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Arlene Phillips: ‘Female choreographers must stand their ground’

Arlene Phillips says the government proposal will damage the creative industries. Photo: Dan Wooller Arlene Phillips. Photo: Dan Wooller
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Arlene Phillips has warned that female choreographers need to fight to get ahead in the sector, claiming men are better at “seducing producers”.

Phillips, whose credits include Starlight Express and Saturday Night Fever, said it was more difficult for female choreographers working in the classical and contemporary dance world to get work. She claimed men were better at playing a “game”.

“There are some extraordinary [female] choreographers but they are not as prolific as men. I think women have to stand their ground, they are brilliant,” she said. “I think women are very down to earth and I don’t think they play a game. Often I think men can seduce producers, but women have just got to stand there and fight.”

She said Crystal Pite was one of her favourite female choreographers and described Pina Bausch as “one of our greatest choreographers”.

“We need women because they are brilliant. I am waving the flag for women,” Phillips said.

Her comments follow remarks made by Akram Khan, who said the industry did not need more female choreographers for the sake of it.

Phillips was speaking to The Stage at the WhatsOnStage Awards, which were held the day after a 90th-birthday party for choreographer Gillian Lynne.

Phillips called Lynne an “inspiration” and said: “I looked at her spine, and every muscle was taut and tight. She is truly an inspiration.”

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