Posted on August 28, 2019
Dance of many different kinds can be found in the September issue of Dancing Times: ballet, ballroom, contemporary, hip hop, musical theatre, Morris, swing, Latin American and South Asian – you’ll find them all within the covers of the magazine. It just goes to show how rich and diverse the art form is, as well as the constant way dance can surprise and entertain. Celebrate with us!
“East London has changed massively over the past 20 years, driven in a major way by the 2012 London Olympics. Huge gentrification has impacted on living costs and the demographic, especially in Newham. Of course that has positives, but there are also downsides and there has been an undeniable loss of community for the working classes. Almost all the youth centres have gone, many of them knocked down to make way for flats that local people can’t afford to live in.
“Just like Westfield is a sign of change, so is the influx of arts organisations arriving into the area. I see so many tweets from companies talking about how coming east will benefit them, but not talking about how they will engage with local communities and the artists who are already here. If we don’t want to see local artists pushed out of the area the same way local people have been, this has to be a number one priority for those companies.”
“There’s a first time for everything, and sometimes the first times occur at the same time. By chance I made five discoveries in four nights during a visit to New York in May, all of them intriguing signposts to the city’s current dance scene.
“For the first time, I saw one of Alexei Ratmansky’s historic reconstructions, American Ballet Theatre’s Harlequinade, to which the company devoted the first week of eight at the Metropolitan Opera House. Also known as Les Millions d’Arlequin, Marius Petipa’s penultimate ballet whirls a pair of young lovers into a commedia dell’arte pantomime bubbling with mime and romance. Without appearing quaint, Ratmansky’s staging relies on the carefully researched period style – low extensions, pirouettes in cou-de-pied – to convey the simple narrative and its light-hearted atmosphere. More important, it provides a treasury of information for historians, a leisurely chance for adults to examine the traditional gestures, and an opportunity for children – I counted 32 in one number – to sample the pleasure and responsibility of performing as professionals.”
“Jon Boogz and Lil Buck are two of the biggest names in street dance: Boogz is the popper cited as a big influence by Max Revell, BBC Young Dancer of 2019; and Buck (real name, Charles Riley) is the star of Memphis jookin. The extensive list of their independent collaborations includes work for Versace, Gloria Estefan and Madonna, but, since 2015, they generally come as a pair, having co-founded Movement Art Is (MAI), an organisation that aims to elevate the educational and social impact of dance.
‘“We want to stretch people’s perception of what street dance can do,’ Buck explained when I met the pair during the Despertares Impulse Festival in Guadalajara, following an open-air workshop in which they galvanised hundreds of young Mexicans into a huge pop-up street battle. Popping grew out of the social funk dance scene in California in the late 1960s, quickly gaining a nationwide audience through the popular television show, Soul Train. Dancers isolate and contract muscle movements to pulsate rhythmically in sudden spurts (or ‘pops’). Memphis jookin came later, transitioning from gangsta walking in the 1980s, exclusively developed in the hinterland of Elvis Presley’s home city; it’s a freestyle street dance typified by rhythmic bounce, sliding, toe spins and stalls, sometimes referred to as urban ballet. Michael Jackson’s trademark moonwalk is a popping move called the backslide.”
Paul Arrowsmith considers the past, present and future of Northern Ballet
Nicola Rayner asks why the UK’s ballrooms and dance studios are closing
Moira Goff offers a guide to the UK’s dance collections and resources
Fátima Nollén takes a look at Havana’s Ballet Nacional de Cuba
Jeannette Andersen find out about the FEDORA awards
Debbie Malina investigates the role of bodywork and its benefits for dancers
Margaret Willis meets our Dancer of the Month, Ballet Black’s Ebony Thomas
Jack Reavely goes “Somewhere in time”
Marianka Swain looks back on 25 years of north London’s Waltzing With Hilda
Jonathan Gray reviews a new biography on Marius Petipa
The return of Strictly Come Dancing, win tickets to see Northern Ballet’s Dracula in the cinema, British Dance Council celebrates 90 years, LEAP festival in Liverpool, David Bintley’s farewell from Birmingham Royal Ballet, dancer promotions at English National Ballet, Laurretta Summerscale’s Dancing for a Dream gala in Woking
Reviews of Akademi, Akram Khan Company, American Ballet Theatre, Avignon Festival, Ballet of La Scala, Milan, Bavarian State Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Bronx Gothic, Colours International Dance Festival, Here Come the Boys, Mark Morris Dance Group, Maryinsky Ballet, National Youth Dance Company, New Adventures, Novosibirsk Ballet, Rome Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Tree, Yabin Studios