I hope that you have been able to enjoy the glorious weather, and survived the intense heat…

I will be offering some Intermediate and Advanced ballet classes at URC during August, so see below for a schedule for the next three weeks.  These will continue as hybrid classes that can be attended either in person or online; please email me at susiecrow@gmail.com to book in advance if you wish to attend in person, to let me know if you need to cancel, and to request the relevant Zoom invitations if you wish to attend classes online.  Pointe work will be offered for those attending in person on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Please note timing change – as there are no beginners’ classes at the moment Saturday classes during August will start at 11.00am, not 11.45am; also whatever your online calendar may say, Monday classes will start as always at 5.45pm.

Guest teacher alert – I am delighted to welcome my longstanding colleague Jennifer Jackson to teach for us on Saturday 20th August.  A former soloist with the Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, Jennifer is an accomplished choreographer and wise teacher, and has successfully directed Images Ballet Company for London Studio Centre. She also recently edited Ballet: the Essential Guide to Technique and Creative Practice – read Maggie Watson’s review here.

Jennifer will teach class and pointe work.  Not to be missed!

Prices remain the same at £10 for in person attendance and £7 for online, pointe work at £5, and payment can be either in cash on the day or online by bank transfer.  If paying online please label your payment with the class code to help me keep track.  I am very aware that some people paid in advance for classes that were cancelled because of my covid; the payment for any classes missed can be carried forward towards classes in this batch.  

I will then be taking a break for other projects over the last week of August and beginning of September, and plan to resume teaching for the autumn term on the normal schedule from Thursday 8th September.

For alternative days and offers of special summer classes this coming month check out Ségolène Tarte’s current offer of Tuesday classes at URC and online here:

Also Penny Cullerne-Bown of East Oxford School of Ballet will be offering some classes over the holiday period; for further information contact her on: pcb@eastoxballet.co.uk

Looking forward to seeing you in class,


See below for a schedule for BiSS classes up to the end of May. I am resuming teaching after the Easter break from Thursday 21st April. However I will be taking a holiday break at the beginning of May, from 3rd to 11th, so please note and put in your diaries that there will be no classes on Thursday 5th May, Saturday 7th May and Monday 9th May. Please note too that whatever your online calendar says, the Monday Intermediate class starts at 5.45pm, and the Saturday Inter/Adv class starts at 11.45am!

These classes will continue to be hybrid, offering the option to attend either in person or online. It seems as though Covid is still very much out there, so we will be continuing with some precautions (see below); numbers may remain a bit limited, so please do email or text me to book in advance if you wish to attend in person, and let me know if you need to cancel. And please email me at susiecrow@gmail.com to request the relevant Zoom invitations if you wish to attend classes online. As before, pointe work classes are available to those attending the class before in person.

Payment for BiSS URC classes remains the same: £10 per class for in person attendance, with the loyalty card so that your 10th class is free, and £7 for online attendance. Pointe work sessions remain at £5.

Thursday 21st April:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 23rd April:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 25th April:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 28th April:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 30th April:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 2nd May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 12th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 14th May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced

Monday 16th May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 19th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 21st May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced

Monday 23rd May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 26th May:   10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe work

Saturday 28th May:   10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe work

Monday 30th May:   4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Covid precautions:
If you plan to attend a class in person you may wish to take a Lateral Flow Test beforehand for your own peace of mind, and for that of others attending. However given that tests now need to be paid for, I shall quite understand if you do not.
Obviously if you are experiencing symptoms or have a positive test result you should not attend; you are as always very welcome to do the class online instead if you feel up to it. Please do let me know so that I can if necessary inform others.
Personally I would find it difficult to do class in a mask, but if you would feel more at ease doing so, please feel free to wear one. I will teach without a mask for clearer communication especially with those online, so please let me know if you would prefer that I keep my distance when giving individual feedback. We will continue to keep windows/doors open for better ventilation, so do come prepared with layers to keep you warm, hopefully not so necessary this term. And please as much as possible maintain a prudent distance from others in the class. View physical distancing as a useful exercise in spatial awareness!

Looking forward to seeing you in class,


Over the course of the pandemic and under the limitations of lockdown I have been creating miniature dances arising from balletic challenges that could be practised and performed at home. There is a long established tradition in Western classical music whereby established composers have written technical studies, aimed at both amateur and professional musicians; some of these transcending their functional starting points to become great music. These are published and as such available to all who wish to try playing them; I hope to make my dance studies similarly publicly available online, and am currently investigating appropriate formats and platforms for doing this.

This grew from my response to those initially intimidated by live Zoom ballet classes, for whom I began making and posting a daily enchaînement on YouTube, to be viewed and practised in one’s own time and at one’s own pace – you can find Enchaînement of the day here.   I began making more choreographic studies in the summer of 2020, greatly supported by the shared process of two wonderful programmes run by Caroline Salem at Space @ Clarence Mews in Hackney.  I had previously passed valuable and constructive time in this wonderful studio facility, dedicated to the exploring and making of new work through structured programmes which include expert mentoring.   Under lockdown it was of course impossible to go there in person, but Caroline designed online programmes which via Zoom allowed small groups of diverse artists to share their emerging ideas, receive peer feedback, and explore new virtual ways of framing and disseminating their work. 

Initially I was dancing in my kitchen; but gradually towards the end of 2020 Oxford’s Arts at the Old Fire Station (OFS) began to open its studio for individual rehearsal.  I was thus able to take advantage of Oxford Dance Forum and OFS’s generous Breathing Space programme of subsidised rehearsal space, generating and filming further dances to add to a small but growing portfolio of solos to share with Caroline and my newfound online colleagues.

Oxford Dance Forum’s Scratch Night on 9th February 2022 – ODF’s first live show since before the pandemic – provided a perfect opportunity to show some of these works to a wider group and receive feedback, but also to see the studies in a more conventional performance setting rather than in the studio or domestic space, alongside striking solos by Pragna Das and Helen Edwards.  You can read Maggie Watson‘s account of the evening here. Having done the initial dancing work myself I was delighted to be able to teach existing studies to talented local Oxford dancers, and to make one new.  Some of these pieces have been conceived with the qualities and needs of specific dancers in mind; others to focus on particular technical concepts.  Ségolène Tarte, Evie Tucker and Thomas Page danced a selection set to piano music by composers Anatoly Lyadov, Trevor Hold, Erik Satie, Georgy Catoire, Francis Poulenc, and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Rehearsing with Evie Tucker at URC
Photo by Thomas Page

I hope you enjoy the following selection of pictures taken by experienced and sensitive Oxford dance photographer Stu Allsopp.  This was an encouraging event; watch this space for further developments!

My sincere gratitude to Arts Council England’s prompt and empathetic Covid Emergency funding scheme, which supported me at the outset of the pandemic, enabling me to equip myself and develop my limited IT skills to cope with the new realities of dancing, teaching and creating online…


After show discussion with Ségolène, Evie and Thomas…

Here follows an account of BiSS activity for 2021.  Apologies for a long post – in the end it proved a full and busy year!  Do hover over names and titles to find embedded links to further information. Special thanks to Maggie Watson for her insightful reviews and reports of events and performances over this year for Oxford Dance Writers, some of which are referred and linked to in this piece.

Beginning the year once more in Covid lockdown meant that teaching continued online from my kitchen. Classes included a weekly session for adult beginners as well as intermediate and advanced classes, occasional Wednesday classes for the Tully Collective, and for a period weekly company classes for Yorke Dance, maintaining professional practice at home.  Dancers attended classes not only from Oxford but also from London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Sicily, Athens, Berlin and even Egypt and Australia; an unexpected bonus of teaching online.

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Following a summer of trying things out I am resuming a full schedule of ballet classes in person at United Reformed Church Hall (URC) this September, including Adult Beginnners, Intermediate and Advanced classes, with optional pointe work for experienced dancers. See below for the full list of classes up to and including 25th September. I will be taking a few days break at the end of September (week commencing Monday 27th) but then resume regular classes from Monday 4th October.

Please note the following small changes resulting from precautions against Covid19:

The Monday adult beginners’ class will now start at 4.00pm instead of 4.15pm, to allow a little more time for changing groups before the next class. The Saturday Intermediate/Advanced class will now start at 11.45am for the same reason.

For the time being I am keeping in-person class numbers a bit reduced in the interests of being able to maintain a little more social distance, thus maximum 11 plus teacher makes 12. Classes will be hybrid which people can attend either in person or online via Zoom, to give people a choice, and to enable more people to do class.

Those who wish to attend in person should drop me an email or text to book their attendance for the classes they want to do; but there is no need to book in advance if you are attending online. However if you wish to attend on line, email me to let me know the classes you are interested in, so that I can send you the relevant Zoom invitations.

If by any chance you cannot attend a class you have booked please let me know so that I could offer the place to someone else. If you have already paid, your payment will be carried forward to cover a future class.

The price for attending in person has reverted to the former £10 per class; the previous loyalty card scheme will be running, whereby your 10th class is free. You can pay in cash, by cheque, or online. For those attending online the price remains at £7.

Please note, I am currently having some problems with sending email to BTInternet addresses; I would be very grateful if you could inform your provider that I am a trusted sender and not spam!

Monday 6th September           4.00-5.15pm  Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 9th September        10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 11th September       10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

Monday 13th September         4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 16th September      10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 18th September      10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.45am-1.15pm  Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

Monday 20th September        4.00-5.15pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursday 23rd September     10.00-11.30am Advanced, 11.45am-12.30pm Pointe Work

Saturday 25th September      10.00-11.15am Adult Begnners, 11.45am-1.15pm Intermediate/Advanced, 1.30-2.15pm Pointe Work

I hope this makes sense… please email with any queries.
Looking forward to receiving your bookings, and to seeing you back in class either in the Hall or on screen!

Delighted to announce the gradual resuming of live ballet classes at the reopened United Reformed Church Hall (URC) this summer…
Following a couple of successful trial classes in the Hall, here is a schedule of Ballet in Small Spaces classes going forward for July. These are all at Intermediate to Advanced level, and are hybrid classes that can be attended either in person or online. I am reverting to the days and times of classes before the pandemic – please read carefully and put in your diary. Please note that there will be no Monday class on 12th July because of the DANSOX Summer School.

Monday 5th July: 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 8th July: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Thursday 15th July: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 17th July: 11.30-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced
Monday 19th July: 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 22nd July: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 24th July: 11.30-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced
Monday 26th July: 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 29th July: 10.00-11.30am Advanced

Because of Covid safety protocols and the need to maintain some social distancing, there is currently a limit of 9 people who can attend in person; so those attending the Hall will need to register in advance; please contact me at susiecrow@gmail.com to specify the dates you would like to attend. Once you have registered, if for any reason it turns out that you cannot attend, please let me know soonest so that your place could be taken by someone else. For online attendance please email me to receive a Zoom invitation.

The cost for attending in person will revert to the pre-pandemic price of £10 per class, but online attendance will continue to cost £7. The BiSS loyalty card scheme whereby those attending in person and paying £10 per class get their 10th class free will be resumed.

I plan to take a brief break in the first week of August, but then to continue offering classes, to allow us to make the most of finally being able to dance back in a studio rather than at home, and also of summer weather, given that we will need to keep windows open for maximum ventilation! In order to be able to schedule viably for August it would be really helpful if people could let me know whether they are interested in continuing to take class over what is normally a holiday period. I am also thinking of resuming additional pointe work sessions after Thursday and Saturday morning classes; so please let me know if these might be of interest. I hope that it may also be possible to invite a couple of guest teachers over this summer period.

Looking forward to seeing you in class, either online or in person!


I hope you have had an enjoyable Easter break and are enjoying the spring sunshine…
I have now scheduled the next batch of BiSS ballet classes, and will be resuming teaching from Thursday 22nd April. Classes will be continuing online via Zoom for the coming term as the URC remains closed; I am in touch with them about what may be necessary to enable them to open again safely, and will keep you posted of any developments.

I am issuing invitations to the following:

Thursday morning Advanced classes starting on 22nd April 10.00-11.30am

Monday Intermediate classes starting on 26th April 5.30-7.00pm

Adult beginners classes starting on Saturday 24th April 10.00-11.15am

If you would like to receive an invitation for any of these classes and have not already received one please email me. The price remains the same at £7 per class; you are welcome to pay for a batch of classes rather than singly if that is more convenient. If you are having any issues over payment or affordability please do contact me.

If Zoom is not your thing, why not check out the series “Enchainement of the day” on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here, which provide you with a daily enchainement to work on in your own time and at your own pace. For less experienced dancers wishing to maintain their practice at home in their own time there is also film of last summer’s adult beginners’ class with full explanation and demonstration, available by private link for £25; please contact me for details.

Looking forward to seeing you back in class soon!

When I finished last year’s review of the year with best wishes for 2020 little did I suspect quite what a year it would be… Apologies for a long posting!  Do hover over names and titles to find embedded links to further information.

2020 began busily, making final corrections to my doctoral thesis and writing papers emerging from my research.  I delivered “Developing craft in the ballet class” at the Parallax 14 Craft and Art Symposium at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance on 12th February.  This friendly but thought provoking one day event brought together papers and performance presentations from artists and scholars in a variety of disciplines and genres in stimulating discussion. 

No sooner that completed than I was preparing “We can know more that we can tell: transmitting knowledge in the ballet class” for presentation as part of the University of Malta’s three day Conference Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis.  Husband Pete and I left London for sunny Malta on Tuesday 10th March, my paper scheduled for the Friday.  Held in the heart of picturesque Valetta in the dignified stone building of the old University the first day programme of this international gathering was truly exciting in its breadth and variety.  But at the end we were summoned together in the main hall and it was announced that the rest of the conference was to be cancelled.  The seriousness of the contagion of Covid19 taking hold frighteningly in Italy was beginning to be fully realised, and the Maltese government summarily imposed strict 14 day quarantine measures on foreigners arriving from several European countries.  Over a final convivial drink with colleagues and new found friends we made the sad but necessary decision to get the first flight out the next morning, back to the UK, where the following week lockdown was announced – and life changed.

Like so many other self employed I lost all my work with lockdown; it was no longer possible to teach my regular classes, as the URC Hall had to close, and such communal activities were in any case not permitted.  Soon other commitments further ahead were also cancelled as all realised that restrictions and social distancing measures would be in place indefinitely.  It soon became apparent that the only way to maintain practice and perhaps a livelihood was to embrace possibilities online offered by platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and the newly emerging Zoom; a daunting prospect for a technical Luddite like myself.  Here a huge thank you to Arts Council England for their speedy and sympathetic deployment of Emergency Funding ; their grant provided a cushion of time and funds for resources while I struggled to adapt to online working and develop new skills and ideas for taking Ballet in Small Spaces forward in the digital realm.

The dance world responded to the devastating curtailment of live activities with immediate enterprise.  Companies made recordings of past performances digitally available to make up for the lack of live shows; but also, alongside numerous independent teachers, began offering live-streamed classes for dancers to participate in from their own homes.  An extraordinary choice opened up, enabling professionals and amateurs to study with teachers from all over the world, sampling class practice at institutions such as English National Ballet, where Director Tamara Rojo taught a series of daily classes from her kitchen, and Paris Opera Ballet, whose grandes étoiles such as Dorothée Gilbert took turns to share barre work from their homes. I enjoyed dipping into the sympathetic and upbeat class of the Norwegian Ballet’s ballet master Jahn Magnus Johansen, and the wisdom of veteran Paris based teacher Wayne Byers.  Some of the huge online offer was of questionable quality; so special thanks to colleague Ségolène Tarte and Sonia Tycko for their instructive sampling and judicious recommendations…

My initial experience of the live interaction of Zoom and streamed classes was negative; we are all now familiar with peering at thumbnail pictures of anxious faces or partially obscured bodies in cramped domestic spaces, stilted conversations, inexplicable loss of sound or picture, screeching sound distortions.  For that reason my heart goes out to those who have decided that Zoom ballet classes are not for them, too stressful to follow teaching this distanced, or perhaps just one online interaction too many in a day where much work is now by computer.  I began teaching online in late March by posting single enchaînements on Instagram, soon migrating to YouTube, with the idea of providing something fully visible, explained in detail, and viewable as many times as necessary, that people could learn in their own time and at their own pace.  Our kitchen was cleared to become a space for dancing, and I owe a huge vote of thanks to Pete for filming me demonstrating these on my iPhone.  The “Enchaînement of the day” series worked gradually through the barre and centre of a whole class and then some further groups of related enchaînements around particular themes.  You can find all 51 on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here.

By the end of April it became apparent that we were not going to be back in the URC Hall for the foreseeable future, and there was a real need to provide some complete live online classes tailored to what people could do in their own homes.  I started to offer a series of Monday evening “Kitchen classes” via Zoom, welcoming back regular students; at the end of May adding a series of BiSS Thursday morning classes.  An impressively large number gave the classes a try, and an encouraging number began attending regularly.  Eternal thanks to all who generously provided illuminating and helpful feedback on their experience of my initial pilot! 

These two classes for intermediate to advanced dancers gave me the confidence to offer through July a 5 class series for adult beginners.  I had worried that beginners would find learning by Zoom particularly challenging; without the support of others around whom one could watch and copy in moments of doubt, and the mutual encouragement and shared fun that had become so much a part of these classes before Covid19 struck.  It was heart-warming to see how people embraced the opportunity to resume their learning of ballet in this new way. Under normal circumstances we would have spent a whole term on a particular class; this short series seemed to end just as we were getting going.  Emboldened by my YouTube experience I rashly promised to film the whole class so that people could continue to practise and develop the work we had begun.  Another steep learning curve through August as I worked out with much cursing how to film myself on iMovie and edit my clips together with captions interspersed.  The result three videos, comprising a warm-up, barre work and centre practice with demonstration and explanation, which are accessible via a private Vimeo link; contact me if you are interested in purchasing this.

I was but one of many exploring dance on film under lockdown.  A feature of this period was the outpouring of creative homemade and small-scale dance movies reflecting the difficult career changing circumstances of dancers both poignantly and humorously; both students and professionals skilfully and  imaginatively exploring the possible.  Not only filming within the confines of the home, but also out in deserted streets, beaches, parks and gardens, taking the chance to leap and bound in casual clothes and sneakers, revealing dancing personalities in fresh and liberating ways in relation to the natural world.  Regular permitted walks brought aesthetic delight in observing the process of seasonal transformation; I spent a happy summer afternoon improvising in the atmospheric gardens at Rousham, and another in nearby woods with Banbury based dance practitioner Paula Bailey in embodied response to the tangle of fallen branches, accompanied by the rustle of leaves and birdsong…

Meanwhile out of all these learning experiences a choreographic project was taking shape, building on a longstanding interest in the concept of technical studies, borrowed from musical composition, that I had previously explored in Inside Out in 2011; theoretical ideas emerging from my research now seeping into my practice.  It felt as though, for many ballet dancers, training at home in a confined space emphasised maintaining physical fitness and mechanical abilities; but provided little opportunity to explore and refine the expressive dimensions of their technical skills.  My idea to produce miniature dances tailored to performance in smaller spaces that would embed technical concepts, study and challenge into an artistic form, to give dancers something beyond mere exercises when theatrical performance opportunities are non-existent; and to enable non-professionals to develop their own sense of dancing as a communicative expressive statement.

Part of this has involved an extensive search for suitable music, initially sticking with piano music as an extension from class.  Devising the enchaînements for YouTube had alerted me to the minefield of copyright in the digital domain, throwing up not simply the practical questions of music rights and permissions, but also profound philosophical questions of ownership of both music and the dance.  An absorbing black hole where there are as yet more questions than answers…  I have valued throughout this year email dialogue and discussion on musical matters with the immensely knowledgeable and experienced ballet accompanist Jonathan Still, and commend all those interested in the use of music in the ballet class to his enlightening blog, highly recommended!

To bring structure to a project developing a very different outcome in an unfamiliar medium I have participated in two of the inspiring mentored programmes run by Caroline Salem of Clarence Mews.  This year dancing in that tranquil studio has been almost entirely impossible, but Caroline set up online programmes in which artists might continue to come together to share their emerging work in a safe and supportive environment, and give and receive feedback; also valuably try out new techniques for sharing and producing work online.  From July to August I took part in an intense Virtual Month of Making via Zoom with 5 other artists, comprising weekly sharings and regular one-to-one sessions with Caroline; and have just completed a further 10 week programme with 4 others.  It has been a joy to share the solitary and often doubt ridden process of creation with artists from as far afield as Finland and Tokyo as well as closer to home, and who are also working with media beyond dance; aerial work, comedy, spoken word, writing (both prose and poetry), flower arranging, installation work, film, sharing these in stimulating cross fertilization… And to marvel at the richness of ideas budding despite enormous restriction, artists putting forth hopeful green shoots in a year which has often seemed barren and devastated.

Another positive aspect of this difficult year has been closer involvement with Oxford Dance Forum (ODF) .  Following last autumn’s conclusion of the successful 3 year ACE funded Evolution programme, a new phase beckoned, time to re-evaluate and initiate new projects.  At the AGM in January a small steering team was confirmed, with Jenny Parrott continuing her valuable work as Administrator, Jane Connelly as Treasurer, Ségolène Tarte as Secretary and myself as Chair.  We looked initially to continue valuable practical programmes for Oxford based dance artists such as monthly Creative Labs, and Scratch Nights at the Old Fire Station.  With lockdown these were inevitably indefinitely suspended; but our activity was not!  We have met regularly, using this down time to revise ODF membership arrangements and constitution; we also instigated regular Thursday afternoon informal Check in and Chat sessions.  As well as providing a way for local dancers to keep in touch these have helped ODF to link up with similar organisations across the South East region and beyond.  Jenny’s heroic efforts have ensured that a monthly newsletter packed with information about opportunities and assistance has gone out to members and wider associates; providing cheering evidence of solidarity and ingenuity within the beleaguered but unbowed independent dance sector.

ODF’s huge gratitude also goes to two local venues, themselves struggling with the financial devastation wrought by lockdown closure, but still reaching out to support freelance artists facing suspension of activity and loss of livelihood.  September brought a fruitful collaboration with Oxford Playhouse to provide a week of free Covid safe rehearsal space for local artists in the Burton Taylor Studio; and in November and December Arts at the Old Fire Station (OFS) began a generous programme of affordable access to its studio, which ODF is further subsidising for its members under the name “Breathing Space”; a real bargain and a chance for local dancers to get on with developing work in anticipation of the eventual resumption of performance opportunities… continuing into 2021, watch this space!

Also continuing bravely to programme events despite setbacks was Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) based at St Hilda’s College.  It was not possible to bring people together at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, but indefatigable director Professor Sue Jones programmed a Virtual Summer School featuring enlightening lectures on major American choreographer Paul Taylor by Alastair Macaulay and beautiful Taylor dancer Parisa Kobdeh, alongside new dance scholarship, including a lecture by myself: “The Ballet Class: A Critical Reading”. All the lectures are now available on the JduP YouTube Channel, along with previous DANSOX lectures by distinguished scholars and practitioners, you can find this treasure trove here.

Sadly this year brought great losses within my dance family.  At the beginning of February John Travis, genial former Director of the British Ballet Organization whom I had first come to know in the late 1980s, died after a long battle with cancer; you can read an account of his rich career as a performer, teacher, educator, director, librarian, archivist, and mentor here.  And then the teacher who had taught me and others so much over recent years, both as dancers and as people, the wonderful Roger Tully, passed peacefully away on 26th February.  My last social gathering before lockdown was his funeral; a beautiful sunny spring day with blue sky and nodding daffodils paying perfect tribute.  Here is the heartfelt obituary written by fellow Tully alumni Jennifer Jackson and Nicholas Minns for The Dancing Times.  You can also read some reflections on Roger’s teaching in my essai “Outside the mainstream: ballet teaching at the margins” recently published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Journal here. Roger’s Wednesday classes for the “Tully Collective” continue in London and now online, providing an opportunity to keep his refined and thoughtful teachings alive through their on-going practice, with classes taught on a rota by Naomi Sorkin, Jennifer Jackson, Patrick Wood, Aniko Nagy and myself.

Closer to home at the beginning of lockdown my Oxford ballet friend and fellow student, Caroline Wheatcroft (nee Pavely) died shockingly too soon of a brain tumour.  Her untimely death prompted nostalgic reminiscences about our happy times learning ballet together, first with Beryl Jackson at the Tetlow Hulme Ballet Studio off New Inn Hall Street, and then with June Christian, before we both went to the Royal Ballet School; you can read more about this lovely sunny person and our early experiences here.

Finally on 17th November much loved teacher and exemplary dancer Karen Sellick, stalwart of the Oxford dance community, passed away, again from cancer; another cruel reminder that Covid19 is not the only killer.  She is greatly missed by pupils and colleagues for her unfailing interest and support, and her joyous dancing in classes well into her eighties, providing inspiration to us all.  Oxford Dance Writers will be publishing a tribute to her.

Throughout this year I have struggled to keep my anger at bay.  I am horrified by the shameless ideological dismantling and removal of democratic representation and rights, the mendacity and corruption of government, the trashing of opportunities for generations to come, and the political incompetence which has allowed Covid19 to rage.  I have watched with despair as the arts world suffers the perfect storm that is its downgrading and disappearance through impoverished educational policy and the short-sighted commodification of higher education, combined with the economic havoc wrought by Covid19 closures and now the loss of freedom of movement through Brexit.  Yet I have also regularly been reminded of the miraculous transformative effect of engaging with the arts, which have been there through this most difficult of years bringing joy, solace, and enlightenment, genuinely enriching the lives of those who embrace them.  A New Year’s resolution then to do my utmost to continue, promote and support the artistic activity and community this battered and misguided country sorely needs.

Wishing you all the best for 2021,


I hope that you have had an enjoyable Christmas break despite current restrictions. New Year is creeping up on us, so here are plans for classes from January.

Given the ongoing Covid19 situation I will be continuing to teach via Zoom from my kitchen for the foreseeable, and there is as yet no fixed date for URC to re-open. My plan is to resume the usual schedule of classes starting from Thursday 7th January 2021 as follows:
Thursdays: 10.00-11.30am Advanced from 7th January
Saturdays: 10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners from 9th January
Mondays: 5.30-7.00pm Intermediate/advanced from 11th January

I will nearer the time be sending out Zoom invitations directly to those who have attended these classes before; if you have not previously attended but would like to, please contact me so that I can send you the necessary link and payment details.

The price of classes remains the same at £7; and classes can be paid for individually or in batches, online or by cheque. Please contact me if affordability is an issue.

Looking forward to seeing you in class soon!


Following on from the previous update; ballet classes via Zoom from my kitchen will be continuing throughout November and the first half of December as follows:

Monday Kitchen classes 5.30-7.00pm: a new series of 5 classes up to and including Monday 14th December will start on Monday 16th November.

Thursday Advanced classes 10.00-11.30am: a new series of 7 classes up to and including Thursday 17th December began last week.

Saturday Adult Beginners 10.00-11.15am: a follow-on series of 6 classes up to and including Saturday 12th December began last week.

Please email me if you would like to receive a Zoom invitation for any of these classes or need further information. The charge for all classes continues to be £7.

Sadly under the current lockdown live classes in Oxford have had to cease for the time being. Colleague Ségolène Tarte will however be resuming offering some classes online over this period, so check out updates to her schedule here: https://dancingconvolutions.blogspot.com/p/teaching.html

Keep dancing!