Why Dance Matters

In its podcast series, the Royal Academy of Dance asks remarkable people from the world of dance and beyond and all corners of the globe, why dance matters.

Why Dance Matters is a series of conversations with extraordinary people from the world of dance and beyond. It traces the impact of dance on their lives and asks why dance matters to them – and why it might matter to us all. The RAD inspires the world to dance, and we hope these insightful personal conversations – hosted by David Jays, editor of Dance Gazette, the RAD magazine – will delight and even surprise.

Ways to listen

Find our podcast on all the platforms listed here. Or, you can also listen by selecting an episode below.

Episode 1: Wesley Ruzibiza

Broadcast on 29 February 2024

We launch the new season of Why Dance Matters with a vital figure in African contemporary dance. Wesley Ruzibiza discovered dance almost by accident – he was studying financial management at the University of Rwanda when he decided to sample a dance class. It set him on the path to becoming a choreographer and Co-Artistic Director of the École des Sables in Senegal, one of the world’s most influential training organisations (their production of Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring is an international sensation). Wesley grew up in turbulent times: Rwandan, he was raised in Kinshasa in Congo; the family was imprisoned for almost a year during the civil war. He recently created a festival around the idea of Tolerance – there’s no one better to ask about dance’s role in troubled times.

Read more about Wesley below.

Series 8

Episode 1: Wesley Ruzibiza

We launch the new season of Why Dance Matters with a vital figure in African contemporary dance. Wesley Ruzibiza discovered dance almost by accident –…
Read more

Series 7

Episode 1: Drew McOnie

Series 7 kicks off with Drew McOnie, British choreographer, theatre director, and one of the busiest people in show business. He danced with Matthew Bourne's…
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Episode 2: Jakob Wheway Hughes

Jakob was gold medallist at the Royal Academy of Dance's Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2023. The Fonteyn took place at His Majesty's Theatre in…
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Episode 3: Pam Tanowitz

Pam Tanowitz is now an in-demand choreographer – but her career has followed a unique trajectory. For years, she and her company had an under-the-radar…
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Episode 4: Aaron S. Watkin

Aaron S Watkin seems like a man who knows what he likes: perfect material to direct a leading ballet company, and to judge a leading…
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Episode 5: Benjamin Zephaniah

In this episode of Why Dance Matters, we revisit a conversation from October 2022, in tribute to the poet, performer and activist Benjamin Zephaniah, who…
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Episode 6: Nina Wadia

This festive episode visits the pantomime: that uniquely British blend of song, dance, and silliness. Explaining its appeal is the cherished comic actor, Nina Wadia,…
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Episode 50: Olga Smirnova

Why Dance Matters celebrates its 50th episode in conversation with one of the world's great ballerinas. Olga Smirnova's Giselle with Dutch National Ballet will be…
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Previous series

Series 1

May – July 2021. Interviews include Xander Parish, Cathy Marston, Phil Chan and Céline Gittens.
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Series 2

September – November 2021. Interviews include James Whiteside, Leanne Benjamin, Libby Clegg and Ralph Heimans.
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Series 3

February – April 2022. Interviews include Carlos Acosta, Joyce DiDonato, Hofesh Shechter and Harper Waters.
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Series 4

October – November 2022. Interviews include Akram Khan, Dame Monica Mason, Charlotte Edmonds, and Jay Jay Revlon.
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Series 5

February – April 2023. Interviews include Tiler Peck, Tim Arthur, Raphael Ng, Ana Maria Campos, Francesca Harper, Giles Terera, and Dame Arlene Phillips.
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Series 6

July – August 2023. Interviews include David Hallberg, Merritt Moore, Wayne McGregor, Alice Oseman, Mitchell Rayner, Endalyn T. Outlaw, and Jennifer White.
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Take a seat

To celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of our global headquarters, we are releasing more £1,000 seats in the Aud Jebsen Studio Theatre for you to name after your dance school, an inspirational teacher, or a loved one.
Find out more