An interview with Jane Colthorpe on being the Ballerina and the iconic visual cover image for possibly the most discussed, loved, hated, brilliant Jethro Tull album, as well as her role in the film, “The Hare who lost his spectacles” and a whole, whole lot more.
I have to thank Jane for her time and perseverance in getting this interview done. I originally thought about this interview some 5 years ago, not to tie in with any anniversary just as a way to get some historical recording of an eye witness account of the time around 1973, when Ian and Tull were arguably among the biggest musical acts on the planet. I opted to try and find ‘The Ballerina” to get that third party view since she gave focus to the visual elements of “The Play” and to be honest, it appeared that trying to dig beneath the veneer of the production would need to have input from more than one person. Whilst Ian knows better than anyone what ‘it is all about’, it would be good to get some sort of handle on how it was produced, what Ian and the band’s participation in the film was, and details like where and when it was filmed. And, whilst it was Ian [and the band’s] baby, who better to go to than the face that adorned the album cover, opened and closed the show as well as starring in the intermission film.
It didn’t take too long to find a name, but tracking down any one of three possible surnames made it less easy. I had Jane Colthorpe, Jane Newman and Jane Eve. No contact details, no agent listed, and 4 or 5 years ago not a lot a lot else to go on actually.About 3 and a half years ago I had a breakthrough, I had pieced together a substantial chunk of her career post- ‘A Passion Play’, but still no contact details. Then my wife, a dance fan, suggested that instead of scouring the internet why not try to get a contact by asking someone who knows someone, who knows someone etc. So, a call to a mate, got me a contact for someone, who knew someone. That final someone was Arlene Phillips, choreographer, Hot Gossip manager and later judge on the BBC hit Saturday night show, “Strictly Come Dancing”.
After dropping an email to her, explaining I wasn’t some manic fanatic, and why I wanted to make contact, I asked her to pass my details onto Jane, if she was still in touch. I later found out that Arlene had passed my message on with the comment “I’m not sure if you want to get in touch but….”I never had a reply from Arlene directly and so, it was with some surprise when a few weeks later an email dropped into my email inbox with an address containing the name Jane, entitled “Interview”.Jane sounded pleased to have been put in touch and agreed to do an interview, and after exchanging one or two emails generously offered not just to do an interview but to travel down to London to do a face to face interview with me. We exchanged contact details and touched on a couple of points that we might talk about, just her enthusiasm through e-mails gave me encouragement that this would be a good interview. We arranged a tentative date to meet up at Kings Cross/St Pancras station as she knew a few places where we could sit and chat close by to the newly regenerated squares behind the stations.
A few weeks passed and the due date was agreed, then my wife was taken seriously ill, I had to put Jane off at relatively short notice, she was gracious and helpful.What I thought and hoped would be a short recovery for my wife turned into 2 years, in all that time Jane and I kept in touch and started to plan for an email based Q & A, something which neither of us wanted to do and so we opted for a longer time frame. So, after nearly 4 years in total, we arranged to meet in September 2013.Traveling over was a little daunting, she had emailed and called me to arrange a precise location to meet, I arrived early and waited in the newly refurbished area in front of Kings Cross station, not sure of who to look out for, 40 years can impact greatly on a person’s looks. As I stood there a short, very round lady walked towards me, the thought ran through my head to scrub one of my questions about ‘was she still dancing’. As she drew up to me and carried on by I knew that I might be able to reinstate that question my mobile went off with a text alert announcing she had arrived and was at a different tube exit. I wandered over and recognized a face that hadn’t seemed to age significantly in the 40 years since I had first seen that album cover.She was petite to the point of me overshadowing her by my bulk. No false praise, she is still very attractive and has obviously kept very fit and wel
After introductions, she suggested we make our way over to one of the cafes, restaurants and coffee shops that now dominate the area. She pretty much started the interview as soon as we met, she chatted avidly about the audition, the rehearsal and the filming of ‘The Hare’, in between she slipped in some nuggets of information that I would have to revisit during our interview. We passed through the main square where there was a Dickensian piece of street theatre being rehearsed. Jane showed interest in watching part of it so we opted for an outside table. The novice interviewer in me didn’t take account that the noise from the rehearsal might just screw up chunks of my recorded interview.
Coffee’s ordered, pens, paper, camera, digital tape in place we started the interview:
But first, as I took out the necessary accoutrements, Jane reached into her bag and pulled out a stack of large black and white photographs and put them on the table. I could see the first couple and they were the original images from the album. The others looked like the photo’s you’d have for a work portfolio.
A selection of large images from the APP era including original prints of the front and back covers
TJTG – So, thanks for meeting me and agreeing to the interview can I ask you a bit of personal background before we move onto your work with Tull. I know you had a career which involved Hot Gossip, Love Machine and more was any of this before your work on ‘A Passion Play’?
Jane - No, those jobs came afterwards.I have always been involved with dance and I started dancing around the age of 3. When I was 12 years old I went to Bush Davies, which is a vocational boarding school. In terms of dancing I finished my training at Andrew Hardies in South Kensington.I continued going to regular classes when I was 19, mostly focusing on classical ballet and jazz dance classes. These were at The Dance Centre in Floral Street, Covent Garden London.
TJTG – So, how did you get the gig with Tull?
Jane - One day while I was attending a class I noticed an advert on the notice board at the dance centre which said Two ballerinas were wanted for a music film. As far as I can remember it mentioned that the dancers would need to be ballet trained but there was no mention of either Jethro Tull or Chrysalis Records or that they would be required to pose for the album cover.
TJTG – So, you applied, when you found out it was Tull were your already aware of their music?
Jane - I didn't really know much about the band beforehand, up to then I had listened to either classical music or the current chart music of that time. Jethro Tull must have passed me by.
TJTG – Did you apply with a friend or was the other dancer an unknown to you?
Jane – I knew her from my time at Bush Davies, we both got the job, but, her mother intervened and decided that she didn’t want her daughter to be involved in a rehearsal with a rock band at a hotel in London. However, she was replaced by another girl, Virginia, ‘Ginnie’, and she appeared with me in the film.
TJTG – Can you recall where the interview was conducted, and were the band there?
Jane – The audition is a bit hazy, although I do remember Ian being there, I think it was in a small hall somewhere in north London. That’s where I met the other girl I knew from Bush Davies as I said we both got the job. However, by the time of the rehearsal she had been replaced with Ginnie and she and I ended up being in ‘The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles’ together.
TJTG – Are you still in touch with her?
Jane – No, I can’t remember her surname so I would be unable to trace her or put you in touch.
TJTG – What were your parent’s reactions to appearing in the film? Did they have reservations about appearing with or spending time with the band?
Jane – Not really, I think my mother was cautious, but she actually appeared in the film as the tea lady.
TJTG – Was she keeping an eye on things? Maybe we can touch on that a bit more shortly. Were you involved in a lot of other productions while you were at The Dance Centre?
Jane – I appeared in Carmina Burana with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra around that time, other than that the film of ‘The Hare…’ was the only other professional classical ballet work I have done, although I think you know I did many more appearances, with groups like ‘Hot Gossip’ and ‘Love Machine,’ afterwards.
TJTG – Was that work simply with dance troupes?
Jane – No, after 1975 I was managed by Ian Burton while I was with Love Machine, I then worked with Arlene and Hot Gossip and was with them for 4 years. Arlene choreographed both groups and I learned a lot from her. I later worked with her on Starlight Express as Assistant Choreographer.
TJTG – Who Choreographed ‘The Hare’ film?
Jane – I met Ian and we talked through the script and Ian interviewed me somewhere near Regent’s Park, I was told I had the job and that rehearsal would take place at The Clive Hotel. Before the rehearsals we both talked through the script and Ian had the overview, but as it developed I eventually choreographed the dance routines. I have a copy of the annotated lyrics I will let you have.
TJTG - Thank you. Obviously looking back it was a prestigious job, I hope you don’t mind me asking, did it pay well?
Jane – I think the original contract stated a few days filming, possibly 2 days, and I think around 12 days for rehearsals, the fee wasn’t high by today’s standards. I think it was a fee of around £25 per day, which looking back I think was reasonable money for 1973, wasn’t it? It was during the rehearsal period at the Clive Hotel I was given the script and discussed various ideas for the choreography with Ian.
The contract envelope addressed to Jane at Ian’s [former] home address.
TJTG – How long after rehearsals did the filming take place and can you recall whereabouts the scenes were filmed?
Jane – By now, I had moved in and was living with Ian at Huntsworth Mews.
TJTG - That jumps my questions ahead a bit, I was going to ask you if you were the ‘Jane’ referred to in a Circus Magazine from 1973 which stated, ‘Ian relaxed after one concert date with a bottle of vintage wine and his latest girl, Jane, and confessed he’s anxious to try his hand at a full length feature film.’ So, that was you?
Jane – Yes, I attended a few of the USA west coast dates.
Jane backstage at one of the US APP gigs
TJTG – So, you moved in with Ian fairly quickly after meeting him.
Jane – Yes, we got together after the interview. In fact the contract was addressed to me at my parents, but was delivered to me at Ian’s Mews house. I suppose it was all rather quick.
Jane's contract for 'The Hare' film
TJTG – How long were you and Ian together?
Jane - About 12 to 15 months, It was an uncertain time towards the end as Ian and I split while he was away on tour. By then he and Shona had got together. Shona had been Ian’s PA and they were spending increasing amounts of time together, I used to leave the house and Shona would arrive, it was a friend who drew my attention to the situation and I had probably closed my eyes to what was likely happening, I was probably a little too naïve, you have to remember I was only 19.
TJTG – So you were with Ian during the 'A Passion Play' tour and through the development of 'Warchild'?
Jane – Yes.
TJTG – Well, In a while maybe you would talk us through that time? But if we can jump back to 'The Hare' film, where were the scenes shot and any stories of the filming?
Jane - The outside shots were filmed in February/March at Burnham Beeches, in Buckinghamshire. I remember it being freezing cold and there were no trailers to take refuge in. I spent most of the time in my ballet costume and the film company had only provided one large blow heater for people to warm themselves by. I had to keep returning to it between shots and then getting cold again as we filmed the dance scenes. I remeber being unwell after the filming.
TJTG – Were the whole band there during filming, did they all take roles in costume?
Jane – I remember more about the time we were filming the indoor scenes at The Rainbow. My mother, Doreen Colthorpe, also appeared in the film. She was the tea lady seen serving in the wings and is seen again later seen waltzing with the frogman.
TJTG – Do you remember if it was Mick Adams reprising his role as the frogman from the Thick as a Brick stage show walk on part? .
Jane – No. There were a few parts taken by others I didn’t know at that time. The waltz was a dance which I had to teach everyone. Ian was my partner dressed as the Newt. I remember that Barrie was the Bee as he wanted to have a go at flying and I remember his thin legs in the tights. I am certain that during the dance scene Jeffrey was in the Hippo suit, Martin was the Owl and I think John Evans was the Hare.
[ TJTG A quick chat with Mick Adams after the interview confirmed that Barry was indeed the Bee, Ian was the Newt, Frazier Aiken [roadie] was the Gorilla, Martin was the Owl, John was the Hare while as we know Jeffery was the narrator. Mick though was not the Frogman, on this occasion he was the turtle. He didn't know the other people and suggested they might have been staff at Chrysalis.]
Jane - The interior off stage shots were filmed backstage at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park.
TJTG – I know the stage shots were from there, but I’d always assumed the staircase and dressing room shots were at Hammersmith Odeon for some reason.
Jane – No, I’m sure those old venues all look the same but it was at The Rainbow. The shots of me running up the stairs chased by a cameraman were filmed backstage there and the scene where I trip up the stairs actually did happen; I actually did fall up the stairs cutting my shin, and it was decided to keep it in the final cut of the film.
TJTG – Can you recall who was directing the film, was it Ian or was there another director?
Jane – The film crew were from Lee Studios in Wembley I think, the Director was a young man, possibly only in his mid-20’s, I have tried to identify him before, I think his name may have been Tom Bloomfield and he may have come from the Burnham Beeches area, but I am not sure if he was still around by the end of our time making the film. Ian was very capable and sure of what he wanted portrayed in the film. Particularly the traditional maypole dance scene and I helped by arranging the choreography.
TJTG – Do you still have mementos of the shoot?
Jane - Well I have the typed lyrics of the album provided and annotated by Ian, my contract and I still have the red tutu and hat that I wore during the night scenes which appear towards the end of the film. They were both made for the film by costumiers Morris Angels.
Copy of part of Jane’s hand typed and annotated lyrics, showing emphasis for dance and visual elements
TJTG – Could you let us have a photograph of the Tutu, to add to the interview?
Jane - The Tutu is tiny!
TJTG – I didn’t mean wearing it, although......
Jane – I’ll see if I can get you one.
TJTG – So, what was it like being on the road with Tull, Did you see any of the shows from out front? What were your impressions?
Jane – I was at the concert at the Wembley Empire Pool in London. I was backstage and my parents were in the audience. I suspect that they found it very different from anything they had been to before but I know they still enjoyed the experience of seeing the show. I also traveled with Ian and saw some of the shows in Europe and on the west coast of the USA.
TJTG – What about the east coast shows, it seemed that they were experiencing problems of getting the show to work at first, did you experience any of that?
Jane - I don’t recall seeing any of the shows on the east coast, but I was aware that they were rehearsing regularly, I remember going along to rehearsals at a theatre in London.
TJTG – Were they the rehearsals that replaced the cancelled dates at Wembley in April 1973?
Jane – I think they were. As for being on tour with the band it was quite lonely at times. Ian was either in rehearsals or interviews and so my time during the day was my own, I would find the closest dance studio to the hotel and go to a dance class or practice, sometimes I would go to a cinema alone.
Jane – I remember the show starting with a lot of swirling sounds and the very bassy heartbeat with a spotlight flashing on the screen which gradually became the image of me in the death pose from the album cover, slowly rising up as the heartbeats increased. Once I was standing I performed a Grande Jeté through the mirror with a flashlights going off on stage as the band burst into playing. It was all very exciting for a 19 year old being part of it all.
TJTG – What came first the film sequences or the album cover?
Jane – I had been told that the album had already been recorded before I came on the scene. The Hare film came first and then the cover. The opening film shown during the Passion Play tour, where I am rising and jumping was filmed separately in a studio at I think Lee International film studios in Wembley. I was supposed to leap through a mirror, but on the opening sequences the sugar glass mirror was too thick and would not shatter, I remember it was replaced for the end sequence and I did leap back through the ‘glass’. One thing I do remember is that there were pictures of Steptoe and Son on the walls of the dressing room as I think they had filmed there and used that dressing room.
I think there were possibly two different photographers for the front and back covers. I think it was Ian Ballard [It was Brian Ward] who did the front cover and Anthony Crickmay, renowned for ballet photography, who did the back. However, it was 40 years ago!
TJTG – Where was the cover shot and any remembrance of how the pose was developed?
Jane – The cover was shot at The Duke of York’s theatre in London’s West End. The theme was supposed to be death and rebirth with the cover portraying death and the back image rebirth. It isn’t very clear from the photograph used on the original cover but I was holding a crumpled dead leaf in one hand, for death, and a flower for rebirth in the other. It is clearer in my copy of the photograph.
[ TJTG - Jane showed me a 12” x 12” detailed image of the cover, despite the creases in the image it is a more stunning and dramatic image than the one issued on the cover – Since the interview it was confirmed that the re-issue would use the more detailed image, surprisingly it seems that the image used was a restored version of Jane’s own image]
A copy of Jane’s original cover image, ‘restored’ by Steve Gugerty
A copy of Jane’s original back cover image - unrestored
TJTG – Who arranged the poses?
Jane – Ian wanted an image which conveyed life, death and decay and rebirth. I tried several poses including the dying swan pose but Ian wanted my face to be seen, that’s when I came up with the pose laying with an arched back and my head tilted back. While I was laying there the make-up girl applied the fake blood, I remember how bad it tasted in my mouth.
The back cover shot, rebirth, was taken in a professional photographic studio, which is why I think it was by Anthony Crickmay. Ian chose the arabesque pose, he wanted the rebirth picture to look as joyful as possible so after trying out several different ballet positions Ian chose the arabesque image on the back cover.
TJTG – Did you realize at the time that this would be such an iconic image?
Jane – No, not at all.
TJTG – Did you know that a TV ad for the album was broadcast in the UK? I was wondering if you filmed parts of it specifically for the ad.
Jane – No. I didn’t know, I haven’t seen it.
TJTG – Not many people have since it was first broadcast, we have located it, and tried to get it included in the new release, but Parlophone couldn’t stretch that far. It included your ‘something wonderful is happening’ spoken line.
Jane – Really, I didn’t get paid for TV appearances! My voiceover was done a little later in a recording studio in Soho, I remember speaking the part and it wasn’t until much later that someone mentioned it that I realised I had said ‘somefing’ rather than ‘something.’
TJTG – So after the tour, what happened?
Jane – Ian and I lived at his place at Huntsworth Mews, he was working on a new album which he had intended to get made as a movie.
TJTG – Did he discuss it much with you?
Jane – Yes, frequently, it was based on a pregnant woman who dies in a car accident and whose baby is born alive after the mother’s death. The role of the child in later life was to be played by me. I suppose it was similar in concept how Ian had described A Passion Play with the conflict between life and death.
TJTG - There have been potential names mooted before as regards actors and directors, but can you shed any light on those from your time with Ian?
Jane – Margot Fonteyn [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margot_Fonteyn] had been approached as had Adam Darius, [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Darius] a mime artist, who later developed a mimed ballet based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, which was staged in Leicester Square, London. [TJTG - Marilyn - A ballet based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, ran for five weeks at the Arts Theatre in London's West End in February 1975].
Jane – Ian had wanted Lindsey Anderson to direct the film and I seem to recollect that they did meet to discuss it. Ian wanted God and the Devil to be portrayed by actors who might be considered the opposite of the roles, and he had talked about Leonard Rossiter playing God, with Donald Pleasance playing the devil.
TJTG – Was Terry Ellis a major player in the film’s development, financing etc?
Jane – I don’t recall that being discussed, but financing was a big issue that worried Ian as he really wanted it to be a big production.
TJTG – Were the band involved in the development of the music or did Ian carve it out alone?
Jane – At home Ian worked very much alone, I seem to recollect that mostly he sat in the living room working out the music on guitar. But, he did go to rehearsals with the band and I expect they added to his ideas then.
TJTG – Did Ian play much flute in developing the music at home?
Jane – Not at all, I don’t really recall him playing flute at home.
TJTG – Did Ian listen to much other music while he was developing what was then a potential soundtrack for Warchild?
Jane – I do remember he listened to Villa Lobos. Mainly Spanish guitar pieces. At the time I was more into classical music and until the job offer had not heard of Jethro Tull but I remember I mentioned that I liked ‘Tubular Bells’ and Ian was scathing of it. [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heitor_Villa-Lobos]
TJTG – So, was life dominated by Ian’s writing, recording and touring?
Jane – No, we did have our breaks, Ian took me up to Pitlochry where we spent some time together and we went to meet his parents in Lytham St Annes. I have some portrait photographs that Ian took of me there.
Two photo's of Jane from her collection - taken by Ian
TJTG – Did you as a couple spend much time in the social context with the other members of the band or Ian’s family?
Jane – No, not really, As I said I went to meet his parents on one occasion, who I really liked and I recall one party we went to, I think it was arranged by Liz Macovich, then Martin’s partner. Ian didn’t really want to go along to it. He wasn’t a party person. We also went up to Scotland to see Ian’s brother Robin and I remember going alone to the cinema to see ‘The Sting’.
TJTG – From that and something you said last time about being in the US with the band, you seemed to spend a lot of time at the cinema on your own.
Jane - Yes, it sounds that way now.
TJTG - Since you mention films a personal question from me as regards possible influences on Ian for the A Passion Play and Warchild themes of life and death, I don’t suppose you know if Ian had seen the film, ‘A Matter of life and death’ do you?
Jane – I think we watched it on TV while we were together. I don’t know whether it influenced him in anyway. But I know the film and can see what you mean.
TJTG – You mentioned earlier that you and Ian started seeing one another and living together after the interviews and rehearsals, did you ever meet his wife Jennie?
Jane - When we first got together Ian had told me that he and Jennie had separated and that he was sleeping on the couch, I believed him, however, I found out later that this might not be the case when I bumped into Jennie in a hair salon that we both used and coincidentally had appointments at the same time. I got the distinct impression that their relationship hadn’t been as final in her mind as it may have been in Ian’s.
TJTG – A bit of an embarrassing moment then?
Jane – Yes, Ian and I had already parted by then, but someone in the salon told me that Jennie, who was sitting in the salon, and I had someone in common, I went over to introduce myself, and it was clear that Jennie was not best pleased. It was clearly a pattern with Ian that later repeated itself in our relationship.
TJTG – In what way?
Jane – Ian’s relationship with Shona developed along the same lines and Shona's relationship with Ian flourished during that time, a few hints had been dropped to me and I suppose our relationship had begun to run its course by then. I think I had started to coast along and I was beginning to depend on Ian too much, and probably not focusing enough on my career, Shona probably came across to Ian as very determined and businesslike woman.
TJTG – No bitterness on your part over the matter then?
Jane – Yes, at first, after all it was my first relationship, it left me mistrustful in later relationships but I needed to move on and I’m sure Ian felt the same way. Before he went away, he had asked me how much money I needed for the 6 months he would be away. I then joined ‘The Love Machine’ and during my first tour with them in Ireland I got chatting to some roadies with the band ‘Kenny’ who had also toured with Tull in Japan. They told me about Terry [Ellis] being with Flick Colby and that is was common knowledge that Ian was with Shona. That was the first real confirmation of their relationship. I was upset at the time, but I moved on and developed my career and I’m very settled down now with my husband and sons and continue to work at developing my dance career.
TJTG – So, did Ian finish the relationship openly with you?
Jane – No.
TJTG - You mentioned earlier that Terry Ellis and Flick Colby were together on the Japan tour, did you know that ‘Pan’s People’ danced at the London Rainbow shows in November 1974.
Jane – No, I didn’t. Cherry Gillespie and I went to school together at Bush Davies, what did they do?
TJTG – They opened the shows with a dance routine that Ian had penned for them called Pan Dance.
Jane – I don’t recall that song,
TJTG – I’ll see if I can send a copy over to you. How did you get along with the other band members?
Jane – Well I didn’t have much contact with them but I always found Martin to be a gentleman, he and Liz were a nice couple, are they still together? Is Martin still in the band?
TJTG – No, Martin is now married to Julie and his relationship sort of ended with Ian after 43 years when Ian took on a new band to record a solo album, a follow up to ‘Thick as a Brick’. It’s a moot point amongst many fans.
TJTG – How about the other band members?
Jane – Jeffrey was very nice and kind, and so was Barrie, John was really wacky. Although they looked like they may have been I am pretty sure that none of the band used drugs, in fact Ian was very anti-drugs.
TJTG – Looking back any regrets? Do you think the film and working with Tull helped or hindered your career?
Jane – Well, my son has seen the film and a few years ago, it did seem embarrassing, as was my time with ‘Hot Gossip’, but that seems to have been replaced with how cool it is, with comments from his friends on how fit his mum looks in the videos. From my view it helped me, particularly moving on from Ian as it gave me the opportunity to stop any reliance that was developing and allowed me to continue to carve a career in dance.
TJTG – Have you been to see the band since those days?
Jane – I saw them a few years ago at The Cambridge Corn Exchange, I knew the guy who did the sound, he was a former member of the band Kenny, the sound is notoriously bad there and I was disappointed with the show. I got the impression that the audience would have liked more of Tull’s old hits. But, I can imagine it can be boring playing the old stuff all the time, but that’s what punters want, isn’t it? Other than that night no, I haven’t seen them.
Jane – There were a couple of other times when our paths crossed, once in Monte Carlo when they were recording, and I went along to the recording studios and another time when Ian was filming at the Rainbow for a video.
TJTG – That would probably be for the ‘Slipstream’ video.
Jane – I’m not sure, my husband and I knew the chap who ran the Rainbow then and we went along to see him, when we arrived we were told that Ian was filming inside and my friend tried to arrange for us to go in. I was greeted by David Mallett, who was directing and who knew me from my time with Hot Gossip and our appearances on the Kenny Everett TV Show, which he also directed. He told me that Ian was busy and that it might disturb things if we went in.
TJTG – Have you seen the video? It is a spoof on Dracula put to the track ‘Sweet Dream’. It contains ‘the ballerina’ a few times in the video.
Jane – Oh, well that’s why they probably didn’t want me to go in. [laughing].
TJTG – I’ll send you a link to the piece, I’m sure it’s on YouTube.
[Post script - TJTG – Jane did check the film out and discovered that the dancer in that clip is actually someone she knows from her days in Hot Gossip, she called her and they had a good laugh over it]
TJTG – So, what other work have you been involved with that doesn’t involve Tull or Ian, and what are you doing now and have planned for the future?
Jane - After my work with Ian and Jethro Tull, I joined the dance group, “The Love Machine” and appeared on the Benny Hill show on TV, we also toured around discos and cabaret clubs throughout the UK and Europe.
TJTG – How was it working with Benny Hill?
Jane – Benny had his peculiarities, nothing like the recent scandals with people like Jimmy Saville, but it was an experience.
Love machine on The Benny hill Show
TJTG – After ‘Love Machine’?
Jane - I joined Arlene Phillips dance group ‘Hot Gossip’ regularly appearing on the Kenny Everett television show. Arlene choreographed the group and as I said earlier a lot of the shows were directed by David Mallett who also did some work with Jethro Tull. At that time I was known by my professional stage name, Jane Newman.
TJTG – And you also appeared in films
Jane - Yes, there were two other films I have danced in. One was in the 1979 film ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ with the Village People. I danced to the tracks ‘I love you to death’ and ‘Milkshake’. The other was Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’.
I also did a TV ad for Dr. Pepper with Wayne Sleep which was directed by [Sir] Ridley Scott of ‘Alien’ fame. It was for US TV and I have never seen the final version.
TJTG – Well, we’ll do our best to try and find it for you.
Jane - My last full time job was working as Arlene Phillip’s assistant on Starlight Express, then I had a break for 10 years while I had my 2 sons and enjoyed watching then grow up. During that same time I continued to teach dance. I went back to University to study choreography, whilst learning more contemporary dance. In 2012 I completed a BA (Honours) degree in Dance Studies gaining a 1st.
I still love to dance, it is a passion of mine that I think I will never lose. I enjoy working with inter-generational groups and also work in local schools. I would like to work in choreography and will continue to teach including working with young adults with a range of disabilities. I am working on a number of projects with a friend to develop and bring dance to a number of different audiences and places.
TJTG – Well, our thanks to Jane for talking with us, I am sure that all fans will join us in thanking Jane for throwing some light on that period of Tull history, for her candour and honesty and for taking time out of her schedule to travel, meet with us and talk. Personally I’d like to thank her for her company for a couple of afternoons, it was a pleasure to meet her and a greater pleasure that she felt comfortable enough to share a part of her life with us. If only all interviews and Q&A’s were as frank, detailed and pleasant.
Copyright ©TJTG Limited 2014
Photographs watermarked ‘The Jethro Tull Group’ Copyright ©TJTG Limited 2014
Jane's photographs used with her permission.
None of the above to be reproduced without permission