March Recap: New satirical documentary shines new light on the debate

What’s been in the news in March? Unfortunately, it looks like another quiet one. Well, in terms of mainstream media. You’ll be happy to know a lot of practitioners have continued to be busy bodies behind the scenes!

The Justin Reeve Company have taken to satire to contribute to the debate. Smacks of Naff is a “documentary that follows 5 dance makers, their works, experiences and views”.

It seems to be a series of short clips (there has been two so far) where female choreographers turn the widespread views and ideologies of the gender debate on its head.

The first clip ironically “can’t even think of any male choreographers…” and suggests we “have some for the sake of it”. *Points and coughs at Akram Khan*

But let’s let bygones be bygones eh? Have a watch, it’s really funny and thought-provoking.

Smacks of naff – clip 1 from Justine Reeve and Company on Vimeo.

The second clip is quite sad, but hilariously done.

How would YOU describe your choreographic career? Hopefully not the same as poor old Jenny!

Smacks of naff – clip 2 from Justine Reeve and Company on Vimeo.

Elsewhere, in more theatrical news, it’s been revealed by The Stage that women in top subsidised theatres are paid £29,000 less on average than men! Wow.

Their research also found a lack of equality and diversity at the top 20 most heavily subsidised theatres. Because of this “analysis of salaries of black, Asian and ethnic minority leaders in the industry could not be undertaken”.

An ACE spokeswoman told The Stage: “We welcome The Stage’s work on this important issue. While levels of salary are a matter for individual organisations, we believe that organisations in receipt of public funds should be clear and transparent about how they are spent.

“The arts council publishes the salaries of the executive team and we would encourage fundees to do the same.”

Does this, or can this, translate into the dance industry?

In a Facebook forum, female practitioners like Justine Reeve, Chantal Guevara, and Tamsin Fitzgerald talked about the lack of in-depth research available when it comes to pay, and inequality.

There’s hardly anything ‘dance specific’. This industry has to, time and time again, borrow related information from other sectors or publications (Tonic Theare, Glassdoor etc.) to form an argument. This needs to change. (Thank goodness for Article 19!)

Time to borrow some Ballet news!


The English National Ballet will be holding a forum titled ‘She Said‘, to discuss dance from a female perspective.

The choreographic forum has limited spaces (30) but is hoping to have its talk go beyond its doors and engage many researchers, practitioners, students and artists alike.

Watch English National Ballet’s artistic director Tamara Roho introduce the event!


It’s all happening on April 18, 6:30pm, at Sadler’s Wells, and will have guest speakers Dr Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel (Senior Lecturer in Dance, Royal Academy of Dance) and Julia K. Gleich (Choreographer and Curator, CounterPointe performance series.

News in brief

The Financial Times has chimed into the debate, as reporter Griselda Murray Brown reports on Sexism on the dance world. “Women have long been pioneers in dance, establishing companies and breaking new ground. But the leading choreographers today are men. Where have all the women gone?”

And finally, a new female theatre company, Damsel Productions, is aiming to make “theatre by women and for women” and address the gender imbalance.

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