I was a student at London Contemporary Dance School in the late eighties and early nineties. At that time the school and company was in deep trouble. The Graham lexicon was seen an "uncool" or outmoded by the majority of the English dance scene and everyone was lacking a sense of direction.
It was in this climate of uncertainty that I as an adolescent first met and was taught by Jane Dudley. Her vigour, verve, commitment and phenomenal intelligence and wealth of knowledge were inspiring and humbling. Here was a woman whose experience not only as a dancer and teacher but woman who had lived through and created in some of the most turbulent times in history, were some of the greatest inspirations myself, and my fellow students could ever hope to be exposed to at such formative ages.
Jane was a real human being. By this I mean she didn't let personal agendas, vanities get in the way of imparting her love of dance and her knowledge to us all. She loved the students and saw them as the continuation of the tradition she had given her life to. Before i joined the school I heard tales of a fearsome martinet who carried sticks with which to beat lazy students. Nothing could have been further from the truth, Jane's warmth and humanity were ever present and shone through.
If there was anything lacking it was in the fact that we as teenagers were simply too young to appreciate all the gifts that Jane had to give us and share.
Even years after I still remember Jane with great fondness and warmth. She was one of the old guard who bridged the gap between the great days of the dance innovators and the modern dance scene, and the place she had, the symbol she represented in the world of dance will never be replaced. She was a true iconoclast and will be sorely and painfully missed