Radio 2's Dance Season

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20111231

Live from London's Savoy Hotel, Patrick Kielty hosts the celebrations as the nation builds to midnight and listeners are entertained by performances from rat packer Buddy Greco, Tony Christie, Paloma Faith, Beverley Knight and the Anthony Strong Trio, supported by the 30-piece Guy Barker Orchestra.

Live from London's Savoy Hotel, Patrick Kielty hosts New Year's Eve celebrations.

Dancing In The Rain: Gene Kelly2011120620120926

Len Goodman celebrates the magical feet of a Hollywood legend, 100 after his birth in 1912.

He danced in the rain, he danced on the banks of the river Seine and he danced on the town in New York. Gene Kelly danced with charisma, athleticism, personality and style in memorable numbers such as I Got Rhythm, For Me and My Gal, 'S Wonderful and of course, Singin' in the Rain.

This documentary features original interviews with those who knew, admired and learned from Gene Kelly. Leslie Caron his romantic lead in An American in Paris is one of the last remaining co-stars from Hollywood's Golden Era. She recalls their initial introduction and the gruelling filming schedule, praising Kelly's approach not just to choreography but also to directing behind the lens.

Daughter Kerry Kelly Novick speaks fondly of a doting father who loved to learn and pass on knowledge, recalling encyclopaedia sessions in the red leather armchair of the study at home. But it wasn't all about hard work and learning. Kelly loved to entertain and Kerry remembers the legendary parties at the family home.

Matthew Morrison plays the role of teacher Will Shuester in the hit TV series Glee and attributes his love of dance to Kelly. Morrison offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Glee during the filming of the episode called The Substitute in which he broke a finger recreating the routine from Make 'Em Laugh and endured a miserable day shooting the mash-up of Singin' in the Rain and Rihanna's Umbrella wearing soaking wet wool suits.

Choreographer Matthew Bourne acknowledges the contribution Kelly made to dance on film and the influence he had on his own approach to choreography. "Those images from Singin' in the Rain are embedded on my brain and I'm constantly drawing from them".

There are further contributions from biographer Ruth Leon, dance historian Rusty Frank and lecturer Kelli Marshall; as well as archive interviews with Debbie Reynolds, Stanley Donan, and the man himself, Gene Kelly.

Radio 2's Dance Season continues, with Len Goodman celebrating the magical feet of a Hollywood legend, 100 after his birth in 1912.

He danced in the rain, he danced on the banks of the river Seine and he danced on the town in New York.

Gene Kelly danced with charisma, athleticism, personality and style in memorable numbers such as I Got Rhythm, For Me and My Gal, 'S Wonderful and of course, Singin' in the Rain.

This documentary features original interviews with those who knew, admired and learned from Gene Kelly.

Leslie Caron his romantic lead in An American in Paris is one of the last remaining co-stars from Hollywood's Golden Era.

She recalls their initial introduction and the gruelling filming schedule, praising Kelly's approach not just to choreography but also to directing behind the lens.

Daughter Kerry Kelly Novick speaks fondly of a doting father who loved to learn and pass on knowledge, recalling encyclopaedia sessions in the red leather armchair of the study at home.

But it wasn't all about hard work and learning.

Kelly loved to entertain and Kerry remembers the legendary parties at the family home.

Matthew Morrison plays the role of teacher Will Shuester in the hit TV series Glee and attributes his love of dance to Kelly.

Morrison offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Glee during the filming of the episode called The Substitute in which he broke a finger recreating the routine from Make 'Em Laugh and endured a "miserable day" shooting the mash-up of Singin' in the Rain and Rhianna's Umbrella wearing soaking wet wool suits.

Choreographer Matthew Bourne acknowledges the contribution Kelly made to dance on film and the influence he had on his own approach to choreography.

"Those images from Singin' in the Rain are embedded on my brain and I'm constantly drawing from them".

Len Goodman celebrates the magical feet of Hollywood legend Gene Kelly.

Fred Astaire: Puttin' On The Style20111213

Radio 2's Dance Season continues with Robert Lindsay celebrating a legendary hoofer whose poise and perfection lit up the silver screen.

We tend to remember Fred Astaire immaculately dressed in a top hat and tails but he hated wearing formal dress and regarded ordinary work clothes as his signature costume.

And it was more than just appearance with Fred Astaire - it was his elegance, his sophistication and, most of all, his unique talent that set him apart.

It's through the testimony of partners like Eleanor Powell, Leslie Caron, Joan Fontaine and, of course, Ginger Rogers, that we explore his career and his style - using archive interviews, film clips and songs.

There are also interviews with his daughter Ava Astaire-McKenzie, his former dancing partner Barrie Chase, film critic David Thomson, record producer Ken Barnes and Lionel Blair.

This documentary first broadcast in 2004, opening a five-part series on screen stars with style.

Radio 2 celebrates a legendary hoofer whose poise and perfection lit up the silver screen.

It's Got Bells On20111212

'Strictly'; 'Britain 's Got Talent'; 'So You Think You Can Dance'...

there is extraordinary enthusiasm for dance in many forms.

But there's one dance that never gets featured, and its England's own - the Morris.

Stewart Lee puts this to rights in 'It's Got Bells On' and the usual scornful jibes (such as,"There's a morris side crossing the road; which do you run over, the dancers or the accordion player? The accordionist, because you should always put business before pleasure") won't appear because though he's a comedian Stewart is an enthusiast for English traditional music and dance.

This is the stand up who had the Black Swan Rappers (dancers not MCs) open for him at a gig in Yorkshire, and the Forest of Dean Morris Men at his wedding reception.

A couple of years back even The Morris Ring said the tradition would have come to an end in 20 years because no young people were joining.

But Stewart discovers that the best young folk musicians, such as Jim Moray, Tim van Eyken and Laurel Swift all dance and all develop the form, that hip hop and morris merge in the work of The Demon Barbers and that contemporary choreographers are turning to the tradition.

When danced by athletic young men, or women such as the Belles of London City (in their corsets) the morris becomes as sexy as salsa, as fearsome as flamenco.

Stewart hears from Ashley Hutchings and John Kirkpatrick, who gave a boost to the revival in the 1970s with classic albums 'Morris On' and 'Battle of the Field', when morris went electric.

There is lots of fantastic music, including some from William Kimber, from whom Cecil Sharp collected his first morris tunes in 1899.

All this, and a quick glance at rapper and clog dancing, too.

Producer: Julian May.

Stewart Lee enthuses about a misunderstood dance that's as sexy as salsa - The Morris.

Super Troupers20111219

Radio 2's Dance Season continues with Arlene Phillips looking back at the rise and fall of the television dance troupes: the Beat Girls, Go Jos, Ruby Flipper, Legs and Co, Hot Gossip, and the most famous of them all - Pan's People.

For more than two decades, no television music show was complete without its own troupe of glamorous dancers.

The girls - and sometimes boys - became stars in their own right.

Choreographer and Hot Gossip founder Arlene talks to some of the dancers and producers behind the routines, telling the story of dance troupes; from shaky beginnings on live black and white TV, to their demise at the hands of the million dollar music video.

Arlene Phillips tells the story of the legendary television dance troupes.

Swinging At The Savoy20111205

Radio 2 launches its Dance Season with Len Goodman's celebration of swing dance, from the Savoy Ballroom in 1930s Harlem to its modern day renaissance.

Len explores the culture, the music and the dance moves, featuring anecdotes from pioneers like Norma Miller who danced at the Savoy and on the big screen in the 1930s and 40s.

He journeys back in time to explore its origins in African American music and dance and he discovers how swing made it onto the streets and into the nightclubs, contests and movies.

He then traces the modern day evolution of "no rules" lindy hop, with its competitions and international communities.

These days the dynamic lindy hop dance remains the most popular of the swing dances and it's arguably more popular now, than in its heyday.

From the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden, to vintage tea dances all over the UK, Len finds out exactly why swing's appeal endures to this day.

Contributors include The Puppini Sisters, Ray Gelato, Frankie Manning and Paul Mercer Ellington.

And Radio 2's Dance Season will take listeners right into the festive season, with eight documentaries celebrating diverse genres and some of dance's most captivating performers.

These include Gene Kelly, who features in tomorrow night's documentary, Dancing In The Rain, at 10pm.

Len Goodman explores the roots of swing dance from the 1930s Harlem to the modern day.

They Shoot Horses Don't They?20111214

Andy Davies looks at the history of the dance marathon and a period during the Great Depression when, in order to make a living, people literally danced until they dropped.

In gruelling dance competitions, such as those depicted in the Jane Fonda film They Shoot Horses, Don't They, sheer stamina was more important than skill and injuries could result in dancers being crippled for life.

However, another version of dance marathon history paints them as fantastic exercises in contrived showmanship which offered those who had nothing a chance, at worst, to make a living; at best to make a small fortune.

They were in effect the first reality shows and their legacy continues right up to the present, extending an eclectic influence through the years.

Andy traces this influence, from the development of the shopping mall, through the Vietnam War, the Twist, disco, huge charity events, and The Guinness Book of Records; to our very own Strictly Come Dancing and this year's Edinburgh Festival.

Andy Davies tells the story of dance marathons and their influence on modern reality TV.

Tiger Feet20111221

Radio 2's Dance Season continues with Ryan Tubridy exploring the Riverdance phenomenon.

In 1994 a cast of Irish dancers stole the show at the Eurovision Song Contest with their story of the Irish people expressed through music, song and traditional dance.

But it was Irish dance as it had never been seen before - modern, glamorous and sexy.

The show was developed into a box office phenomenon and Riverdance became a symbol of Ireland's Celtic Tiger era.

It hasn't been all plain sailing of course.

Principal dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley left the show in 1996, after creative differences with the producers.

But now, approaching its 18th year, the show continues to play to full houses around the world.

Ryan finds out how it all came about, and considers the legacy of Riverdance, as Ireland's boom years become a distant memory.

Contributors include composer Bill Whelan, producer Moya Doherty and some of the dancers and musicians who have been with the show from the beginning; and there are further archive contributions from Michael Flatley and Terry Wogan.

Too Darn Soulful20111220

As Radio 2's Dance Season continues, Pete Waterman examines what makes Northern Soul music so all-consuming for the devoted fan and introduces the uninitiated to this intoxicating mix of music and dance.

Looking at the social aspects of Northern Soul, Pete travels to the famous Twisted Wheel in Manchester to meet the people that still spend their Sunday afternoons re-living the dance sessions of the 60s and 70s.

The programme examines why the ritual of the dance is so important to the thousands who flock to the Northern Soul venues dotted across the UK; and what makes Northern Soul not only a music and dance phenomenon but also a major part of the fan's social network.

He talks to Pete Roberts who, after much campaigning, got the Twisted Wheel Club re-opened and now holds nights (and days) there.

We also hear from Elaine Constantine, the director of new film Northern Soul who grew up listening and dancing to Northern Soul.

From hearing her elder siblings' record collections to her first youth club experience, Northern Soul was the soundtrack to her adolescence.

And we hear from the people for whom Northern Soul is a way of life.

Pete Waterman examines what makes Northern Soul music so all-consuming for the devoted fan