EVERYBODY DANCE aims to inspire, explore and create great dance experiences with disabled and non-disabled people of all ages in unexpected spaces
Rachel originally trained as a nurse but soon realised that she was more interested in health than ill-health, so she left the NHS to pursue her passion for dance, marrying it with her experiences of different bodies and physicality.
Having worked as a dance artist with a number of community arts organisations in the UK and New Zealand she settled in mid- Wales and took a break from the profession to raise her two children. Whilst working with Shropshire Dance, Rachel developed Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company, which with her leadership as Artistic Director over an 18 year period developed into a champion of inclusive dance with an internationally successful programme of education, training and performance work.
Rachel has joined EVERYBODY DANCE as Lead Artist with a view to further developing her dance practice as an integral part of her life in rural Herefordshire, with her family and her passion for gardening, making things and being outdoors.
Richard has had a long career as a theatre practitioner within participatory and community theatre. He has spent many years promoting the creativity of people with learning disabilities through the development of a unique approach to theatre-making. In 1997 Richard set up The Shysters Theatre Company: by 1999 the company had gained a national reputation for the ground-breaking quality of its performance work.
As Director of Open Theatre Company, Richard is now responsible for disseminating the Shyster methodology as widely as possible, particularly in regional special schools where he is using it to have a significant impact on children’s learning and development and to influence teaching practice across the curriculum.
Throughout her working life Liz has had an interest in learning, regeneration of communities and the links between the two. She has taught in Further Education, universities and in adult education in Liverpool and Sheffield; researched and written about learning and employment; developed new programmes and helped a range of organisations to implement changes to make their services more effective.
In 2002 she was managing a County Council adult education service but she was fed up with working for a large organisation and wanted a new set of challenges so she decided to set up her own company and became a freelance consultant.
Becoming a trustee for EVERYBODY DANCE is one of those challenges! She hopes that she has the skills set that will allow her to make a contribution to its success.
Having lived, studied and worked in various parts of the country, predominately Southampton, London and Bath, Tom has spent the majority of his upbringing and work life in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, and now lives in the centre of Whitbourne, where Everybody Dance is based.
A keen artist he has just completed a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction), and is currently preparing to start his PhD research studies in which he hopes to question and analyse the notion of a ‘Universal Visual Experience’.
Seventeen years ago he was diagnosed with Cervical Dystonia, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, and is keen to support and champion the ethos behind EVERYBODY DANCE.
Marie is a freelance choreographer, creative practitioner and arts project coordinator with over twenty three years’ experience working in community and education contexts. Her most recent formal qualification is an M.A. (distinction) in Choreography from Dartington College of Arts, 2009. Prior to this she trained at Laban (Trinity-Laban dance conservatoire) London, receiving a post-graduate professional diploma in community dance studies (1994). A Bachelor of Education Degree in Fine Art, 1992, has enabled a varied career combining her artistic interests to facilitate creative projects and performance.
Marie’s artistic focus is predominantly with performance in outdoor spaces and unusual settings, working with local communities and their histories, across generations, inclusively and to promote health, well-being and interest in a sustainable way of life. She hopes these experiences will support the development of everybody dance.
Bjoern, originally from Germany, works as a freelance development aid practitioner. In the last 20 years he has lived and worked all over the world, spending longer times in the United States of America, South Africa, Uganda and Timor Leste. He assisted local organisations to develop strategic conflict transformation and peacebuilding interventions in highly complex environments. He enjoys working in international teams and on challenging issues.
At age 15 Bjoern was diagnosed with bone cancer in his tibia. While initially able to keep both legs, he finally decided to have his left leg amputated. Just three months later he was out of the clinic, managing his own life independently, working full time and travelling again. Soon afterwards he started to take up various sports and outdoor activities.
Bjoern loves the outdoors. He is a keen hill walker, a passionate climber and recently he re-discovered the joy of kayaking. In recent years he developed a strong interest in inclusive sports and in creating more opportunities for disabled people to engage in outdoor adventures. Bjoern is excited to contribute to EVERYBODY DANCE.
Jess is a dancer, walking artist and (reluctant) academic with a yurt, a horse and a dog. She is currently doing a second PhD at the University of Manchester in walking as an eco-activist arts practice. Originally a biologist, she gained her first PhD from Aberystwyth before re-training in dance. She has specific interests in somatics, improvisation and aerial work, and the possibilities that these present for integrated performance. She is also excited by opportunities for collaborative and participatory projects working across performance disciplines in unusual spaces and outdoor settings - which has included flying under the M32 flyover in Bristol. She has worked as landscape officer for local government, dance lecturer, community arts facilitator (AHRC Multi-Story Water) and as a dancer and aerial performer for Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company, Movement Collective, Invisible Circus and Full Tilt Aerial Theatre.
Originally from Greece, Eleni trained at Laban and gained an MA in European Dance Theatre Practice (2005), has a BA in Dance and Live Art Practices (2004, Manchester Metropolitan University), A Foundation in Visual Art (2001, University of the West of England) and a Foundation in Circus Arts (2014, Aircraft Circus).
Eleni is a freelance performer, teacher and choreographer. She has collaborated and performed internationally with choreographers such as Tmesis Theatre (UK), Company Victoria (Belgium), Interkunst (Germany), Marie-Gabrielle Rotie (UK), Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company (UK), Protein Dance (UK), Retina Dance (Belgium) and has performed for the Olympic and Paralympics Ceremonies in Athens 2004 and London 2012 amongst others.
Eleni is the Co - Artistic director for Levantes Dance Theatre which is recognisable for its quirky visual style of work. Levantes is a recipient for the Children For Choreography Award 2013, The Samuel Becket Theatre Trust Award 2009, The Marion North Mentoring Scheme 2009 and has received support from the Arts Council England among others.
Eleni has been teaching and devising work internationally for all ages and abilities since 2008.
Francesca 'Chez' Dunford is a movement artist. She has a background in performance and community engagement, collaborating with national and international projects. She is also a trained Yoga teacher and Massage Therapist and combines the understanding of the body through performance work with her hands-on healing work.
As a body-based practitioner Chez has extensive experience in movement, physical theatre, music and singing. She is curious about how as physical beings we have the capacity to experience our emotional body and our energy body through human connection.
She works with social circus projects Performers Without Borders and The Invisible Youth, Street Theatre specialists Pif-Paf Theatre, and fooling collective Beyond the Ridiculous. She is a physical body, a clown, a fool, an improviser, a teacher, a lover of life, a singer, a tree climber, a cyclist, a gluten-free biscuit lover, a theatre maker, a circus performer, she loves the connections we find in non-verbal communication and is super excited to be working with Everybody Dance!
Devoted husband/supporter of the Lead Artist, Dave is mainly responsible for pulling ethereal strands together but has been known to lift a box or two. Leaving teaching gave him a lot of time - much of which is now happily filled helping to develop EVERYBODY DANCE and dissuading the Lead Artist from working 20-hour days.
|Projects kindly funded by|
|Supported by the Skinners’ Company Lady Neville Charity, giving small grants to local grass-roots organisations|