Biographies of contributors

Diane Amans

Diane Amans is an independent art consultant and director of Freedom in Dance, a Stockport based community dance organisation. Her career has included working in education (schools, FE and Open University), the youth service, training staff in health, social services, industry and the arts and managing dance projects in health and community settings. Diane has a particular interest in developing inclusive approaches to arts work with diverse communities. She delivers equal opportunities and diversity training to a range of organisations including dance companies, the NHS and colleges of further and higher education as well as delivering training in safeguarding in the arts.

Professor Christopher Bannerman (Middlesex University)

Christopher Bannerman danced and choreographed for the National Ballet of Canada and London Contemporary Dance Theatre where, for fifteen years, he performed numerous principal roles, was active as an arts education worker and created several works. He has performed and choreographed internationally.

He has served as a panel member for two Higher Education Research Assessment Exercises and as a Specialist Assessor for the Quality Assurance Agency. He has also served as Chair of Dance UK, Chair of the Arts Council of England's Advisory Panel for Dance, Chair of the National Dance Co-ordinating Committee, as a member of the Trustee Committee of Akademi and as Adviser to London Arts.

In 2001 he choreographed a quartet section of the South Asian Dance celebration Coming of Age at London's South Bank Centre and also returned to the stage in a duet, Cast in Stone? with the renowned South Asian dancer Mavin Khoo. He is now Professor of Dance, and his Inaugural Lecture contained sections of live dance, one of which he performed himself. The lecture was repeated as a public performance as part of the Dance Umbrella festival. He is Head of ResCen, the centre for research into creation in the performing arts, reflecting his deep interest in the creative powers of artists and the ways in which these activities link and intersect the art forms. He has recently contributed to, and edited, the book Navigating the Unknown with his ResCen colleagues.

Ken Bartlett (Director, Foundation for Community Dance)

Ken leads the CDF’s artistic policies, and the development of programmes of work of strategic importance nationally and internationally, particularly those that support intercultural dialogue, diversity, and disabled people. Ken is an advocate for access to, participation in and progression through dance, and is responsible for our senior-level policy relationships. A regular contributor to conferences and publications, Ken also commissions our own magazine, Animated. A former Teacher and School Inspector for the arts, Ken was, before joining the Foundation for Community Dance in 1995, Head of Arts and Cultural Services for Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council starting the process of developing the New Art Gallery. Ken is a Board member of Yorkshire Dance, and has previously taught and lectured in the USA, Australia, Latin America and Europe.

Els van Buren-Walvis (Holland) (2-5-1943)

Professional dance training at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie (RDA) and the Parttime Educational Dance Training in Amsterdam. Further schooling in modern dance, improvisation, composition, yoga, Tai Chi, directing, etc.
Worked with amateurs of all ages and taught improvisation and composition in the Teachers Training department of the RDA for 25 years.

Since about 10 years she focusses on seniors by:

teaching dance improvisation to seniors
attending Senior Theatre Festivals
training (future) dance teachers how to work with seniors
creating dance productions with 55+ amateurs:
Time to live (2001)
With love (2003)
Dance, a lifelong affair (2006), with seniors and children.

Ann Dickie - Director/ dancer ‘From Here To Maturity Dance Company and independent dance artist.

Ann Dickie was born in Coventry in 1946 and moved to London at seventeen to study dance at the Nesta Brooking/Roger Tully Studio, and part time at London School of Contemporary Dance. Funded by a grant from Coventry City Council. Currently dancing in ‘Unfolded’ by choreographer Jennifer Jackson at ‘Atelier’- a forum for independent artists of various disciplines to meet audiences in an intimate setting; leading ‘Age Concern movement & stretch/chair exercise classes in Barnes, Richmond, Twickenham, Ham and Waterloo; continuing own dance study; researching/preparing for next FHTM performance projects. Intergenerational research & development project with FHTM and dance theatre choreographer Maresa von Stockhert; ‘Endangered Species’ – Arts council funded performance project and two uk tours with From Here To Maturity Dance Co, co commissioned by South Bank Centre and East London Dance. Community education projects with older people took place on tour in theatres, residential/nursing homes, day, community and arts centres; Reflectors - Co-mentoring project with dance and disability as part of the Foundation for Community Dances’ Potential programme; CandoCo Dance Company foundation course teacher; FHTM dance workshops for people 60+ at Brixton Library, Brixton Recreation Centre and Waterloo community centres; Molten Arts festival, Barking (2005) - led older persons dance project for East London Dance; Led (2003/4) ‘Leap of Faith’ (older persons group) at East London Dance, Stratford Circus.

Sheila Dickie

Born in Wallasey and attended the Wallasey School of Ballet where she was entered for the Espinosa Scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. After training at the Upper School she performed for several years and took teaching examinations at the Shelagh Elliott-Clarke School in Liverpool. She moved to London where she ran her own school for 15 years before taking a degree in Dance & Education at Middlesex University followed by the MA Dance Studies programme in Dance History at Surrey and began teaching this subject at Hackney Community College where she later became Head of Dance. She has been Education Officer at Sadler’s Wells Theatre for the past 12 years and has had a special interest in dance and older people where she has developed the creative work for the performers in the Company of Elders. For the past eight years she has taught Dance History at Birkbeck, University of London. She is a committee member of the European Association of Dance Historians and is a trustee of Community Focus – a Barnet based charity providing arts education mainly for people with disabilities. Previous management committee work includes the British Ballet Organization, the Council for Dance Education and Training and The Dance Teachers’ Benevolent Fund.

Lisa Dowler

Since graduating from LJMU with a BA (Hons) in Politics and Sociology, Lisa continued her studies in dance, gaining a HND in Dance and is currently studying for an MA Dance Studies.
Recently as a dancer, she has collaborated with artists in the North West namely Andrea Buckley creating site specific performance at Birkenhead Priory, and Cath Hawkins creating site sensitive work at The Lowry, Victoria Baths and Walk the Plank. In addition she was part of a group set up by Andrea Buckley researching Improvisation and performance, which resulted in two performances at Liverpool's Bluecoat, one with music improvisation group 'Frakture

For over three years Lisa has been a part-time Community Dance Artist at MDI. This involves for the main part delivery of dance to a diverse community. For example teaching children with disabilities, in hospital and working with asylum seekers and older people. Lisa is also a Visiting Lecturer at John Moores University, teaching Contact Improvisation and Choreography as well as giving tutorials to students regarding their choreography. In addition Lisa has continued to develop through many intensive training courses with leading artists in both the UK and abroad such as, K.J Holmes (US), Nancy Stark Smith (US), Lisa Nelson (US), Karen Nelson (US), Eva Karczag (Netherlands), Martin Keogh (US), Yolanda Snaith (UK), Rosemary Lee (UK), Gill Clarke (UK), Mary Prestidge (UK), amongst others. Also Lisa has embarked on studies in Body Mind Centering completing a module in Ontogenetic development in February this year.

Sian Edwards-Davies

Sian is based in Manchester and is a founder member of Nomad Dance International. She has been teaching and performing Arabic Dance for over 12 years and leads weekly classes for Ludus Dance in Lancaster, The Pyramid in Warrington and Manchester University amongst others. She specialises in adapting the dance as a vocabulary of movement to teach Special Needs groups and for working with older people and in schools.The emphasis in these sessions is to have fun She has been employed by Freedom In Dance on a number of occasions. As well as having a thoroughly researched the history of Arabic Dance, Sian is able to draw on her extensive knowledge and love of world music to encourage class participants to reach their full potential in each session. Performances include Manchester Museum, The British Museum, The Lowry in Salford, Manchester Free Trade Hall, Romiley Forum, Kendal Brewery Arts Centre and Manchester's Opera House.

Eric Foxley

Eric Foxley has been involved in British folk dance, song and music since 1950. He worked on committees of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and produced a document for them of advice to musicians playing for dancing. He has organised many dance and music tours in France, not attending festivals but contacting individual towns and villages and running social events and workshops as well as shows. A popular dance called "Mrs Foxley's Fancy" was composed in honour of his mother. He has travelled extensively with work in China, India, South-East Asia, Africa, Europe and America, and always looks for music and dance opportunities wherever he is. For five years now he has been happily retired with not a minute to spare, mountain biking, hill walking, running a pottery, managing web sites for a modest fee, and running the Foresters Morris Men, the Greenwood Step Clog Dancers and Freds Folks Ceilidh Band. .

Jackie Guy

Jackie Guy is an international choreographer and one of Britain’s leading tutor/lecturers in the area of Afro-Caribbean dance forms. Jackie trained at the Jamaica School of Dance and is a graduate and former Principal Dancer of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. Dynamic and inspiring, he fuses traditional dance vocabulary and Folklore with elements of contemporary dance technique. Using dance as therapy, Jackie extended his creative skills working with the Jamaica Social Development Commission, catering for youths in prisons, remand centres, community centres and youth clubs in poor and inner city areas. The knowledge and experience gained was to serve him well when he relocated to England in 1987. Jackie was appointed Artistic Director of Kokuma Dance Theatre in 1988 and won the Black Dance Awards for outstanding choreography and production and the Prudential Commendation award for Excellence, Innovation, Creativity and Accessibility. In 1998 Jackie was appointed Course Co-ordinator for Britain’s first and only Diploma course in African and Caribbean Dance, accredited by Birkbeck College, University of London. This groundbreaking course is managed by IRIE! Dance Theatre. Jackie has lectured at many Universities including Demontford, Birmingham and Liverpool amongst others. He also has extensive experience in leading community dance projects and has conducted some for the British Council in Zimbabwe. Jackie balances his theoretical principles with a practical approach, so as to enable participants to experience the dance form and at the same time learn its socio-cultural dynamics. Jackie has recently choreographed the stage version of the movie ‘The Harder They Come’.

Julie Hanna

Julie has worked in the NHS for over 20 years as an occupational therapist, counsellor and manager. Her work has been predominantly in specialised mental health services. In 2004 she began a secondment with the Liverpool Culture Company as creative health and well being manager. This period has been a period of personal and professional growth for Julie who has gained much from being in an environment which brings health workers and creative and artistic partners together with different perspectives and experiences yet with shared goals.

Julie’s presentation reflects on creative and cultural activity and health focusing on the particular contribution of dance. She describes some of the specific projects that involve dance within the overall area of creative health and well being. See here for a Powerpoint presentation.

Donald Hutera

Born in the US but now resident in the UK, Donald Hutera has been writing on the arts since 1977. He has been covering dance for over two decades, initially for papers and magazines in Minnesota. Publications in which his work subsequently appeared include The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. Since coming to Britain in the early 1980s, he has written regularly for numerous publications including: The Times, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Now and others. Additionally he contributes programme notes to such venues as Sadler's Wells, The Royal National Theatre, The Peacock Theatre, the Barbican Centre and others. He has spoken about dance and physical theatre performances for British radio and television. Donald co-authored (with Allen Robertson) The Dance Handbook in 1988 and has contributed to the Chambers Biographical Dictionary, The Larousse Encyclopaedia (Latin American edition), Fifty Contemporary Choreographers and the International Dictionary of Modern Dance. He has accepted speaking engagements on dance, dance criticism and cultural issues at the Tapias Festival (Brazil), the South Bank Centre (on dance and disability),Northrop Auditorium (US; new trends in dance) and for London Arts, Laban and TheCity University, London. He was a participant in the Unesco-sponsored World Arts Conference (Spain).

Debbie Lee-Anthony MA

Debbie trained at the London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 1982. She was a founder member of Theatre of Motion (director Pete Purdy) and Tacit Dance Theatre (director Neil Fisher) with whom she performed for several years. Debbie also has extensive experience as an independent dancer, working with Yael Flexer, Duncan Macfarland, Paula Hampson, Erica Stanton, Dale Thompson and Janet Smith. Debbie's practice as a choreographer, director and performer directly feeds into her teaching at the University of Winchester where she is a Senior Lecturer in Choreography & Dance. Debbie's area of research is concerned with the dilemmas of the ageing process upon the mature dancer, collaborative processes and the relationship between innovation and accessibility. Debbie’s recent choreography ‘Something To Say’ for 3rd year dance students at the University of Winchester has been performed extensively in Holland and Belgium as part of the Fonty’s Dance Festival 2006. The work will be performed next month at a Graduates showcase at The Point in Eastleigh, Hampshire alongside graduates from the University of Chichester and LIPA. Debbie has worked as choreographer and movement director for Salisbury Playhouse on many productions. She has extensive teaching experience including LABAN Centre London, Greenwich Dance Agency and Swindon Dance amongst others. She is Co-Director of Soma/Numa, based in Salisbury. Soma/Numa’s works created and toured include Flipped (2001), 3fold (2003) FastTrack (2004) and 'Body of Experience' (2006) which has just completed a National Tour. Debbie is grateful to the University of Winchester for enabling her to continue with her professional practice with Soma/Numa.

François Mattaraso (Chair, Arts Council, East Midlands)

François Matarasso is a researcher and consultant with 25 years’ experience in community-based arts activity. He currently leads a Culture East Midlands/EMDA programme on culture in rural development, based in Nottingham. He specialises in practice-led research, especially on the impact of culture. He has been commissioned by partners in over 25 countries and his work has been widely published and translated. He is Chair of Arts Council East Midlands.


Miso'shi, is a Ghanaian freelance performance artist, now resident in Chorley, Lancashire. She has experience working with Age Concern, Hospital Arts now LIME in Manchester, Museums and Community venues. Her audiences and participants range from age 0 - 75. She has over 15 years experience working with Secondary, Primary, Main Stream and Special Needs Schools in the UK.
Her active and full audience participatory method of work is much desired by Practitioners of Sure Start and Foundation Stages, Newly Qualified Teachers and the General Community. She is very versatile in using her artforms of Music, Dance and Storytelling to engage all ages to achieve to their potential. Her work encourages Kinesthetic Learning and is a powerful tool in the classroom to promote Curricular Enhancement. Miso'shi's performance work and workshops draw on her cultural background to outline similarites and what makes the differences in the two cultures she has lived in. She gives a general and positive introduction to her cultural background in a fun and educational way through songs and rhythms, stories and dances.

Mary Prestidge (UK)

Originally an Olympic gymnast in the 1960’s, Mary's first professional work was with the English dance company, Ballet Rambert as a contemporary dancer. In the mid 70’s she co-founded the radical X6 Dance Space in London and was a member of its artist collective, and its successor Chisenhale Dance Space, until 1989. Both organisations provided an important context for the research and development of new dance forms and practice in Britain during that period. Mary has been an influential practitioner and teacher of new and experimental dance in both the independent dance scene as well as the specialist academy. She continues to evolve new work through collaboration with other artists and art forms in a variety of performing contexts. Has been lecturer in dance at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts since 1995.

Ana Sánchez-Colberg and Theatre enCorps

Ana Sánchez-Colberg has gained an international reputation as a choreographer of dance-theatre, which is novel and distinct. Ana trained in classical ballet in her native Puerto Rico before turning to contemporary dance. After completing a BA (Hons) in Theatre at the University of Pennsylvania she pursued a Master of Fine Arts (Choreography) at Temple University in Philadelphia. Under the tutelage of Helmut Gottschild (who was assistant to Mary Wigman in Berlin until 1969) she trained in Wigman, Jooss and tanztheater techniques. During this time Sanchez Colberg was a member of the Terry Beck Troupe, a Philadelphia based dance theatre company and Movement Coordinator for Intuitons, a physical theatre company. In 1986, under the auspices of a fellowship from the Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico, she came to England to pursue further dance training and to follow a Ph D programme at the Laban Centre London (which was completed in 1992). With Theatre enCorps she has produced Alice, Alice, Alice...Are You A Child or a Tee totter (1989 1990), performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as a site specific work at Newcastle Arts Centre and West Greenwich House and as part of Spring Loaded 1990. This was followed by Fragments: Discourse on Love (1991 92) performed at the Oval House Theatre. Family Portraits (1993 94) was also performed as part of Continental Shifts at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was performed in London at The Place Theatre (Evolutions! 1993) and the Bonnie Bird Theatre. In 2006, with support from Arts Council England and The Place Choreodrome, she engaged in an international collaborative project with Swedish choreographer Efva Lilja entitled Holds no memory. She has been the recipient of and artistic fellowship from the Swedish Research Council to produce a further work in April 2007.

Bisakha Sarker

Bisakha Sarker is a leading practitioner of Indian creative dance. She has worked as a performer, choreographer, researcher, educationalist, critic, writer and video maker. Bisakha was born in India .She received her masters degree in Statistics from the University of Calcutta. After coming to the UK she adopted Liverpool as her home. She works all over the country in a wide range of situations. Her innovative work, much of it with disabled people, has challenged traditional cultural boundaries. Her rich spiritual creativity inspires others to translate their experiences and emotions into the shapes and rhythms of dance. Bisakha hands over the ownership of the dance to all those with whom she works, empowering them in a unique way. Both her performance and participatory work is informed by eastern spirituality. Bisakha Sarker is currently the director of Chaturangan, an agency based in Liverpool working to raise the profile of South Asian dance, culture and spirituality both locally and nationally.

Chitra Sundaram (editor, "Pulse" magazine, UK)

Chitra Sundaram is a dance artist of distinction, trained in the Indian performance idiom of Bharatanatyam. She is widely acclaimed and respected in both the diasporic and original homelands of this form. Chitra trained traditionally, one on one, from an early age with several illustrious teachers in India. She was an early contributor to the history South Asian Dance in the UK both as a received and interpreted form and was a collaborator in the first ever Bharatanatyum-Contemporary-Jazz hybrid of work in the country, teaming up with Union Dance in the early 1980’s. Her work ‘Moham’ A Magnificent Obsession’ premiered at the South Bank and was presented by main stream venues in the UK and India as well as North America. Primarily a soloist, her collaborations include Akademi’s ‘Coming of Age’ at the South Bank Centre and the Royal Opera House’s ‘Back Garden Project’ with Mavin Khoo Dance. Chitra has taught dance at academic and practice-led institutions including Goldsmith College and has been a mentor for students and young choreographers. Chitra also serves arts organisations in trustee and advisory capacities and brings a transnational perspective having lived and worked in several countries around the globe. She is involved in current aesthetic debates in and around South Asian Dance and is a significant contributor to the discourse as the editor of PULSE, the premier South Asian dance magazine in Britain, sponsored by Arts Council England. Chitra lives in London and works internationally.

In 2006, Chitra choreographed Awaz/Voice, a site-specific ensemble work for Akademi commissioned by the London Mayor's Trafalgar Square Festival. She performed Skull a.k.a. aMhas - The Immortal Sin, a collaboration with award winning Canadian Chroeographer Hari Krishnan, as part of the Body of Experience national tour with 22 showings in England and Scotland.

Amel Tafsout

Amel was unable to attend the conference in person, but contributed a paper, see here.

Julia Taylor (Director Liverpool Healthy Cities 1993- 2005)

Background in Health Promotion. One of the first non medical Master of Public Health graduates from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Liverpool 1990. Appointed to Liverpool Healthy Cities in 1993 (WHO European Network Phase II) Directed the development of Liverpool’s pioneering City Health Plan 1996. Elected as the Chair of the first WHO European Network Healthy Cities Advisory Committee in 1998. Course design and accreditation through Merseyside Open College Network and Liverpool John Moores University. Published “Liverpool Healthy City – A 21st Century Approach” (Oct.2002). Developed a Public Health Network across Cheshire and Merseyside 2002-2004
Awarded The Duncan Medal 1997; Service Improvement Award for Excellence 1999; Honorary Member Faculty of Public Health 1999; Awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health, June 2005. Presented widely both national and international. The most recent being Turku, Finland – Health Cities, Well-being and Capital of Culture, April 06; Suzhou, First Healthy Cities Conference, China, Hong Kong and Macau, May 06; Contribution to the local community as a Magistrate and School Governor.

Tim Tubbs (UK Foundation)

Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully

Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully is an amateur dance group for those aged forty and over, it is a non profit making organisation. The group has approximately twenty five members some of which have no dance experience, some have not danced for more years than they like to remember and yet others have spent their lives in dance education. This varied mixture of people brings a very special vibrancy and excitement to the creation and performance of dance. Meetings are held weekly and performance projects occur whenever the possibility arises.
The group aims to provide opportunities for anyone over 40 to engage in active, creative, innovative dance workshops in diverse styles, facilitating access for those new to dance and further training for the experiences ; that challenge experienced dancers and support access for the inexperienced; to devise and perform original dance celebrating and reflective of age and experience. The group was instigated in 1997 as part of a wider Liverpool based project. Since 1997 it has held regular workshops in a variety of dance styles and taken part in many performance projects leading to live performance or video. For 2006/7 the group have received funding from Arts Council England North West, to commission a new dance work and to rework previous workshop material in order to create a longer dance performance.

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