Dance in Scotland recently lost an iconic figure. William Mowat-Thomson played a pivotal role in establishing professional training for dancers, founding the theatre School of Dance and Drama (which later became Dance for All) and inspiring Dance Base artistic director Morag Deyes in her work to establish Dance Base in its present Grassmarket venue.
Morag was a student and friend of William's. In her most recent blog, she described him as 'a largely unacknowledged hero of dance in Scotland' and explained that 'the programme and the ethos of Dance Base is a result of his inspired leadership, open mindedness and generosity of spirit'.
The staff and teachers at Dance Base who had the pleasure of knowing William feel his loss deeply. His most recent involvement with the organisation was in playing piano for our professional level ballet classes and he was a remarkable musician and a charming presence in those classes, but his legacy runs much deeper than that, and even fleeting conversations with William were always memorable.
Kelly Apter wrote a lovely obituary for the Scotsman, describing William's love of ballet, antiques, piano, drawing, painting, and yoga, and his remarkable effect on the cultural landscape in Scotland. You can read the obituary here.