Dance and the Early Years
Why early years?
Since 1999 I have explored dance and movement with the early years. My practice isn’t exclusively in early years, it spans all ages but I've always been drawn to babies and toddlers. The experiences and development of an infant from pre-birth informs everything.
Within the early years there is such a range of ways to explore and deliver dance and movement, and for me, it’s a continuously evolving practice.
Creating safe connections with participants, whether it's a regular encounter or just once, is central to the work. When this occurs and we are in a movement relationship, I forget these young children are babies or toddlers, and simply see, and meet them, as my collaborators in dance.
Dance and early years frequently involves parents and carers, staff and volunteers and has extended, over many years, to fully inclusive intergenerational workshops for Ivy Street Family Centre, Hackney, the V&A museum, Wilderness Festival and at sheltered housing schemes.
I have enjoyed developing lengthy relationships (12 and 5 years) with two East London Nursery Schools where my work is deeply embedded and continuous.
I have been invited to contribute a chapter to an academic book, Language, Place and the Body in Early Childhood. Due to be published in 2024.
I led an introduction to dance and early years day for People Dancing's Summer Intensive 2023. I also contributed to the online training.
Click here to view a film made by Cai Tomos during my residency for the Acorn Project at Kay Rowe Nursery School.
Since January 2019 I have been dance artist in residence at The Magpie Project, a project for mums and under 5s suffering in temporary or insecure housing.
During the Autumn period of the pandemic 2020, we made 8 films for the families: www.themagpieproject.dance
These films continue to underpin so much of the training I share and deliver and continue to be a resource for the families.
I was invited to write a piece for People Dancing's Animated magazine. Read it here
My work is in partnership with Dance Art Foundation.
Since 2018 I have been an artist for Move Dance Feel, a project for women affected by cancer founded by Emily Jenkins.
This film was made during a summer intensive in 2019 by Alice Underwood.
In 2021 Emily and I collaborated on an event for People Dancing's Perspective's on Practice programme entitled Women Dancing With Women - reflecting on practice in specific contexts.
I am an associate artist for Rosetta Life. In collaboration with participants living with brain injury, artists and musicians, the project works towards sharings and performances to explore the benefits of the arts for those with neurological conditions.
I have led workshops for the Ambassadors; weekly sessions for patients at The Pulross Centre, Guys & St Thomas's Hospital; Accelerate - a project for people living with lymphedema based at St Joseph's Hospice; and ongoing sessions for patients at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery.
I presented this case study at the conference Stoke Odysseys: Performance Arts & Health: celebrating Hope and Recovery for Rosetta Life at Kings College, London in November 2018.
A few highlights
I have been fortunate to work for numerous organisations and collaborated with many artists, organisations and producers. If you would like to know more about my work, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
I am currently working alongside artist Cai Tomos at Chelsea & Westmister Hospital for their charity, CW+
For The Dance Network Association I have led early years, intergenerational and older adult workshops as well as numerous training days and workshops at conferences and events. Their programmes Active Familes and Active Start were both originally devised and led by me. For Active Start, London Borough of Barking & Dagenahm invited me to write an early years teacher's toolkit. Please contact me for further information.
This film was a collaboration with photographer Rachel Cherry and the participants of Re-Generation, The Dance Network Association's older adult programme.
I collaborated with Anita Wadsworth and Sophie Stanford of SLiDE at St Christopher's Hospice. We led workshops and co-created a solo with patients, which I performed at the event Living, Loving and Dying. The solo was also performed at the conference Facing Death Creatively in October 2016.
See the film made by Sophie Stanford about the project here