ODD 3 Speaker Biographies

Here is a short introduction to all the presenters taking part in Our Dance Democracy 3.

Day 1

Khanyisile Mbongwa

Khanyisile Mbongwa is a Cape Town-based independent curator, award-winning artist and sociologist who engages with her curatorial practice as Curing & Care, using the creative to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy and play.

The new Curator for the Liverpool Biennial 12th edition, which will take place June – September 2023. 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival.

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, founding member and curator of Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is one of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Mbongwa was a Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Institute of Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, where she completed her masters in Interdisciplinary Arts, Public Art and the Public Sphere, and has worked locally and internationally. She is also currently a PhD candidate at UCT where her work focuses on spatiality, radical black self-love and imagination, and black futurity.

Formerly Chief Curator of the 2020 Stellenbosch Triennale, her other recent projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann honouring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, Housntere for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).

Mbongwa is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Create Arts, University of Cape Town and is a Blak C.O.R.E (Care of Radical Energy) Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She was the Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020 and is the Curator for the Liverpool Biennial 2023.

Professor Vicky Hunter

Professor Vicky Hunter is a Practitioner-Researcher and Professor in Site Dance at the University Chichester, UK. Her research explores site dance and the body-self’s entangled engagements with space and place through considerations of corporeal, spatial and kinetic engagements with lived environments. Her monograph Site, Dance and Body: Movement Materials and Corporeal Engagement was published by Palgrave in 2021, and her edited volume Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performance was published by Routledge in 2015. She is co-author of (Re) Positioning Site-Dance (Intellect 2019) with Melanie Kloetzel (Canada) and Karen Barbour (New Zealand) exploring regionally based site-dance practice in relation to global socio-economic, political, and ecological themes through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives including feminist scholarship, human geography, neoliberalism, and New Materialist discourses.

Nina Edge

Nina Edge works in many forms. She has a socially, politically and environmentally engaged practice. She speaks, publishes, and has taught across art, architecture, cosmology, design, law, social science, theatre and urbanism.

Her artwork is inherently political, challenging power relationships around sex, race, identity and land-rights.  She participates in long-term projects with communities for example in urban design and ecological restoration. She is currently collaborating with Scouse Flowerhouse illustrating and mapping Liverpool’s wildflowers.

Having trained in Ceramic Design Edge became known for her use of so called craft materials as part of the 1980s Black British Artists movement. She made ceramics, batik, and embroidery work that challenged colonial narratives, and toured the UK and USA. This expanded into performance collaborations with musicians, poets and dancers, where she explored collective choreography and self-direction.

Her creative input in housing campaigns saw the development of collaborative design tools, & democratic forums placing her at the centre of an explosion of community curation in Liverpool’s Welsh Streets.

More recently her drawings, gardens, paintings, sculpture, textiles, food gardens and short films have been scaled to the Post Covidian cultural landscape. Her work is found in galleries but more often the public domain.


Kiara Mohamed Amin

Liverpool based Kiara Mohamed Amin is a trans, Somali multidisciplinary artist based in Toxteth, Liverpool. His work focuses on what it means to live at the intersectional of marginalisation and still choose joy, healing and community as an act of radical living and dreaming. He uses different mediums to explore intergenerational trauma and looks to see where we are in eternity through astrology, somatic movements and divination. He is a birth and death doula, astrologer and tarot reader and spends most times communing with spirits in nature.


Alexandrina Hemsley/Yewande

Alexandrina’s creative practice lands in the fluid spaces of dance, choreography, writing, facilitating and advocacy. Their interests are both enduring and in expansive states of flux – or just in connection/relation to the processes within life and within living. They turn towards the sensorial, the bodily, the multiple subjective positions of self – and self in intimate relation to self and other-selves – as ways to find breath and voice amidst the unjust and inequitable.

Alexandrina founded Yewande 103 in 2020. Yewande 103 formalises the past 10+ years of her work in the contemporary dance field as a choreographer, performer, writer, mentor and educator. Yewande 103 lives as compassionate, embodied advocacy in action, through choreography, writing, production, artist support and the development of mental health discourse.

Image Credit: Richard Moore

Hanna Cormick

Hanna Cormick is a Finnish-Australian artist, born in Helsinki and currently living and playing on unceded Ngunnawal country (Canberra, Australia).

Hanna’s living and art are a practice of a body that stretches beyond the barrier of skin to encompass whole environments; a body danced by forces beyond, as a navigation of the ecological and microbial disharmony we have wrought in this epoch of the Anthropocene. Hanna co-creates with both human and more-than-human collaborators through an animistic lens, utilising processes of deep listening, informed by a lived-experience of cripness, sickness, neurodivergence, sensory sensitivity and synaesthesia.

Hanna has worked as a physical artist for over twenty years in Europe, Asia and hhnb Australia, though for the past seven years has been located in a safe-room, traversing the delicate inner landscapes of rare disease and immunologic disability. After decades of training in arts dedicated to rigour and virtuosity, Hanna’s experience of illness forced an abandonment of the capitalistic(-colonialist) model of body-relationship; Hanna now works with a creative ethos that prioritises anti-extractivism, climate justice and access rights, to nourish relational ecologies of reciprocity, at scales of the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and global.

Recent artworks have featured at Sydney Festival (The Mermaid, 2020), Climate Change Theatre Action (Dream/Remember, 2021; Canary, 2019), and through co-curating virtual festivals and conferences on Arts & Disability (I-Dance, 2020/22; Arts Activated, 2021; Platform LIVE, 2020).

Hanna’s root system spreads through institutions and traditions, and acknowledges the masters whose lineages are continually carried within: as a mask artist in France (apprenticing under commedia master Stefano Perocco di Meduna) and Indonesia (mentored under Topeng master Ida Bagus Anom); as a circus artist as one half of cirque-cabaret duo, Les Douleurs Exquises (Paris), and of Clown duo Salade & Socks with Sirkhane Social Circus (Mardin); as a student of experimental theatre arts, training with Thomas Richards & Mario Biagini of the Wokcenter of Jerzy Grotowski, with Enrique Pardo & Linda Wise of Pan Théâtre & the Roy Hart Centre (Malerargues), and with Per Brahe and the Actor’s Training Centre (Bali); and as a graduate of Charles Sturt University (Wiradjuri country) and Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (Paris).


Lucy Nicholsen

Lucy is a senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Dance with UCLanDance in Preston, Lancashire. Her particular area of interest is in using movement as a tool to re-engage and empower and the potential it holds in developing ownership, choice & bodily-awareness. She is currently training with The Emove Institute to become a Registered Somatic Educator and Laban-Bartenieff Movement Analyst and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr. Rosemary (Rosa) Cisneros

Dr. Rosa Cisneros is an artist, researcher, consultant, filmmaker of mixed ethnic background who has over 25 years managing, developing and delivering projects. She is director of RosaSenCis film Production Co., a company that aims to create inclusive and accessible resources and teaching guides used by major organisations such as the NHS. Rosa has co-authored papers on ethics within dance, intersectionality, and led projects that explore ethical methods and equitable practices. She sits on many boards including AWA dance, Early Dance Circle among many others.

Cisneros brings conceptual grounding in debates around decolonising dance, archives and practice research and through her consultancy work for the International Council on Archives, leading their ethical archives project, and chair of the Equality and Diversity Task Force for Europeana Foundation, Cisneros is well placed to discuss EDI-related tensions. She is also located in a network of practitioner and researchers working in ‘inclusive’ and ‘marginalised’ dance practices and supports services (e.g. NHS, Save the Children, EU-Commission) to explore the potential of arts and culture in their services.

Dr. Jacqueline Richards

Jackie is an older dancer, social enabler, advisor. Her fulltime career at City & Guilds (1976-1980, 1987-2008) included senior management responsibilities for Health & Social Care qualifications. She left to return to dance and community activities. By 2010, she had created a community choir and a creative dance organisation for older adults, both still thriving in Tottenham. She began a work-based doctorate (DProf.) that evolved into “Active Older People Participating in Creative Dance–Challenging Perceptions” graduating from Middlesex University (2017). Her activities include regularly attending dance sessions and participating in older people’s companies including Damn Fine Dance (2013 onwards), Counterpoint Dance (2010-2013) and Rambert’s Mercury Movers (2014-2016). Performances in London (and beyond) include: Cultural Olympiad (2012); Elixir Festival (2014) Jerome Bel’s “Gala” (2016); Move It (2022); Move Dance Feel videos(2019) and “Taken by the Hand” film(2022).  Her advisory/participatory work includes co-chairing DWP/AAA older people’s arts group (2014–2016), AgeUK London “Age Allies” (2017-2019), co-leading a Knowledge-Exchange Project, Greenwich University (2022), She studied at  Laban Art of Movement Studio-Addlestone and Trent Park College(1966-1969) and graduated with B.Ed (Hons) Education/Sociology, Goldsmiths(1975). She was also a primary teacher (1969-1974) and a part-time adult education dance tutor (1978-1987) and chaired the development of a local community arts centre(1981-1987).


Deborah Kate Norris

A Dance artist, educator, and choreographer, Deborah completed her training at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Jose Limon Institute of Contemporary Dance, in New York. Deborah is a Lecturer in Dance and Postgraduate Programme Manager at Rambert School of Contemporary Dance and Rambert 2 Company.

As an early career researcher Deborah is a PhD candidate at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is exploring narrative works by women ballet choreographers through a feminist narratological lens. Deborah is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a committee member for  Dance HE, and Vice-Chair of the British and International Federation of Festivals. Deborah is the Director of Ballet Folk and has presented work internationally in both educational and professional settings.

Maxine Brown

Maxine Brown is a freelance dancer, choreographer and community organiser with decades of experience working in various community settings throughout the UK, as well as in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Her knowledge and expertise in African People’s dance forms spans many years, beginning in the early eighties with teachers from Ghana’s National dance company. Having made many research, training and collaboration trips to Africa, the Caribbean and other countries, her somatic practice engages the arts of the African diaspora. She is currently a teacher/lecturer and choreographer, specialising in African People’s classical and contemporary dance (APD).

Kym Ward

Kym Ward is Dementia Project Coordinator at The Brain Charity, where she manages workshops which couple Physiotherapy and Speech & Language Therapy with music and dance, as non-pharmaceutical interventions for people living with dementia. Kym has over ten years of experience in running socially engaged Arts projects and both designing and conducting Arts based research. Her work has been supported by grants from FRart, Belgium; Mondriaan fonds, The Netherlands and Goethe Institute, Germany – amongst others. She co-founded and is also currently co-director at Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre on The Wirral.

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance produces the choreographic works of Shobana Jeyasingh which are multi-disciplinary and ambitious. The company’s work involves collaborations and partnerships with an eclectic band of creatives who may be leading a baroque orchestra or designing the software for dancing with a robot. Our partners have included designers, universities, festivals, film makers, architects and art galleries among others.
Dancers are our most important creative collaborators and though we do not have a permanent company of dancers, we work closely with those who share our vision. Our company dancers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages. Our dancers are not only technical masters of their craft but also co researchers in the studio where ideas progress into performance. We also run programmes and projects which further our commitment to dancers’ professional and creative development.

Within our Creative Learning practice, we use Shobana’s research and choreographic process to create new dance pieces and work with other art forms, always in a co-creative and participatory way.

Alice Odin, Head of Creative Learning at Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

Alice has worked in the arts and cultural sector for over fifteen years, managing learning and participation programmes in museums, dance companies and community organisations. She also works as a freelance producer and lecturer for UK and international institutions. As a qualified project manager, Alice has worked on national projects such as the Cultural Olympiad, HLF-funded and Arts Council programmes. Alice is also a national rep for arts and dance networks such as the Dance Learning and Participation Network.

Verity Richards, Participation Associate at Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

As a Participation Associate, Verity delivers parts of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance’s Creative Learning work in community groups, festivals and schools bringing Shobana’s approach to dance and the body to a wide array of audiences.

Verity is a Participation Artist who conceives, manages, facilitates and evaluates creative projects for people underrepresented in arts and culture. She works with organisations to identify gaps in their representation and build programmes that champion creative engagement with new audiences of all ages.

Art is for everyone, and her work centres on empowering participants as creatives in their own right. The projects she makes are genuinely collaborative, with shared creative power and a drive towards bold, experimental outcomes.

She has worked with a range of organisations, including: Sheffield Theatres, Rose Theatre, SpeakUp Theatre, Bounce Theatre, Somerset House, National Gallery, Streetwise Opera, RADA and The University of Exeter.


Samsul Maarif

Samsul Maarif is a faculty member, and now serves the head of MA program of the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Graduate School, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Indonesia. His research interests include religions of indigenous people, ecology, community development and advocacy. He is the coordinator of a coalition of 10 institutions (NGOs, Research and Government Institutions), called “Rumah Ber sama”, working on issues of indigenous people (Kepercayaan/masyarakat adat), and facilitator/mentor of the annual fellowship on freedom of religion or belief in Indonesia, supported by the Oslo Coalition.


Wendy Houston

Wendy Houstoun is a movement/theatre artist who remains committed to finding new forms to address her themes. Over the years, her work has developed a uniquely distinctive style that combines movement with text ,and meaning with humour.

Since 1980 , Wendy has worked extensively as a solo performer, and in collaboration with companies and artists whose work challenges, enriches and extends the boundaries of dance and theatre. Her work with DV8 Physical Theatre, Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment, film maker David Hinton, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, Nigel Charnock, performance artist Rose English, Lumiere and Son Theatre and Ludus Dance Company has explored large and small stages, specific sites, film and installation.

Day 2

Christopher Bannerman

Christopher Bannerman had a distinguished international career as a performer and choreographer principally with the National Ballet of Canada and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. The UK’s first professional dance artist to lead a university department, he also achieved one of the first practice-research PhDs and professorial conferment. He has contributed to policy as Chair of Dance UK, Arts Council England’s Dance Panel and through membership of the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Dance Forum. He is Director of ResCen Research Centre at Middlesex University and co-leads international collaborations including ArtsCross, an intercultural choreographic research initiative with Beijing Dance Academy, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and University of Taipei. He is an occasional performer dancing with the Sadler’s Wells Elixir Ensemble working with choreographers including Jonathan Burrows, Robert Cohan and Annie B. His research coheres around processes, practices, cultures and contexts of performance as it is conceived, created, presented and made available through and in the arts marketplace.

Dr. ‘Funmi Adewole Elliott

‘Funmi Adewole is a senior lecturer in Dance at De Montfort University, England. She holds an MA in Postcolonial studies and PhD in Dance Studies. She is also a performer, dramaturge, and dance researcher.  On relocating from Nigeria to Britain in 1994 she began a career in the arts which included tours with Physical theatre and African dance drama companies, arts consultancy and voluntary work as a dance advocate. Her work in this area contributed to the development of infrastructure for the Dance of the African Diaspora in professional contexts. In 2019, she was given a life-time achievement award her work by One Dance UK, the UK National body for Dance. Her present research interests include dance as a profession, storytelling as performance, the Dance of Africa and the diaspora in the cultural and creative industries and postcolonial inquiry in practice as research.


Valerie Ebuwa

Valerie Ebuwa is a dance artist, activist, writer and model from London. Amongst others she’s recently worked with; Clod Ensemble and Jamie xx. As a maker, she has choreographed and curated ValUE, a multi-layered project created in order to offer multiple perspectives on the black female image. Her writing has been featured in The Stage Magazine and is a regular contributor to I am Hip Hop magazine. Her work has been featured in Crack Magazine.


Douglas Bateman

Douglas Bateman is a dance artist, and co-artistic director of the MDKollektiv based in Cologne, Germany. The MDkollektiv develops participatory events such as “The Polarity Party” in which participants reflect on the nature of polarisation. He also creates dancing guided city tours and is developing “The Social within the City” a smartphone app that promotes empathy and connection by inviting people to move together regardless of global location.


Susan Goligher

Educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, Susan Goligher has honours degrees in History of Art & Design from Leicester Polytechnic and in Childhood and Youth Studies from Liverpool John Moores University(LJMU); she also has a postgraduate diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Susan is the founder of Afrograph, a business that specialises in the cultural history and craft traditions of West African peoples. She has a special interest in textiles and recognises the importance of working in different settings to break down social barriers, raise self-esteem, and support positive well-being through creative explorations.

Susan has run a  B.A.M.E family support service on Wirral and was an Honorary Lecturer for LJMU for several years.  Susan has worked with The Barbican, the V&A, Liverpool Museums, and museums, schools, and communities across Britain using textiles and objects from Afrograph’s collections.

Some of Afrograph’s textiles have been exhibited in Denmark and the USA. Susan’s most recent work has been with The World Reimagined and Liverpool City Region. She also has work on display in the World Gallery in Liverpool.  Susan is currently on the board of Earth Moves Cooperative and volunteers with Wirral Multicultural Organisation and The Brain Charity.


Tammi Gissell

Tammi Gissell is a Murruwarri-Wiradjuri dancer, choreographer and performance theorist with a Bachelor of Performance: Theory and Practice (Honours) from the University of Western Sydney.

Over the past 27 years, Tammi has presented her body of solo works, appeared with leading Australian dance and theatre makers and delivered her research and writing nationally and abroad. She has previously been course coordinator at The National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA Dance College) and Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts and is currently collections coordinator, First Nations at The Powerhouse Museum.


Thomas F. DeFrantz

Thomas F. DeFrantz directs SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, a research lab that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. Believes in our shared capacity to do better and engage creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, proto-feminist, and queer affirming. Convenes the Black Performance Theory working group as well as the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, a growing consortium of 325 researchers committed to exploring Black dance practices in writing. Recent teaching: University of the Arts Mobile MFA in Dance; ImPulsTanz; SNDO; Juilliard; New Waves Institute; faculty at Hampshire College, Stanford, Yale, MIT, NYU, Northwestern University; University of Nice.  Has chaired Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT; the concentration in Physical Imagination at MIT; the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke; and served as President of the Society of Dance History Scholars. DeFrantz acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian Museum of African American Life and Culture, contributing concept and a voice-over for a permanent installation on Black Social Dance that opened with the museum in 2016. slippage.org


Sandie Bourne

Dr Sandie Bourne is a consultant on Black dancers in British Ballet. Her Black British Ballet project aims to produce a suite of resources to document the history and experiences of Black dancers and choreographers in British ballet in the last century. Sandie studied performing arts at London Studio Centre. She has a BA in Performing Arts, major in Dance from Middlesex University; a MA in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey and a PhD Dance Studies, University of Roehampton (2017). Her research title was Black British Ballet: Race, Representation and Aesthetics. Published chapters include: Tracing the Evolution of Black Representation in Ballet and the Impact on Black British Dancers Today in (Akinleye 2018), Looking Through the Keyhole in (Brookes 2018), a Book Review on Halifu Osumare, ‘Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir’ in Dance Research, Vol 37.1 (2019), Portrayals of Black people in Western narrative ballets in (Akinleye 2021), ‘Celebrating Dance for All, ‘Dr Sandie Bourne reflects on the diversity of Dance Track 25’ in Birmingham Royal Ballet Magazine – Autumn (2022), ‘Diversity: The Key to the Survival of British Ballet’ in One Dance UK Magazine – Autumn (2022).


Dr Swati-Raut

Dr Swati Raut, an established Bharatanatyam dance artist, choreographer, teacher and educator who has worked in the Northwest region of England for the last three decades. Her highly successful dance career began in the UK in 1987. Since then, Dr Swati Raut has not only established herself as a leading classical dance artist but has concurrently focused attention in training and developing the next generation as a young dancers and teachers.

Dr Swati Raut is a Committee Member of the ISTD -The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing for the Classical Indian Dance Faculty. She is also a Unesco (CID- International Dance Council) approved Artiste.

Dr Swati Raut received her dance training in Bharatanatyam (Pandanallur Style) at ‘Nrityashree’, Mumbai, under the tutelage of Guru Krishnan Kutty. Following her Arangetram (dance graduation) in 1979, she continued to train in Bharatanatyam and also learnt Mohiniattam (another form of Indian classical dance) from Smt. Ammu Kutty. She has performed extensively in India in the eighties, both as a solo artist and in Dance Drama productions by Nrityashree. She is also trained with Padma Bhushan Prof. C V Chandrasekhar.

Presently Dr Swati Raut teaches Bharatanatyam to more than100 young children in the NorthWest region through weekly and weekend classes in Wigan, Preston,  and Liverpool.
Awarded The Nritya Acharya Ratna Award (Bharatanatyam) through the National Indian Arts Awards in 2017. Her latest choreographic work includes Kinkini, Akashagamanam, Basant Bells, Aadi, Pancham, Maay Boli, Half of me and S/HE.


Angela Viora

Dr Angela Viora is an Italian performance artist and scholar based in Naarm, Australia. She lectures at Monash University, where she integrates the study of languages and cultures with the study of performance studies and creative arts. She’s also the Next Generation Network (NGN) Convenor of the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre.

An expat obsessed with the humans-space relationship, Angela researches on migration and mobility, identity and sense of belonging, through a practice-led and phenomenological approach. Her participatory performances are personal responses to global issues where her body becomes a vehicle for messages and experiences, offered to the audience.

Angela has presented her work internationally, including at BOAA Biennale of Australian Art and Melbourne University (AUS), Daegu Art Factory (SK), Liverpool Hope University (UK), University of Bielsko-Biała (PL), Performance Studies International Conference, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, Human Rights – UNESCO and Artissima (IT), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (TK). She has recently performed live at the 11th ACIS Conference (Australasian Centre for Italian Studies), the first artist ever to do so.

Angela has published on performance art, public art, documentation, and audience reception. She has recently co-curated an exhibition of iconic Australian performance artist Stelarc at the University of Biesko-Biala PL, where she was a key-note speaker at the 3rd International Conference “Theatricality and Antitheatricality” (2022). She has worked extensively in community art-based projects across Europe and Australia, and currently sits in the Brimbank Arts Advisory Committee (AUS). Angela is a member of Performance Studies International and AIAPI UNESCO – Associazione Internazionale Arti Plastiche Italia.



Melissa Pasut

Melissa Pasut is a contemporary dancer born in the United States where she began her dance training at age seven.  She recently received her MRes in Choreography and Performance from the University of Roehampton in London.

She is dedicated to choreographic research and performing new works that constantly seek to confuse the traditional boundaries that exist between dance and other art practices. Her research involves butoh and classical/contemporary dance practices and has trained with butoh masters from all over the world.

She has collaborated with many visual artists, musicians and performers including: Aleksander Gabrys, Andrew Leslie Hooker, Toshimaru Nakamura, Stefano Pilia, John Duncan, Rachel Sweeney, Guillermo Luis Horta Betancourt, Joan Laage, and Sayoko Onishi and has performed work in Europe, the UK and the USA.

She founded Anoikis in 2002 and alongside her husband and artistic partner Andrew Leslie Hooker, they have reshaped the objective and direction of the company.  Since 2015 have been based in North Wales, UK.  In addition, she has held international workshops with both professionals and non-professionals and she currently teaches in the dance program at Liverpool Hope University.  She has been funded by the Arts Council of Wales on projects concerning butoh, contemporary dance and electroacoustic composition.


Chevon Edwards MA

Chevon is a professional dance practitioner, teacher and creative. Graduating from Northern School of Contemporary Dance she has danced with Tavaziva Dance Company, Keneish Dance and Neshima Dance along with artists, Patsy Browne-Hope Dance and Tia-Monique Uzor. She is currently dancing at with Earth-bound for their 2023 tour.

In recent years, Chevon has begun to explore her practice and interests in social dynamics and human behaviour. With her first established project being the creating and co-directing of ACE-funded dance film, ‘One Night’ in 2021. An award-winning short dance film exploring the subject matter of domestic abuse.

Chevon also has a Masters where she was awarded a Distinction in Dance Research for Professional Practitioners at Rambert School in 2022.


Jenny Rees MA

A graduate of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Jenny has undertaken further training at The Limon School and Merce Cunningham Studios in New York. Jenny has performed works both nationally and internationally by choreographers such as Lea Anderson, Itzik Gallili and Gary Clarke. She is a founder member of Liverpool based dance company, taciturn and has choreographed and performed with the company since 2006.

In 2022 Jenny was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rambert School, on the Research for Professional Practitioners course. Here she focussed on developing her choreographic practice, driven by the desire to make work that engages audiences physically and emotionally through its affective impact.

Jenny currently works part time as a dance lecturer at LIPA Sixth Form College and has experience of teaching in FE, HE and school settings, alongside teaching professional level classes.


Emma Meehan

Dr. Emma Meehan is an Associate Professor in Dance at the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University. She received an International Academic Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust called ‘Dialogue Moves: Amerta Movement in Indonesia’. She is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College UK; Board Member for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and its EDI working group; and Founding Board Member of the Somatic Practice and Chronic Pain Network. At C-DaRE, she is currently Postgraduate Co-Lead with Dr. Simon Ellis; and also supports international visiting researchers.


Emma Jones

Emma Jones is a freelance dance artist, educator, researcher and Makaton Tutor based in Ormskirk, Lancashire in the North West of England. She is passionate about inclusive and creative dance, learning through dance, dance education and communication.

Emma achieved her BA (Hons) dance degree at Bretton Hall before moving to London to complete a postgraduate course at Trinity Laban. For 11 years Emma was based in London working for a range of regional, national and international organisations in both formal education contexts and community settings. This included teaching on behalf of the RADiate project; an RAD project in London for primary school aged SEN children. Emma continues to work for this project as the Research and Coordination Officer which involves collecting data and evidence from the project partners, compiling the annual report and distributing the outcomes of the project. During Emma’s time in London, she also studied for her Master of Teaching (Dance) through the RAD and the University of Surrey. Since re-locating back to the North West all of Emma’s independent work is delivered through her own organisation Splatter Dance.

Emma has been using Makaton as part of her dance practice for 16 years and qualified as a licensed Makaton Tutor 6 ½ years ago. She delivers a range of standardised workshops on behalf of the Makaton charity and since becoming a Tutor has been developing and delivering ‘Makaton for Dancers’; practical workshops for those who work in dance and arts settings to ensure resources are relevant to their needs.


Sandie Fisher

Sandie Fisher is a Choreographer, Academic, freelance Dance Artist and co-founder of dance theatre company Assault Events. Underpinning all her work is a belief in accessibility and excellence and the creative possibilities of collaboration. Sandie has worked extensively on national and international performance and participatory projects specialising in dance theatre for young audiences, alternative spaces and new audiences. Sandie has worked as a Lecturer in Higher Education for over twenty years, participating and leading on undergraduate dance courses at University of Leeds-Bretton Hall, De Montfort University, Ulster University and Cardiff Metropolitan University. As an academic practitioner, currently working in the Centre for Arts and Participation at the University of Cumbria, her work is exploring collaborative practice in support of health and wellbeing. Her project work has been shortlisted for an Educate the North Award, acknowledged for ‘best practice’ by Arts Council England and named as one of the top 100 ‘lifesavers’ health projects in the Made in Uni campaign.


Lizzie Fort

Lizzie was called to dance at an early age through the music of Kate Bush, Riverdance and Rage Against the Machine. She became a community dance artist-educator-researcher via the convoluted path of babysitter, dental nurse, waitress, cleaner, warehouse worker, PR consultant and sports massage therapist.

Currently occupied with being a mum and a Techne scholar, Lizzie is completing an AHRC funded PhD with Roehampton University. A teaching artist for 15 years, she has worked in school and community settings, with children, parents and elders, for Greenwich Dance, Magpie Dance and as Associate Artist and Trustee with Amici Dance Theatre Company. Since 2019, Lizzie has been leading dance with Greenwich Vietnam Women, and helping with gardening from time to time.

An academic for 10+ years, Lizzie is module leader on the MA/MFA Dance Leadership and Community Practice at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, with previous roles at Royal Academy of Dance and Canterbury Christchurch University.  Lizzie was co-researcher with Danielle Teale’s Collective IDentity project 2021-2022 and consulted on the ACE-funded ballet and disability research project, Dance Unstuck, 2017. She has written for Animated, Greenwich Dance’s Digital Stage, and the RAD’s Focus on Education.

pavleheidler, Michael Kaddu, Mary Pearson, Elvan Tekin and Carolina van Eps

We are developing a practice of improvising together live online, in remote collaboration between 4 different countries. Witnessed in Translation is a livestream project designed by Mary Pearson, live-mixed by creative technologist George Maund, facilitated by Ava Riby-Williams, and with creative evaluation by Aleasha Chaunte.

Our initial questions were : Which parts of our identities want to be seen? How does our self-perception change with who is seeing us? And how are we moved by seeing what might otherwise remain hidden, silent, or invisible? We shared personal stories which reflect lived experience of cultural displacement, translating story fragments into gestures, energetic states, camera play with objects, and screen images. Resulting livestream performances were viewed by online and live audiences at ‘watch parties’.

WITNESS is an online course in the style of a study group, which considers the space of ZOOM as an artistic one, and livestream as an emergent artform that changes our relationships, attention, and culture. With focus on witnessing, we discuss and share creative responses to the broadcast material. We consider how what we notice, or don’t notice, is particularly shaped by our lived experience, with the intention of building cross-cultural intimacy. Hosted by Independent Dance.

Image credit : screenshot from livestream performance Witnessed in Translation, pictured: Michal Kaddu and Elvan Tekin


Nandi Clarke-Coulibaly

Nandi Clarke-Coulibaly, is a 22 year old Undergraduate student of Dance and Drama at Edge Hill University, Lancashire UK, with experience in performing and working as a dancer, actress, model, and brand ambassador. Originally from Sussex, she now lives between Sussex and Basel, Switzerland. She has a love to perform and has been dancing on stage with London and Sussex Dance Academies since the age of two, participating in Dance Festivals throughout London and the Southeast of England. Nandi is on a continuous journey to become an outstanding professional in Performing Arts.