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Hannah in red, Isabelle in blue, images from a Zoom meeting
At work with

Hannah and Isabelle, Motor Dance Journal

The recently launched Motor Dance Journal is a rare example of a magazine about dance. Founders Hannah Woods and Isabelle Bucklow share their week ahead and consider why dance gets so little attention in print.


What are you up to this Monday morning?
We start the day having a quick catch-up about Motor before the week ahead. We check in about what to prioritise, be that  orders to send, emails piling up in the inbox, etc. We both have full time jobs alongside motor so there are often a lot of deadlines to navigate!

Copies of Motor Dance Journal on dispaly at the ICA launch party for the issue.

Where are you?
Either at home or in the office, though last week we were travelling for motor which was a nice change of pace. We were in Baden-Baden attending a performance of Yvonne Rainer’s last dance, and also eating lots of pretzels, which was great fun!


Which magazine do you first remember?

Isabelle: There were always magazines and books around the house; we’d have various arts and science magazines and journals delivered (which I think I’d then chop up and draw on) and there were also amazing interior design mags from the 80s lying about—it was quite natural that I’d start to collect magazines.

My early magazine collections are very indicative of certain obsessions – an interest in girl bands then sharply transitioned to animal rights (World Wildlife Fund had a fab magazine). I found collecting magazines a way to really get to know something, which I guess I continue to turn to magazines for.

Hannah: The Angelina Ballerina magazine, where you got a new dance outfit for your doll with every edition. If you don’t know her work, google says ‘She's a go-getting mouse with big dreams of becoming a prima ballerina.’

Front cover of Spike magazine

Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?

We are both super excited about Spike’s new issue ‘After Beauty’. It features several motor contributors—Stephanie LaCava, Alice Blackhurst—as well as others we love including Lynne Tillman and Quinn Latimer.


Yellow front cover with inset photo of Gillian Wearing dancing

What inspired you to launch a magazine about dance?
There exist plenty of magazines for film enthusiasts, or those with an interest in literature, design and art but there is little dedicated entirely to dance. There are of course some exceptions to this, but, by and large, it felt to us that dance had been sidelined from printed matter—perhaps due to charges of ephemerality.


Front cover of October magazine, Fall 1979, typography on white field

We wanted to show that the friction between performance and page could be generative. Inspired by the 1998 anthology ‘Footnotes’ compiled by Elena Alexander, as well as the formidable dance criticism of Jill Johnston, and the writings of dancers Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown (in October, above), Motor explores the choreographic potentiality of writing about dance and aims to give dance a space of critical endurance.


Audrey, hannah and Isabelle at the ICA launch of issue one

As co-editors, how do you collaborate?
We collaborate on almost everything and luckily we pretty much agree on most things! It is clear to us what we want motor to be and we both respect one another's opinions and skills. Isabelle has a background in publishing having worked as editorial and research assistant for Atelier Éditions and also at OK-RM/InOtherWords where she managed and oversaw editorial, production and distribution processes etc.


Zoom grab of Hannah and Isabelle meeting


Hannah offers a different perspective having worked in art galleries for several years, thus has experience in artist liaison, production and project management, etc.

We also work with Audrey Solomon as our designer (above left) who brings an amazing wealth of experience in publishing art books and magazines. She is in Munich so we work remotely with her.

Spread from Motor Dance Journal no1, featuring artist Gillian Wearing

You’ve conceived Motor as a trilogy—explain this limited-run idea.

We wanted something concise and yet open. These themes encourage us to be more specific and ambitious in our commissioning. They are broad and permit a real diversity of responses and approaches but maintain a feeling of curation - rather than something that spills out and goes on and on.

We also wanted the magazine to be a limited and collectable item. We are sure there will be further projects—we’d like Motor to be expanded within the realms of publishing and programming—but that’s it for the magazine in its current form.

Spread from Motor Dance Journal no1

How often do you dance?

Of course we do love to dance, but we aren’t professional dancers—we think being a dancer definitely isn’t a prerequisite for an interest in dance, that’s why we wanted motor to explore movement practice in an expanded sense; from cruising, to paparazzi shots of Brittany Murphy outside a ballet class.

But recently In Baden-Baden we attended a workshop with choreographer Pat Catterson, one of the custodians of Yvonne Rainer’s dances, where she taught us Rainer’s iconic Trio A. Usually we just dance at parties or in our bedrooms!

What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
We’ve just posted motor to our first few European stockists (Punch, Bucharest; Reading Room, Milan) so looking forward to the magazines arriving there and hearing how they go down. We also have a review coming out this week on Spike online.

Finally, we have a very exciting interview at the end of the week with a contributor for issue two… keep your eyes peeled!

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