In the May issue of Dancing Times, I write in the Danza in Italia column about the Rome performance of Touché, a lockdown creation for American Ballet Theatre by Christopher Rudd. The European premiere featured one of the original interpreters, ABT principal Calvin Royal III, together with Sergio Bernal.
Rudd presents an honest depiction of love and lust between two men where there's no doubt that the protagonists are lovers and not just good friends.
Rudd told me:
I debated with myself the wisdom of this, being my first piece on a major company. Will I be known as ‘the gay choreographer'? Will this be my last piece on a major company? Is the ballet audience ready for this? After much debate I decided to be brave. I decided to at least try to create a work that my soul needed. If it was going to be my only piece on a major ballet company, it was going to be a piece of which I could be proud.
At La Scala, George Balanchine's Jewels made a return with the company in terrific form without the insecurities arising from Covid-related cast changes and cancellations.
Nicoletta Manni, who has the aura of a tsarina, and Timofej Andrijashenko, who has a naturally regal manner, were the principal Diamonds couple with dancing that reflected their demeanour: bold (yet detailed), graceful, and assured.
Dancing Times' editor, Jonathan Gray, writes:
As the horrifying events of Russia's invasion of Ukraine continue, in this month's issue of Dancing Times we discover how the world of dance has been reacting to the war with two articles covering both ballet and ballroom. Matthew Paluch and Nicola Rayner hear from dancers who have been directly affected by the situation, and we also find out ways in which we might be able to help.
Sanjoy Roy gives an impression of the first Dance Reflections festival presented in London by Van Cleef and Arpels:
Postponed from 2020, then from 2021, the Dance Reflections festival finally arrived in March 2022 with a packed fortnight of some 17 live works (one postponed to a month later), spread across Sadler's Wells, the Royal Opera House and Tate Modern, plus four films streamed online.
Also in the May issue…
- Gerald Dowler interviews Royal Ballet principal Federico Bonelli about his appointment as director of Northern Ballet.
- Paul Arrowsmith wonders if Birmingham Royal Ballet audiences have become too insular.
- Laura Cappelle attends the Paris Opéra Ballet's La Bayadère.
- James Whitehead looks at fundamentals in paso doble.
- Howard Ibach reveals an improvised incident in Stanley Holden's performance of Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée.
- Margaret Willis interviews The Royal Ballet's Calvin Richardson.
- Jack Reavely explains what makes Blackpool Dance Festival so special.
- Pete Meager talks to Ansell Chezan, the newly appointed chair of the UK Equality Dance Council.
- Leigh Witchel catches up with a number of dance companies across New York.
- Teresa Guerreiro previews the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble.
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.