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May 2016 issue

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There are two strands running through the May issue: the Blackpool Dance Festival and an exploration of horror in dance. We speak to a host of ballroom and Latin dancers, preview The Royal Ballet’s Frankenstein and Drew McOnie’s Jekyll and Hyde and more. Read on for chills and thrills!

Dancing for joy

sara-andrea-grabNicola Rayner meets Sara Andracchio and Andrea Ghigiarelli, one of the world’s top ballroom couples, on the countdown to this month’s Blackpool Dance Festival…

“Sara Andracchio is the happiest-looking professional ballroom dancer on the competition floor. She smiles the whole time – not in a forced way, but as if she can barely contain her joy. Even in the martial tango her elation is barely suppressed. ‘Watch me,’ jokes her husband, Andrea Ghigiarelli, when I share the observation over a coffee in Cheam, Surrey. ‘I’m more dramatic.’ He pulls a fierce ‘tango face.’

…Their tryout [when Sara was eight, Andrea nine] took place in a group lesson in Rome at the studio where their parents danced. ‘The first thing Andrea said to me was, “Don’t worry because I’m better than you,”’ says Sara. ‘I watched him and said, “You don’t worry because I’ll show you that I’ll be much better than you.” Our first words were competitive…’”

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A frisson of the forbidden

horror-grabSanjoy Roy takes a look at horror and dance…

“Horror is an established genre in film and literature, and crops up occasionally in theatre (witness the phenomenal success of The Woman in Black), but is there such a thing as dance horror? Put that question another way: have you ever been scared by a dance performance? I’ve had the creeps, been chilled and haunted, but with one exception (I’ll tell you later; the suspense won’t kill you), I don’t think I’ve ever been really scared.

“Yet dance often treads on horror territory. Ballet itself drew on the same Romantic imagination that gave rise to Gothic literature, with its stories of fatal love and irrational forces, its forests and castles, its shape-shifters, supernatural beings and doppelgangers. In Giselle a dead lover returns from beyond the grave. Malign witches feature in La Sylphide and The Sleeping Beauty. Swan Lake‘s Odette and Odile are a classic good twin/evil twin pairing. Indeed the earliest Romantic ballet ever is said to be a scene from Meyerbeer’s opera Robert le diable in which, to quote Lincoln Kirstein, ‘dead nuns give themselves over to unholy thrills’ – a prospect that any horror buff would surely find mouthwatering…”

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Christopher Marney at Ballet Central

marney-grabJonathan Gray speaks to Christopher Marney, the new director of Ballet Central

“‘In many respects, Ballet Central is a “growing up” experience,’ Marney says. “Often, the dancers have only ever worked with their teachers, so they tend to get into the mindset of doing what they are told. These teenagers need to learn how to become more independently-minded, as they will be asked to be something different once they are working. There’s a whole thought process they need to go through. Most important, I want to prepare them for the industry as it is at the moment. I’m working in it [Marney is a choreographer and freelance dancer, performing regularly with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures], and will continue to do so, so for them I’ll be the example of a direct route from school to stage…”

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Also in the May 2016 issue…

Margaret Willis meets English National Ballet’s Cesar Corrales, our Dancer of the Month

Telling stories: Marianka Swain meets choreographer Drew McOnie, whose new Jekyll and Hyde opens this month

Containing a choreographer’s ideas: John Macfarlane, designer of The Royal Ballet’s new Frankenstein, speaks to Paul Arrowsmith

Alison Gallagher Hughes talks to three Latin couples who have made the move from amateur to pro: Michael Hemera and Lauren McFarlane-Hemera, Andrew Escolme and Amy Baker and Joseph Hopwood and Alexandra Hawley

Preserving the legacy: in the last of the series, Gerald Dowler speaks to stagers and repétiteurs responsible for works by Frederick Ashton, John Cranko and Glen Tetley

Music, maestro: behind the scenes at the recording of the new album from Ashley Frohlick and the Empress Orchestra

Cannes can: Christina Gallea Roy visits the Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes de Rosella Hightower

Iris Fanger meets choreographer Karole Armitage, who presents works in London and Boston this month

Talking point: Bill Harpe ponders the impact of Christianity on dance

Tips on technique: James Whitehead considers the jive

Our dance doctor, Phil Meacham, returns to the question of footwork

Simon Selmon has some advice from dancing greats

Marianka Swain finds same-sex dancing venturing into new ground

Harry Ferris explores an effect in ballroom tango

Jack Reavely looks back to 1950, a jubilee year for the Blackpool Dance Festival

Debbie Malina on the range of approaches in dance for people with disabilities

Report on the Kent Trophies Day

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Plus news of The Royal Ballet’s 2016-17 season, upheaval for Johan Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru at the ballet of the Bucharest National Opera, Matthew Bourne’s new The Red Shoes, An American in Paris in London, May tango events, dance at the Brighton and Edinburgh festivals, Mary Clarke, Luke Schaufuss and more

Reviews of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, Ballet Black, The Royal Ballet in Giselle and The Winter’s Tale, BalletLORENT’s Snow White, Richard Alston Dance Company, National Youth Dance Company, National Dance Company Wales, English National Ballet’s She Said, the Maryinsky Ballet in Cardiff

International reviews of Paul Taylor, Stephen Petronio, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Hong Kong Ballet, The Grand Ballet on Russian television, San Francisco Ballet in Jerome Robbins and Yuri Possokhov, Dutch National Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet in its new staging of The Nutcracker and in works by Alexei Ratmansky, Justin Peck and George Balanchine, Stuttgart Ballet’s all-John Cranko triple bill

Obituaries of Jill Tookey, Brenda Naylor, Andy Fox and Peter Fairweather

Education news of KS Dance, the Phyllis Bedells Bursary, Ballroom Dancers’ Federation, DancePointe and Chantry School of Contemporary and Balletic Arts, Summerscale Performing Arts, Rambert choreography fellowship

The May issue is out now – including branches of WHSmith – or you can buy your print copy here or buy your digital copy from all good app stores