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Mary Clarke 1923-2015

Posted on March 25, 2015

mary in dt office

mary-in-dt-officeIt is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Mary Clarke, editor emeritus of Dancing Times, who dedicated nearly 60 years of her life, from 1954 until 2013, to working for the magazine. 

Born in London in 1923, Mary was to become an important and influential writer on dance during the second half of the 20th century. As well as editing Dancing Times from 1963 until 2008, she was also dance critic for The Guardian from 1977 until 1994, London correspondent of both Dance Magazine (1943 to 1955) and Dance News (1955 to 1970), and assistant editor and contributor to Ballet Annual from 1952 to 1963. 

In addition, she was also the author of a substantial number of books on ballet and dance, including official histories of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, Ballet Rambert and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. Many of the books were written in collaboration with her colleague and great friend, Clement Crisp. We shall be publishing a tribute to Mary in the May issue of Dancing Times.


Details of Mary Clarke’s funeral have now been formally announced:

Mary Clarke: ballet historian, critic and writer, former Editor of the Dancing Times. “No funeral, but raise a glass in cheerful memory.” In keeping with these, Mary’s very specific instructions, there will be an opportunity to celebrate her life at The Wrestlers, 98, North Road, Highgate, London N6 4AA on Thursday, 16 April between 12.00-3.00pm, following her cremation at 11.00am at the St Marylebone Crematorium, East End Road, East Finchley, N2 ORZ. Donations to The Dance Teachers’ Benevolent Fund or Moorfields Eye Charity: 020 7 566 2565


Photograph: Jack Blake



Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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