting youngsters on pointe too early (this prompted a voluble letter from that same young Espinosa student, De Valois, who concurred with its author and, typically, added a few of her own ideas on the subject, proving, as Richardson remarked in The Sitter-Out, that ‘though she is young, she is thoughtful).

“The tangible result of all this brouhaha was the founding, in December 1920, of the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain (formulated at the first two Dancing Times-sponsored ‘Dancers’ Circle’ dinners in July and October of that year). Richardson and Espinosa headed the list of founding members that included Phyllis Bedells, Lucia Cormani, Tamara Karsavina and Adeline Genée, who became the Association’s first president. In 1921, this organisation (which later became the Royal Academy of Dance) initiated an annual certification examination for teachers of operatic dancing. The Dancing Times became the medium through which the new Association broadcast information to the public, regularly publishing lists of certified teachers for the hopeful parents of prospective British ballerinas. In April 1922, the magazine itself even became a visual ‘teaching aid’ for examination candidates when it published photographs of Mme Genée (her head incongruously, but charmingly, capped by a feather hat) demonstrating correct arm positions as set by the Association’s board.”

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Shine On

Chris Nash introduces a new volume of his photographs celebrating the Richard Alston Dance Company

28 29 Chris Nash October20“I created my first images of Richard Alston Dance Company (RADC) in 1995 when the company was only a few months old. I already knew some of the dancers having worked with them at London Contemporary Dance Theatre, the resident company that preceded RADC at The Place, but it was the first time Richard and I had worked with each other. Nearly 25 years (and thousands of photographs later) we had our last photoshoot together, making images of Shine On, Richard’s final piece of choreography for his company before it closed earlier this year.

“It was this amazing archive of images from over 30 separate shoots that prompted me, in 2019, to think about putting a book together. I wanted to create something that not only celebrated the work of the company, but also offered readers an insight into our respective working methods. Running alongside the photographs is a series of conversations between myself, Richard and Martin Lawrance, the company’s associate choreographer. We talk about the choreography, lighting, photographic techniques, how we work together, our ideas and inspirations, and, of course, the dancers.”

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Also in the October issue…

Gerald Dowler interviews editor Jonathan Gray about the Dancing Times’ 110th birthday, and hears from other figures in the UK dance world

Fátima Nollén discovers how Miami City Ballet has re-imagined its upcoming season

Nicola Rayner talks to Strictly Come Dancing siblings Kevin and Joanne Clifton about returning to theatres this autumn

Igor Stupnikov contributes a Letter from St Petersburg

Barbara Newman sees Fanny and Stella, the first musical to be produced in London following lockdown

Henry Danton considers some stagings of ballets by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov

Marianka Swain thinks this year’s edition of Strictly Come Dancing will look and operate rather differently

We look back to October 1980 in Last Dance

Jack Reavely remembers Major Eric Hancox

David Mead attends The Grange Festival

Jack Anderson samples dance at the Guggenheim Museum

Simon Selmon on the “three Fs”

Margaret Willis interviews The Royal Ballet’s Ashley Dean, our Dancer of the Month

Debbie Malina investigate craniosacral therapy and its origins

James Whitehead and Phil Meacher offer some tips on technique

Laura Cappelle attends Indispensable! at the Atelier de Paris

Marianka Swain finds out what same-sex dancer Pete Meagher has been doing during lockdown

The return of our Calendar pages listing performances in the UK and abroad

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Plus

English National Ballet postpones autumn 2020 season, Nimax Theatres to reopen in the West End, first same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing, The Royal Ballet on screen, festivals at The Place, live dance returns to Sadler’s Wells, Ballet West goes into liquidation, New York City Ballet online, promotions at American Ballet Theatre, Viviana Durante becomes artistic director of English National Ballet School, Clore Fellowship Programme, English Youth Ballet, Paloma Faith becomes patron of The Place, plus José Barrios, Joan Harris and Pauline Wadsworth remembered in Obituaries

The October issue is now available in some branches of WHSmith – or you can buy your print copy here or buy your digital copy from all good app stores

Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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