Sonya Lindfors

‘I am a hiphop head through and through,’ says Cameroonian-Finnish choreographer Sonya Lindfors. What tracks are on her transporting playlist?

Dance Gazette | Playlist | Issue 8 - October 2023

1 Cameroon by Miriam Makeba

Makeba was an African superstar, an activist and revolutionary who relentlessly advocated for change throughout her life. My parents used to play her records when I was a kid. In this song she is singing about my other home country.

2 Got ’til It’s Gone by Janet Jackson

This track is an absolute gem. Janet was one of the first records I bought as a kid with my own money. And of all Jackson’s albums, The Velvet Rope is the best. I am a hiphop head through and through, Got ’til It’s Gone is the perfect RnB track with an old skool beat featured by Q-Tip.

When the music video for this song came out in 1997 it really blew my mind. During the sleek and shiny MTV era it showcased Blackness and Black people in a way that I had never seen before. Different skin tones, natural hair, the colour palette of the video… ah, it’s just raw, powerful and beautiful.

3 Kuusi, Op 75 No 5 by Jean Sibelius

Sibelius is probably Finland’s most famous composer. His body of work is vast ranging from symphonies and concertos to choral music. This short composition for a piano with the title Kuusi (meaning Spruce) somehow sounds like Finland. Melancholic yet beautiful, a lone spruce standing on the shore of a lake. I used this song in the only solo work I have done.

4 Traveling by Quentin Harris, Cordell

I had just turned 21 and was spending my first summer in New York when house music and dancing hit me hard. Going into clubs, seeing people on the dance floor expressing themselves in a way I had never seen before, I was blown away. It changed me and my relationship with dance. One night at an iconic club called Shelter, the DJ played this track by Quentin Harris and now whenever I hear it, I am transported back to that moment.

5 The Blacker The Berry by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most important rappers of our times, a lyricist and a genius wordsmith who has managed to unite the true soul of hiphop with new sounds and influences. Political, raw and the track is still a banger. This whole album that came out in 2015 is pure genius. Hiphop turned 50 years this year so with this song also shoutouts to the culture I love and that has changed the world.


A teaser for One Drop

One Drop is in Dance Umbrella at Battersea Arts Centre, London on 19-20 October and in
the Take Me Somewhere Festival, Glasgow on 28 October.

Why Dance Matters post

Alice Oseman

Dance Gazette

Read more

REST OF Issue 8 - October 2023

Art of the matter post

Grand reverence

As he retires from the RAD, Artistic Director Gerard Charles reflects on the lessons of his tenure – and says farewell in model ballet style!


Curtain up!

The Fonteyn, the RAD’s flagship ballet competition, returns to the live stage this year. But how does it feel to be part of this cherished event? Rosemary Waugh hears from dancers, teachers and crucial figures behind the scenes.

Big Picture post

Dancing Times archive

The Dancing Times archive has been saved – by the RAD.

Inside RAD post


The RAD is progressing its safeguarding work, for members and students.

RAD Q&A post

Susan Coles

Susan Coles was a beloved RAD teacher. Her daughter Emma Tonkin describes the RAD bursary set up in Susan’s memory.


The long goodbye

What happens when a student decides to move away from ballet? How do teachers feel when someone they have known since childhood leaves their class? Alice Robb explores how to say goodbye to ballet.

Advice Bureau post

Aditi Mangaldas

Step into the forest of dance, says the renowned Indian choreographer.


High hopes

Ballet classes shouldn’t depend on income, says Peruvian RAD teacher Marícarmen Silva. Dan Collyns visits her school in Lima to hear about resilience and turning trash into opportunity.

Why Dance Matters post

Alice Oseman

The creator of Heartstopper describes what dance has given them.



Who does the daredevil stunts for action movies – and why does a ballet background help? Veronica Horwell investigates.


Total immersion

Audiences flock to immersive theatre experiences, choosing their own path through action that happens all around them. But what are they like to perform? Writer and dancer Isaac Ouro-Gnao shares a view from the inside.



Industrial action is rare in the ballet world – but artists from Melbourne to Paris and London are protesting over pay and conditions. Jane Albert reports on what it takes for dancers to strike.

Fonteyn bronze medallist Ed Cooley. Photo: Martin Bell

Sound of The Fonteyn

The Fonteyn – the RAD’s prestigious international ballet competition – took place in person for the first time since 2019. The final was held at His Majesty’s Theatre, the opulent London theatre that is home to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera – and Dance Gazette was there to capture the evening in sound.