Earlier this year I was contacted by the people of the renown Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their newly “refurnished” magazine, the Dance Gazette. Celebrating their 90th anniversary in 2010, the British Royal Academy of Dance is one of the world’s most influential dance education and training organizations.

As an old RAD student (I hold a couple of RAD exams, even one passed ‘with Distinction’ back in 2003 icon_razz-3484396 ), I was thrilled to hear the old Dance Gazette magazine has gotten a needed facelift, and of course, happily agreed on reviewing their magazines quarterly here on Tights and Tiaras.

First of all, a little background:

The Dance Gazette has been RAD’s member magazine since it’s first six-page issue back in 1930. Through the years, it has slowly grown, changing shape, look and editors several times. For the RAD’s 90th anniversary in 2010, the magazine was remade, re-designed and generally renewed, and made available to the grand public in magazine shops and online for the first time ever. The new Dance Gazette looks and feels much like other leading dance-magazines, and shows little signs of their old “members only” profile.


The first, renewed Dance Gazette with a smashing Natalie Portman on the cover

The first issue was supposed to be covered here on Tights and Tiaras before the summer already, but because of issues with the post-office (lets just say the mailman doesn’t like me anymore) that was not possible. As it is somewhat outdated by now, I’ll narrow it down to that its front page is graced by Natalie Portman in her (fabulous) Black Swan make-up, and the movie (which was fresh out on the theaters at the time it published) is given a lot of space also inside the magazine. Remember my opinion on Black Swan? Dance Gazette was a bit more impressed by the movie at the time, I think, but in retrospect, I have to say my first review of the movie was indeed a bit harsh..
Further, the magazine has several articles on dance and dance education, I found their coverage on young dancers in the Genée competition very good, raising questions around what young dancers can or will get from partaking in dance-competitions.

As with the first issue, also the second time, the mailman kept it to himself for a long period before deciding to actually put it in my mailbox. But, just days ago, he finally did. This time its cover shows a blurry picture of a ballerina holding an arabesque on a dark city bus-stop, playing on an article of how dance-wear has defined the modern wardrobe inside the magazine. A fine article, but the front picture is far from as stunning as their clean and breathtaking cover of the 1st issue.


Second issue, in my opinion, not as breathtaking…

On the first pages (well, after the obligatory commercials – something has to pay the bills, I guess) one find a regular feature I particularly like, called “First things”. It is something of an international performances and features calendar for the period to come, although not trying to be complete, neither does it feel “bought”. It’s rather a bunch of recommendations for the readers, with a focus on performances and educational happenings around the world, although still with a quite strong emphasis on the UK – the magazine is British, after all.

A decent, two-page interview with the world stars Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev preparing for a new production of Romeo and Juliet is one of the main articles in DG’s 2nd issue, so is the mentioned larger feature covering dancewear and modern women’s fashion’s many encounters since the mid 70′s. I found an article on ballet training for babies (yes, I mean literarily, not like in Dirty Dancing) very interesting, I might just share some thoughts on that in a separate post.

In general, it is obvious the articles of the “new” Dance Gazette are written for a large public, not using any difficult dance terminology, but not being over-explanatory either. Sort of like Tights and Tiaras, in a way. I would love to read a good article on the real life of a ballet dancer in a magazine sometime though, a good old peek behind the curtains, no glorification or sugar coating. I guess you’ll all have to make do with Tights and Tiaras for now, dear readers, but it might be an idea for all the dance magazines out there?!


Just for the sake of openness, I want to tell you I do not receive any payment for these reviews, nor does the RAD or anyone else have a say in what I write on Tights and Tiaras. I do receive a copy of the magazine to review, or at least when my mailman feels like finding my mail-box, which has proven to be rather difficult. If you are interested in the terms for product reviews here on Tights and Tiaras, check out our policy.