FEATURE: Happy International Dance Day, 29 April 2017

 

Dance is powerful and International Dance Day 2017 is a day to celebrate that.

International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council to encourage people around the world to share in the magic of dance.

As a dance writer, dance teacher, dance student and dance fan, I am thankful every single day for the opportunities that dance has given me to thrive as an individual. Dance can move us, make us think and connect us to others. It can brighten the darkest days and inspire people of all ages to explore their creative and physical potential.

My own participation in dance classes as a toddler was pure serendipity, yet dance is an overwhelmingly important part of my life. For this reason, I believe that everyone ought to have the chance to learn to dance – and to watch and appreciate dance performances. The International Dance Council promotes International Dance Day to urge people who may not normally engage with dance to strive to do so. Dance has always featured in human culture, but its significance is now often overlooked as an art form, particularly in education.

We need to remember that dance, in all its forms, matters!

 

International Dance Day. Georgina Butler, Adage illustration by A Ballet Education.

 

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FEATURE: Unmasking Giuliano Contadini, currently starring in Northern Ballet’s ‘Casanova’ – April 2017

 

Dancer Giuliano Contadini is taking on the role of the most notorious playboy in history for Northern Ballet’s latest production, Casanova.

Giacomo Casanova is remembered for his luck with the ladies but this biographical ballet, choreographed by former Northern Ballet premier dancer Kenneth Tindall, promises to reveal the complex man behind all those hedonistic conquests.

Undoubtedly a great seducer, Casanova was also a gifted scholar with big ideas, a moral conscience and depressive tendencies. This Italian adventurer lived life passionately and recorded the highs and lows of his existence in vivid detail in his memoirs. It was these memoirs that inspired Tindall to embark on his first ever full-length work and informed his realisation of Casanova as a fully-rounded character.

Leading soloist Giuliano Contadini is the dancer Kenneth Tindall chose to create the role of Casanova on. Like Casanova, Giuliano is Italian. He also has the same initials as the legendary Lothario!

 

Northern Ballet dancer Giuliano Contadini. Photo by Lisa Stonehouse.

 

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FEATURE: Being A Dance Education Advocate – Royal Academy of Dance, March 2017

 

Writing. Dancing.

I had graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science, qualified as a journalist, and established myself as a dance writer.

 

Learning. Teaching.

Furthering my knowledge of dance and teaching by studying with a world-renowned dance education institution seemed like a natural next step.

 

Dance Education: Royal Academy of Dance

Every time I dance, I turn into a better version of myself. Essentially, dance excites me – and that is true whether I am participating in dance, watching dance or writing about dance.

Attaining a place as a student on the Royal Academy of Dance’s BA (Hons) Dance Education programme in 2014 marked the start of an enriching experience that has equipped me with the skills and understanding to fully appreciate the complexities of dance, art and education. The syllabus covers dance in relation to the disciplines of anatomy, cultural studies, health, history, music, pedagogy, philosophy, psychology, sociology and more. This truly rounded education in dance has enhanced my previously established skill set, ensuring my teaching practice is informed and impassioned.

Being invited to feature as a Dance Education advocate for the Royal Academy of Dance’s 2017 social media campaign ‘Meet the Student’ was a fitting way to acknowledge the learning journey I have been on.

Finding ways to continue my development in dance as a practitioner, writer and teacher is important to me. Working hard is part of my personality; a part that has undoubtedly been nurtured by my involvement in dance!

I can’t wait to see where dance (and my work ethic) will take me next.

 

A photograph of Georgina Butler used for the Royal Academy of Dance 'Meet the Student' social media campaign. Georgina is standing at a ballet barre in a dance studio, with her right hand gently resting on the barre. Her left leg is stretched out to the side, high in the air, in a développé à la seconde. The words 'meet the student' are prominently displayed in the bottom-right corner of the image. The text is red and styled in the Royal Academy of Dance brand's typeface. View Post

FEATURE: New English Ballet Theatre – London, November 2016

 

The collaborative spirit of New English Ballet Theatre

 

When New English Ballet Theatre invited me to watch rehearsals, chat to members of the production team and learn some of the dancers’ latest choreography I seized the chance to learn more about the young company.

I love ballet. Absolutely adore it. Given any choice – throwing a few drinks back at some trendy new bar or throwing a leg (front, side and back) at the ballet barre; finding myself at a festival or losing myself in a classical masterpiece – I go for the ballet option every time.

My devotion aside, I do sometimes fear for ballet’s future. There is always the very real possibility that classical ballet could become a museum art form. No balletomane wants to see the object of their affections stagnate (with little to offer beyond revivals of existing work) or, if we imagine the worst-case-scenario, become extinct. Although the world’s well-established leading companies have a starring role to play in shaping ballet’s future on the global stage, it is up to the emerging troupes of today to ensure it remains relevant to our lives. Ballet needs to keep evolving; inspire new ideas; attract new audiences.

New English Ballet Theatre is a vibrant modern ballet company determined to drive the art form forward in exactly this way! Founded in 2010 by Artistic Director Karen Pilkington-Miksa, the company is committed to the continual reinvention of classical ballet and aims to present exciting new works to the widest possible audience. The ambition does not stop there though. At the heart of New English Ballet Theatre’s mission is the desire to nurture the next generation of dancers, choreographers, musicians and designers. The company seeks out and hires talented graduates from a variety of disciplines on a seasonal basis, affording emerging artists the creative space and support to explore their full potential.

 

New English Ballet Theatre, the 2016 company dancers.

 

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FEATURE: Happy International Dance Day, 29 April 2016

 

Today ought to be spent mostly dancing because it is International Dance Day 2016.

Every year on today’s date, the 29 April, dance lovers urge everyone across the globe to celebrate the universality of the art form. We unite in our efforts to surpass all political, cultural and ethnic barriers. We bring people together with a common language: dance.

 

International Dance Day. Dance student Isabel Filby.

 

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