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EVERYBODY DANCE aims to inspire, explore and create great dance experiences with disabled and non-disabled people of all ages in unexpected spaces


Who we are




Lead Artist - Rachel Freeman

 

Rachel Freeman
    

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.



Trustee - Richard Hayhow

 

Richard Hayhow
    

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.



Trustee - Tom Mence

 

Tom Mence
    

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.


 


Trustee - Marie Oldaker

 

Marie Oldaker, Trustee
    

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.

 




Trustee - Tiggy Tonks

Tiggy Tonks

 

After 15 years as a public relations consultant in central London and the Home Counties, Tiggy’s growing interest in health and fitness led to the realisation that a desk-bound life was not for her. She retrained as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist. After relocating to Gabon in central Africa for four years, she returned to the UK to settle in Whitbourne and established Mbolo Life Style Ltd. providing personal training and sports massage. She’s also on the village fete committee and volunteers at the village community shop and with the Longlands Riding for the Disabled group. Tiggy has always admired the work that EVERYBODY DANCE produces and as a trustee hopes to provide useful support for its continued success.

 




 

Project Assistant - Rebecca Farkas

Project Support Rebecca Farkas

Rebecca Farkas grew up in the circus and was, at different times, a performer, box office manager and press assistant for a number of touring circuses in the UK and Europe, including Circus Roncalli in Germany and British tours of the Chinese State Circus and the Moscow State Circus. She ’s had many adventures on the circus and enjoyed having a go at aerial work when she was growing up. She has worked with many clowns over the years, so she can handle most things!

Rebecca works for arts organisations in marketing, public engagement and project management. She has a passion for helping to bring the arts to rural counties in the West Midlands, particularly her adopted home county of Herefordshire. Rebecca is also an artist, transforming spaces using photography and video projections. She graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Hereford College of Arts, as a mature student, in 2010.





Artist - Jess Allen

jess allen
    

Jess is an aerialist from West Wales. After dance training, she got her first job as an aerial dancer for Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company and never returned to the ground or indoors! She went on to work with EVERYBODY Dance, teaching and performing in their outdoor aerial productions.

She fell in love with aerial rope (corde lisse) as soon as she met one and now teaches and trains circus full time. She works at Syrcas Byd Bychan, the circus school based at Small World Theatre, Aberteifi, teaching rope and sling and performing in SWT productions. She has ongoing coaching from Alex Allan, Allie Cooper (dynamic rope) and Camille Swift (dynamic sling). She’s also a certified aerial yoga instructor. She has a particular interest in aerial and wellbeing, since aerial practices play a huge role in managing her autoimmune inflammatory disease psoriatic arthritis.

 



Artist - Francesca 'Chez' Dunford

 

Lovely Bugs dancer Francesca Dunford
    

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!



Artist - Gráinne Young-Monaghan


Gráinne

Gráinne is a multidisciplinary performance artist specialising in aerial rope and clown, often combining the two art forms together. Originally from West Wales, where she learnt Welsh, blacksmithing, wood-carving and visual art, she then ran away to London in her late teens to study Circus on a BTEC at the National centre for Circus arts. That then led to graduating from Circomedia, Bristol with a foundation degree in contemporary circus and physical theatre and in 2020 spent some months training at Flic, Italy.

Gráinne has been working as a circus teacher for School of Larks, a rural circus school based in Stroud. She has also worked for Albert and Friends Instant Circus and led circus workshops for a variety of companies and organisations. She is co-founder and performer of ‘The Governing insitute of Higher Nothing', a south-west based comedy duo. She’s often busy working on a variety of performance projects, as creative collaboration is a driving-force in her life. She is passionate about using clowning, aerial circus, performing and visual art to bring joy, laughter and connection to people's lives. Grainne loves smelling flowers, pulling faces, drawing, hanging upside down and cooking, sometimes all at once and she’s excited to join EVERYBODYDANCE this summer to connect with nature, people and movement.



Abbi Saunders - Workshop Leader


Abbi Saunders


Abbi graduated from the University of Winchester with a First Class degree in Choreography and Dance. During her training she had the opportunity to perform and train in Winchester Virginia on a short project at Shenandoah University and also toured the South of UK to several Primary and Secondary schools with D@win Dance Company. She also had the opportunity to dance in several site specific dance pieces, her favourite was in Winchester's 'The Great Hall'. Shortly after this she worked with Wessex Dance Academy in Winchester to choreograph and support vulnerable teenagers. More recently Abbi worked on a collaboration project with Choreographer Grace Willow, Cirque Bijou and Pavillion Dance South-West in a creation to show "The Joy In Dance". Abbi is a passionate coffee lover, traveller and leads an active lifestyle climbing mountains, running and practicing yoga. She is a trained Sports Massage Therapist and recently started training as a Pilates Instructor with APPI and hopes this qualification will be a good asset for her journey to become a Movement Therapist.



PR - Dave Provis

 

Dave Provis
    

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.






For further details on anything here, please contact us.           Follow @everyBODYdancin





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