Dancer of the Year. The title is conferred by the readers of Dance and Dancers magazine and dancers will do anything to get it. This year's poll was very nearly sabotaged by a ballot-rigging scandal of Filipino proportions. Staff were totting up the votes when a strange and sinister pattern emerged. More and more entries were nominating the same young British ballet dancer. The editor, veteran dance critic John Percival, was at first happy to see this wave of support for young talent, but his pleasure turned to dismay as he noticed that the entries were all penned by the same few fists. Even more cack-handed was the fact that the envelopes were all franked by the same establishment. The cheats had presumably imagined Dance and Dancers to reside in a plate-glass tower with a whole department devoted to the readers' poll. Little did they know that although this glossy magazine reviews ballet in London, Paris and New York, it is in fact based in a shoebox in Mount Pleasant and the editor was opening half the mail himself. The bogus entries were duly weeded out and Birmingham Royal Ballet's Marion Tait (right) declared the legitimate winner.
Founded in 1950, Dance and Dancers was originally part of a stable of titles including Plays and Players, Music and Musicians and The Strad. Waspish, opinionated and packed with gossip and rumour, the magazine was the first British publication to interview Sylvie Guillem about her work and regularly reviews the output of New York City and Paris Opera ballet companies - something few newspapers bother to do. D & D went solo in 1991, but independence has been an uphill struggle. Very much a one-man-and-his-dog operation, a dose of flu can mean a whole edition being postponed. Issues have grown later and later and are now down to an erratic bi-monthly distribution. Stocked by Dance Books in Cecil Court and larger London newsagents, the magazine is more reliably obtained by post. At the current rate of production your pounds 21 annual subscription could last a lifetime.
Subscription enquiries: 081-686 4953/071- 837 2711 pounds 21 for 12 issues