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May 2015 issue

Posted on May 1, 2015

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square-may-15This month, we catch up with dance legend Peggy Spencer, take to the skies to learn aerial steps, explore sponsorship in the world of dance and hear from the voters in the 2015 Dance Today Dance Teacher of the Year competition…

Everything comes round in patterns

peggy-spencer-grab-1Phil Meacham interviews Peggy Spencer, dance coach extraordinaire, about troublemaking, trailblazing and changes in the dance industry…

“I have always said you must keep ‘ahead of the music of the day’. [She then goes on to reel off various names from the current charts, some of which I haven’t really heard of. Clearly, her knowledge of music is very much current.] We have got traditional music that we have composed dance to, but you have to go further than that… That is my philosophy – you’ve got to keep ahead. You just have to listen to the music of the day and work out where the trends are heading. Listen to what the children and young people are listening to and go with it.”

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Up high

aerials-grabNicola Rayner takes to the air with newly formed Pana Dance Company…

“Aerials are scary. For some reason, the prospect of hurtling through the air (or someone hurtling towards you) brings out everyone’s hang-ups. In lindy hop, aerials, as the name would suggest, involve exchanging the relative security of the floor for the air, however briefly…

“‘ With aerials, dancers have to be at least willing to have a go for us to be able to do something with them,’ Nina Daines, of Pana Dance Company, tells me. ‘…One of the things about aerials is that they’re about taking dancing to the next level. People might overcome their fears because they feel they need another challenge, they need to push themselves in their dancing, and aerials are one way to go.’”

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Also in the May issue…

Dance Today Dance Teacher of the Year: the results, with some of our favourite reader comments

The name of the game: Alison Gallagher-Hughes looks at the pros and cons of sponsorship on the dancefloor

Visiting Cuba by way of Brecon: we report on a salsa break with HF Holidays

Remembering Mary Clarke: an obituary of our editor emeritus

Personal trainer and Latin competitor Ray Conway shares his personal experience of injury and recovery

Vikki Jane Vile reports from the filming of The People’s Strictly

Tips on technique: James Whitehead takes a stroll along the promenade

Doctor Dance: Phil Meacham on “stepping outside”

Simon Selmon meets Twin Swing, Charleston duo Emily and Jessica Evans

Jack Reavely shares the wisdom of ballroom star Doreen Freeman

Plus reports from the Southport Sequence Easter Festival, Holland’s same sex De Danser competition, the South of England championships and Dancing at the tower, news of this year’s Strictly professionals, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s last ever stage show, the World Ballroom Dancing Congress in Blackpool, the English Riviera Festival, the Jive Aces spring dance in Gloucester and more, variations and sequence scripts, our splendid listings pages and more!

Buy now

The May issue is in shops (including larger branches of WH Smith) now, or you can buy your print copy here, or buy your digital copy from all good app stores



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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