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September 2020 issue

Posted on August 26, 2020

01 Cover September
Well, here we are entering the sixth month of lockdown in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic and there is still virtually no dance to be seen live on our stages.

Although Dancing Times is able to report this month on recent performances in France and Italy seen by Laura Cappelle and Graham Spicer, it is with a heavy heart that I realise it may be some time before professional ballet and contemporary dance companies are able to return to our theatres and dance venues in the UK. This month, Gerald Dowler talks to a number dance professionals across the country in order to find out how things are progressing. In addition, Nicola Rayner investigates how COVID-19 has affected major ballroom and Latin American dance championships.

On a happier note, we highlight two people who have made significant contributions to dance in this country – English National Ballet’s Jane Haworth and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Doug Nicholson – as hear from four upcoming young male dancers in the worlds of classical ballet and same-sex dance competitions.


Starting again?

Gerald Dowler finds out how UK dance companies and venues are preparing to come out of lockdown

17 DT Sept20

“Both venues and companies are having to think hard about preparing for future performances. At Birmingham Royal Ballet, the dancers were desperate to get back into the studio: ‘Everyone has continued training and keeping fit but there will be a lot of work involved in getting everyone back to the standard we were before,’ says its spokesman; Scottish Ballet developed at ‘Return to Work’ strategy of ‘a 12-week plan which brings the dancers back to performance fitness safely,’ explains [Christopher] Hampson. From Wales, [Darius] James adds a note of caution: ‘Physically it’s hard, but mentally there is going to be a lot of fallout. We [Ballet Cymru] are planning a longer rehearsal period in 2021 if we can afford it. We aim to be a supportive company – we have to stick together.’”

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Waking up from a dream

Graham Watts interviews choreographer Luca Silvestrini about 21 years of Protein Dance

10 DT Sept20“The choreographer’s adherence to the mantra of a good night out means there is always scope for comedy in his [Silvestrini’s] work, often delivered through spoken text (a link back to his initial performing arts training). Silvestrini is quick to acknowledge that often the humour comes directly from his performers. ‘I don’t particularly search for humour,’ he observed, ‘but during improvisation, I seem to be able to spot its potential, usually in contrasting moments of lightness. Comedy is a powerful tool that allows really important things to be said with a light touch.’”

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Taking care of yourself

Debbie Malina considers some of the mental health issues being faced by dancers at this time

78 80 Health September“Most students and dancers readily accept the pattern of their daily routine – from regular dance classes to the familiar activity involved in preparing for a performance or competition. When the lockdown was put into place this spring, theatres, academies and studios were closed, performances, competitions and tours cancelled; consequently, dancers from all areas of the dance world would have experienced the loss of a sense of structure.

“For many, perhaps the most upsetting aspect of the situation is that under normal circumstances their lives are strongly tied up with those of other students and dancers. Some may be living a long way from their home and regard their particular dance community – albeit school, class or company – as a form of family, and have found it especially difficult to cope without this comforting environment.”

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Also in the September issue…

Laura Cappelle and Graham Spicer report back on dance returning to the stage in France and Italy

Deborah Weiss talks to Jane Haworth about her career with English National Ballet

Paul Arrowsmith considers the existential threat to live theatre

Simon Selmon reflects on what five months of lockdown has meant for social dancing

Gavin Larsen concludes her interview with the School of American Ballet’s Susan Pilarre

Nicola Rayner speaks to competitors, teachers and dance promoters about the postponement of this year’s Blackpool Dance Festival and other major competitions

Lee Knights talks to Dr William Li about how we can eat our way to strong immunity

Paul Arrowsmith meets Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Doug Nicholson, a veritable man of the theatre

Igor Stupnikov hears from the Maryinsky Ballet’s Konstantin Zverev

Marianka Swain speaks to new same-sex competitors Dean Thirwell and Orion Russell

Jack Reavely remembers Frank Ford

Margaret Willis interviews our Dancer of the Month, Northern Ballet’s Joseph Taylor

James Whitehead and Phil Meacham offer some tips on technique

Jack Anderson watches some online dance festivals in the US

Jonathan Gray highlights some new releases on DVD and Blu-ray disc

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01 Cover September 2020Northern Ballet postpones Merlin, The Royal Ballet’s Doncaster Dances, Strictly Come Dancing, National Youth Ballet, Blackpool Online Festival of Dance, news from Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells enters consultation process, Michael Clark exhibition coming to the Barbican Centre, Ballet West, Prix de Lausanne 2021, Dance School of the Year Awards, Swindon Dance, Rambert Grades, plus Zizi Jeanmaire and Jelko Yuresha remembered in Obituaries

The September 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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