Dancing Times' latest edition is out, and the Gramilano Danza in Italia column talks about Carla Fracci's appearance in a 12-part televised documentary series about La Scala's ballet company at a time when few people knew that she was undergoing chemotherapy – it was filmed at the beginning of this year, and she died in May. There's also a revealing masterclass on Manon, which was filmed by La Scala for its social media platforms. It shows three of La Scala's principal dancers working with Alessandra Ferri who proves an inspiring coach.
La Scala also presented two mixed-bill programmes: the first was for television and filmed without an audience and the second marked the company's return before a live audience. Manuel Legris' thoughtful planning gave the entire company a chance to revive repertoire pieces (Sergei Ratmansky's DSCH Concerto was exhilarating) and also present many pieces that were new to the company including a specially commissioned work as an ‘addio' to the magnificent outgoing principal dancer, Mick Zeni.
Also in the magazine, Matthew Paluch looks at queer representation in ballet, stemming from American Ballet Theatre's commissioning of Christopher Rudd (“a Black, gay male creative”) to produce the dance film Touché, a duet for Calvin Royal III and João Menegussi, which premiered in November 2020. He says, “A work about gay male love danced by two gay dancers, it affected me deeply – understandably so, as I hadn't seen anything like it before. Something that communicated my understanding of love through dance so literally is a sign of true art, namely when the medium almost becomes irrelevant as the intention is so clear and purposeful.”
Zoë Anderson previews the 2021 Edinburgh International Festival, Daniel Pratt asks how much will dance protect its artists in a post-pandemic world, James Whitehead explores authenticity and commitment on the dance floor, Gerald Dowler highlights the history of International Ballet, Laura Cappelle reviews the Paris Opéra Ballet in Romeo and Juliet and works by Roland Petit, Igor Stupnikov attends the graduation performance of the Vaganova Academy, and much more.
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.