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Challenge and change
Facing up to challenges is very 2020 – but it isn’t easy. David Jays, Dance Gazette editor, selects some inspiring articles about accepting life’s tests and preparing for change.
Our pandemic year has thrown up challenge after challenge. Personally, I’d be happier not to confront quite so many life-changing tests of my resolve. But Dance Gazette has often reported on individuals who show remarkable courage in the face of daunting obstacles: emotional, physical and more. Their stories are a support in difficult times.
For civilians and veterans involved in modern warfare, the resulting trauma can last for years. But dance can help heal troubled souls and bodies alike. ‘Veterans get stuck in the trauma of war,’ one ex-Marine told our writer, Sally Howard. ‘Dance helps to make them unstuck.’
As part of our celebration of Margot Fonteyn, Deirdre Kelly spoke to ballerinas following Fonteyn’s example and refusing to call time on their careers. ‘The ageing population is booming and many are refusing to take it sitting down,’ said one dancer, still performing in her seventh decade.
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Disability shouldn’t shut anyone out of the dance studio. Anna Winter travelled to Gloucester to meet students and teachers taking part in a pioneering RAD project. ‘I just taught them like any other child,’ insisted one teacher. ‘I teach a love of dance.’
A ballerina in a hijabi? Why not? In 2017, Jane Albert met Stephanie Kurlow, a young Australian dancer determined to confound the haters and follow her art and religion alike.
See it to be it
‘When a Black child sees a Black teacher,’ says Denzil Bailey, ‘it changes their view. It inspires them.’ He was one of the dancers and teachers speaking to Hannah Azieb Pool for her revealing report on Black ballet teachers – the challenges they face and the change they can create.