Dancing Times' May issue is out now, with a glorious cover featuring Margot Fonteyn – the only dancer to be given the title prima ballerina assoluta by The Royal Ballet – who was born 100 years ago on 18 May.
The magazine celebrates the centenary of Fonteyn's birth with articles by The Royal Ballet's director Kevin O'Hare, dance critic Alastair Macaulay, and the Royal Academy of Dance's artistic director, Gerard Charles.
In Macaulay's article Margot Fonteyn and classicism, he says,
Among the many beauties of the configurations of [Frederick Ashton's] Symphonic Variations is the way its central ballerina holds a supported arabesque in her partner's arms while the other four dancers are in motion around them. The arabesque is one I've often labelled the ‘Margot arabesque': although her face, arms, and raised leg are in profile, her shoulders are squared to address the audience, while she keeps her arms in symmetrical lines that continue the downward slope of her shoulders – and her raised leg is parallel to her back leg. Although this arabesque is held with serenity, it distils a quality of ecstasy in the exposure it places on the neck, and when the ballerina raises her head to look upward, it echoes the depiction of Maenads (followers of the wine-god Dionysus, their heads raised in abandon) in the art of the ancient Greeks. (Isadora Duncan copied the Maenad look of the upper body.)
Also Fátima Nollén discovers how Margot Fonteyn helped shape the dance scene in Panama and Igor Stupnikov in his regular column is impressed by The Royal Ballet's Lauren Cuthbertson in St Petersburg.
In the Danza in Italia double-page spread, I talk about Angelin Preljocaj's new work commissioned by the La Scala Ballet Company – Winterreise – as well as Rome Opera Ballet's world premiere of Jiří Bubeníček's Carmen with Susanna Salvi and Amar Ramasar. Then some thoughts on Marianela Nuñez's star quality as seen during a Rome gala devised by Italian dance impresario Daniele Cipriani.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.