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Dance - Research informed

Dance imageOur research is part and parcel of our teaching here at York St John. Many of the modules studied by Dance students have been informed by the research work of our team of experienced dance teachers and academics.

For example, there's Professor Christy Adair's pioneering work in developments in contemporary dance in relation to gender and ethnicity. Her recent work on dance in East Africa means that students at York St John will get an opportunity to see examples of artistic practice which challenges gender and ethnic typology. Through choreographic footage and in-depth interviews unavailable anywhere else, students can gain an insight into these exciting new developments.

In addition, there is a specific module that allows students to collaborate with expert choreographers who have developed research and practice in performing in non-traditional venues. Many YSJ graduates have incorporated this learning into their own work as community dance practitioners.


Elaine Harvey

Elaine is currently Head of Programme for Dance. She initially trained in Performance Studies, focusing on integrated approaches to choreography and live art, before completing an MA in Choreography.  She has worked for over ten years as a community dance practitioner within a variety of settings and has an active interest in creating work with people who have not trained in dance.  She has worked with and taught groups of all ages, often acting as subject specialist in both the private and public sector.  She has worked extensively with local authorities as part of several cultural development programmes designed to widen access and participation to performance arts.  Her interests include the use of autobiographical material as choreographic methodology and performance, site-specific work and community dance practice which explores the points at which politics intersects and shapes the art-making process. 


Christy Adair

Christy is Professor of Dance Studies at York St John University. She has taught on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Hull University, Leeds University and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She has facilitated dance and performance projects and writes for a range of magazines and journals. Her research interests developed in 'Women and Dance: sylphs and sirens' (Macmillan, 1992) continue to focus on gender and ethnicity in relation to dance studies and performance. Her book 'Dancing the Black Question: the Phoenix Dance Company Phenomenon' (Dance Books, 2007) offers a critique of issues related to contemporary performance. An outcome of this research was her CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) Teaching Fellowship which offered the opportunity to apply some of this research to new modules. 

Christy Adair was granted an AHRC Research Grant bid to produce a publication entitled: British Dance and the African Diasporas 1946-2005. Christy is Co-Investigator working alongside Prof. Ramsay Burt at De Montfort University. The Collaborators are Yorkshire Dance, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Dance Exchange, Birmingham and International Slavery Museum, Liverpool.


Daliah Toure

Daliah trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, graduating in 2006. She has worked with Motion Manual, Florence Peake, Rachel Dean, Kathinka Walter and visual artist Aldo Tambellini; gaining extensive experience in multi-disciplinary collaborations and site specific work. With a particular focus on improvisation in performance,  Daliah is currently studying towards a Masters degree at the University of Leeds. Having gained a degree in Photography at Nottingham Trent University in 2000, her interest in other art forms is always present in her work, bringing an eclectic approach to movement and choreography. http://www.daliahtoure.wordpress.com/


Nicola Forshaw

Nicola recently completed a BA in Performance: Dance followed by an MA in Applied Theatre at York St John before joining the Faculty of Arts as a Lecturer in Dance. Before turning to the academic side of dance, she performed extensively in dance theatres in Europe and more recently with Ascendance Rep on site specific projects in Yorkshire. Her research interests include the use of dance as a mental health intervention and she currently leads the Converge Dance project, mentoring students in community dance practice in the context of mental health. She teaches in a range of community settings and was recently granted an UnLtd award for social entrepreneurs for her company Access Dance.




Visiting Lecturers include:

James Jackson 

Trained in Theatre at Bretton Hall and Contemporary Dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, (NSCD) James was awarded the NSCD performance and Creative achievement prize 2007. His choreographic work has been toured nationally and internationally and has been described as “unsettling...beautiful....and very cool”. It was through his dance training that James discovered Pilates and has found a method that assists his dance technique and has greatly improved his mobility, strength, balance, body awareness and understandings of anatomy and bio mechanics. He continued to attain Pilates Instructor accreditations from the Pilates Institute, London in 2008 and Stott Pilates in 2009. James is continuing his teacher training with Polestar Pilates. James also trains students in Dance and Pilates at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds and teaches studio and reformer Pilates for Leeds Pilates Place in Kirkstall, Leeds.


Edward Lynch 

Edward was a founder member of Phoenix Dance Company (1981-1993) performing on national and international stages. He also worked with Rambert Dance Company, Northern Ballet Theatre and Aditi and choreographed memorable works such as Nightlife at the Flamingo (1983) which was performed on the South Bank Show. He was Artistic Director of RJC Dance (1994 – 2007), where he directed and produced touring dance productions and integrated workshop programs such as Young Men Dancing (1999) and Shack out Too (2002). He has lectured in Dance in England and the Netherlands and was acknowledged for his continual contribution to dance by an invitation from her Majesty the Queen to the Royal Academy Awards in London (2002). Edward was the Dance Consultant for the Arts and Culture team for the City of York Council (2006 - 2011) at present he teaches on the dance degree at York St John University and is also developing a performing arts ministry as a Founder and Co - Director of KPM (2011) which adds a dynamic dimension to his creative and professional profile.


Image provided courtesy of Roshana Ruben-Mayhew.