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 8: Dame Darcey Bussell

Broadcast date: 13 April 2022

In this episode, we meet dance royalty – Dame Darcey Bussell, who is President of the Royal Academy of Dance. Darcey has been a warm and inspiring figurehead for dance as an artform and for the RAD in particular – whether it’s through her glittering career as a principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, or as a broadcaster, or as a judge for seven years on Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking in the RAD’s purpose-built new home in London, we ask if dance feels like a home to her? And why does dance matter to Darcey?

Find out more about Dame Darcey Bussell below.

Series 3

Episode 1: Carlos Acosta

Broadcast: 23 February 2022 Carlos Acosta has an electric connection to audiences – a combination of elegance, fire and rare charisma. Starting life in one…
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Episode 2: Joyce DiDonato

Broadcast date: 2 March 2022 The American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato has won deserved acclaim in the world's great opera houses – in Rossini, Handel…
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Episode 3: Barbara Peters

Broadcast date: 9 March 2022 Barbara Peters, a life-enhancing RAD teacher from Yorkshire, has been teaching for over 60 years. She has travelled the world…
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Episode 4: Kathryn Morgan

Broadcast date: 16 March 2022 With American ballerina Kathryn Morgan we cover some challenging subject matter – Kathryn's journey through dance has clearly brought her…
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Episode 5: Hofesh Shechter

Broadcast date: 23 March 2022 Twenty years ago, in the early hours of new year's day, a young artist tumbled off the Eurostar, ready to…
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Episode 6: Jordan Thomas

Broadcast date: 30 March 2022 On Why Dance Matters we enjoy meeting people whose work isn't obviously connected to dance. As a teenager in California,…
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Episode 7: Harper Watters

Broadcast date: 6 April 2022 Harper Watters is a highly accomplished dancer with Houston Ballet – but that's not what got him noticed on social…
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Episode 8: Dame Darcey Bussell

Broadcast date: 13 April 2022 In this episode, we meet dance royalty – Dame Darcey Bussell, who is President of the Royal Academy of Dance.…
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Series 2

Fonteyn special: Ashley Page

Broadcast date: 8 September This one-off special episode of Why Dance Matters marks the final of The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition, the RAD's flagship…
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Episode 1: James Whiteside

Broadcast date: 30 September 2021 James Whiteside is not only a principal at American Ballet Theatre, dancing all iconic classical princes as well as ambitious…
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Episode 2: Yami ‘Rowdy’ Löfvenberg

Broadcast date: 7 October 2021 Yami ‘Rowdy' Löfvenberg. Photo by Robert Alleyne. The hip-hop choreographer, dancer and teacher Yami Löfvenberg is also known as ‘Rowdy'.…
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Episode 3: Gerard Charles

Broadcast date: 14 October 2021 Gerard Charles arrived at the Royal Academy of Dance as its new Artistic Director in 2018, having been in leadership…
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Episode 4: Libby Clegg MBE

Broadcast date: 21 October 2021 Libby Clegg loved dance and ballet when she was little, but became a multi-medal-winning Paralympic athlete. She won five medals…
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Episode 5: Leanne Benjamin

Broadcast date: 28 October 2021 Australian ballerina Leanne Benjamin is a self-declared perfectionist – difficult in ballet, where the perfect performance is a tantalising impossibility.…
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Episode 6: Hannah Martin

Broadcast date: 4 November 2021 At just 19, Hannah Martin has already achieved remarkable things. In September 2021, the young ballet dancer won a medal…
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Episode 7: Ralph Heimans

Broadcast: 11 November 2021 This week we meet portrait artist Ralph Heimans as the RAD prepares to celebrate a landmark in its 100-year history- a…
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Series 1

Episode 1: Xander Parish

Broadcast date: 19 May 2021. Xander Parish tells a story of snatching triumph from the jaws of frustration. After a great start – winning a…
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Episode 2: Gurinder Chadha

Broadcast date: 26 May 2021 Gurinder Chadha doesn't make dance films or musicals – but with the slightest nudge, films like Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and…
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Episode 3: Cathy Marston

Broadcast date: 2 June 2021. The choreographer Cathy Marston has a rare gift for telling stories in dance. Now a major player in leading ballet…
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Episode 4: Victoria Treviño

Broadcast date: 9 June 2021 Dance, and especially ballet, can sometimes seem remote from people's lives. How do you bolt it into the heart of…
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Episode 5: Phil Chan

Broadcast date: 16 June 2021 Phil Chan is a dancer, arts advocate and activist born in Hong Kong and now based in New York. With…
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Episode 6: Dr Guddi Singh

Broadcast date: 23 June 2021 Dance touches lives beyond performers, so the guests on Why Dance Matters aren't only professional dancers. Guddi Singh is a…
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Episode 7: Céline Gittens

Broadcast date: 30 June 2021 Céline Gittens first made her name as a teenager, winning both a gold medal and the Audience Choice Award at…
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Episode 8: Luke Rittner

Broadcast date: 7 July 2021 Even for non-dancers, dance gets to the heart of things that matter to them the most. This week, for the…
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