30 September 2021 09:40

Series 2 of the RAD's ‘Why Dance Matters’ podcast launches with exciting line up of guests

In honour of International Podcast Day, today the RAD launches the second series of ‘Why Dance Matters’, a podcast which invites extraordinary people to examine why dance matters to them - and why it might matter to us all.

Top to bottom: James Whiteside, Yami Löfvenberg, Libby Clegg.

Guided by host David Jays, we hear from a range of remarkable people - from some of the leading names in dance whose life has centred around the art form, to inspirational athletes who have benefitted from the holistic benefits of dance. We also hear about the role dance has to play in supporting communities, transforming lives, and keeping us happy and healthy.

  • Star dancers, James Whiteside and Leanne Benjamin, both of whom had their first ballet classes with the RAD, offer their professional take.
  • Paralympian Libby Clegg looks back on her love affair with dance and the impact it has had on her life and career, including a turn on Dancing on Ice.
  • Renowned hip hop dance artist, Yami Löfvenberg, talks about the revelatory effect dance had on her as a young person discovering she had dyscalculia.
  • Fresh from competing in The Fonteyn, young dancer (and Commonwealth Games competitor) Hannah Martin, talks about her journey getting to RAD’s flagship event, and why she is taking home more than a medal.
  • Last but not least, RAD’s Artistic Director, Gerard Charles, talks about how the experiences we gain locally through our move to our new headquarters, and a greater engagement with our Wandsworth community, can be beneficial to share with our RAD world.

David Jays says: "For an inquisitive person, hosting the 'Why Dance Matters' conversations is a dream. I've been able to ask James Whiteside how he combines being a star classical dancer with his alter ego as an edgy drag queen, and hear how dance helped Yami Lofenberg leave her very difficult schooldays behind. I've asked Hannah Martin about competing at the highest level as both a gymnast and a ballerina, and pestered Leanne Benjamin about her perfectionist streak and her truly unique childhood pet. It's a privilege to have these conversations, and to share them."

Running order:

  • Episode 1: James Whiteside, Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, drag queen and musician, Thursday 30 September
  • Episode 2: Yami Löfvenberg, hip hop dance artist, movement maker and former teacher on RAD’s Step into Dance programme, Thursday 7 October
  • Episode 3: Gerard Charles, RAD’s Artistic Director, Thursday 14 October
  • Episode 4: Libby Clegg, Paralympic athlete, Thursday 21 October
  • Episode 5: Leanne Benjamin, former Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, Thursday 28 October
  • Episode 6: Hannah Martin, bronze medallist in RAD’s Fonteyn Competition 2021, Thursday 4 November         

'Why Dance Matters' is available on all major streaming platforms. Visit our podcast page to find out more.

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