Review: Dance Gazette 1/2012

by Henrik on February 22, 2012

This week, I received the first Dance Gazette magazine of 2012 in the mail, and finally I had the same feeling as when I got their Black Swan issue last year: Yes! The exquisite cover is showing photos of the gorgeous Céline Gittens of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in several different poses and costumes, and leaves just enough text to make you curious of what’s inside. After some weaker covers, this is a magazine I would buy.

Editor David Jays introduction is as good as always, so is the ‘first things’ section I mentioned in an earlier review.

On page 11 (which is like page three, minus the commercials), there’s a great little feature – Royal Ballet star Edward Watson has written a short text, picking out his five best ballet deaths, the five coolest ways he has died onstage, that is. With Kenneth MacMillans (known for the brutality in his pieces, and his almost provocative way of showing all the details usually hid or sugar-coated in other ballet-choreographers work) ballets as the background, there should be a lot to choose from. Edward features the most famous ones (like Romeos poison and Mayerlings pistol), but the most brutal is from a ballet I have never seen performed, Different Drummer, where Edwards role Woyzeck drowns after being “driven to slash his wife’s throat, then goes to the bath to wash off the blood, gets in and closes the lid”.

Dance critic Deidre Kelly’s review ‘Beatle at the Ballet’ of the recent New York City Ballet production to me just known as “the Paul McCartney-ballet” – aka Ocean’s Kingdom – is one of the main features of the first Dance Gazette issue of 2012. And what a review it is. The ballet that premiered in September last year in New York, was ripped to pieces by most all dance critics in the world the following days, despite being made by a best of team of artists – Sir Paul McCartney wrote the libretto and the score, his daughter Stella designed the (hideous..) costumes, and the choreography was made by NYCB’s own director Peter Martins. Of the three, none seemed to have managed to create anything rememberable, Martins failing the worst if we shall believe Ms. Kelly, which I choose to do. Her review is a great article, showing both an objective and a subjective take on the show, harshly criticizing without turning it into a nag or a personal attack, but keeping a good and positive tone throughout the review. She really wanted the performance to be good. And even when she tells you how much it wasn’t so, the language of her article shows a true love of dance, and maybe even more, of the Beatles. A great review that lets the reader in on both the performance itself, the people that made it, and last but not least, the reviewer.

The magazine also features a text by Raymond Stults, a dance critic of the Moscow Times, commenting the departure of the great ballet stars Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev from the Bolshoi stage to the smaller, younger and more modern troupe the Mikhailovsky ballet of St.Petersburg, directed by the famous choreographer Nacho Duato. I have to agree with mr. Stults when he writes “I can’t blame them – I would certainly want to go in that direction too if I were a talented young dancer”.

There’s also  an article on the increasing number of adults starting (or re-starting) ballet training. Even if I don’t necessarily agree on the authors statement that it was the movie the Black Swan that started this new boost, it is a fact that the adult ballet students are making their presence known in studios all over the world. If you want some insight info, check out Dave Tries Ballet or The AdultBeginner – two adult ballet students that writes rocking blogs about it!

A look into why “everything” in ballet is pink (I don’t think it’s so, though, but yes, I guess, some productions are very.. Pink), an good interview with star-dancer-turning-director Eithan Stiefel are two other reasons to get 2012′s first Dance Gazette. I enjoyed the magazine a lot, great content in a nice looking package!

Just for the sake of openness, I want to tell you I do not receive any payment for these reviews, nor does the RAD or anyone else have a say in what I write on Tights and Tiaras. I do receive a copy of the magazine to review, or at least when my mailman feels like finding my mail-box, which has proven to be rather difficult. If you are interested in the terms for product reviews here on Tights and Tiaras, check out our policy.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacey Hockly February 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I am based in South Africa and we do not have any good dance magazines here. How do I subscribe to receive this magazine? Thanks Stacey

Reply

Xcinia August 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hey Stacey,
Just Google it – http://www.rad.org.uk/article.asp?id=249

Reply

John February 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Henrik,
Nice review, and I agree with your suspicion that the movie The Black Swan has had little to do with the interest in adult beginning ballet classes. I offer two pieces of evidence. First, the two blogs you list, which I think are terrific, both started before the movie was released, which was in the fall of 2010. The first blog in DaveTriesBallet is dated August 4, 2010, and the first blog in TheAdultBeginner is February, 2010. Second, neither my wife nor I have seen the movie so it had nothing to do with our decision to start.
More likely someone in Hollywood realized there was a rising general awareness of ballet, at least in the United States, and decided it would be worth risking a movie about it.

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