The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
You are here:> Home > Blogs & Voices > Artistic courage under lockdown
Artistic courage under lockdown
Date posted: 05 June 2020
Associate Artist Louise Katerega in conversation with artists and People Dancing Members Jorja Follina and Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi talking about the benefits of a one to one with People Dancing and their very different experiences of dealing with lockdown at such short notice.



Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi is a London based dancer, teacher, choreographer and movement director working with interdisciplinary arts to develop intercultural performance. Maria da Luz worked in the original cast of The Lion King as ensemble and dance-captain working with choreographer Garth Fagan and director Julie Taymor. She has worked with companies including Kokuma Dance Theatre under the direction of Patrick Acogny, Jeanette Brooks, as well as, international and Portuguese choreographers including Meg Stuart, Vera Mantero e João Fiadeiro. Maria da Luz received the Trailblazers Fellowship and was short-listed for The Place Prize, 2004. Her work has been presented at venues such as The Place, Curve and Chisenhale Dance Space.

She has recently performed for The London College of Fashion, Jacky Lansley, visual artists Anthea Hamilton, Joan Jonas/Tate Live, Liz Glynn/Frieze Art Fair and Murat Adash. Maria da Luz was selected for Dance UK’s Dance Teaching Mentorship 2016, to continue developing her teaching practice further revisiting her rich professional background and finding new ways to resonate with the present. She delivers and facilitates sessions for a wide range of people from professional dancers, actors, to community groups including babies/parents, children, youth and older people.

As Associate Artist with Spare Tyre, she mentors and choreographs working with artists with learning disabilities. She regularly teaches for Greenwich Dance, TripSpace and The Place. Her current research into the relationship between body, spirit and identity has led her to working with Dance Research Studio, Urban Bush Women and Dr Sharon Ama Wray. Informed by this research, Maria da Luz is currently developing her solo A Tree Without Leaves, examining the meaning of womanhood in contemporary society, using dance, drawing and singing.

Photo credit:

Jorja Follina started dancing at the age of two and went on to perform and compete in ballet, jazz and lyrical festival categories across the South of England with the Gillian Cartwright School of Dance. In 2014 she moved from the Isle of Wight to Dundee in order to pursue a growing passion for contemporary dance, studying at The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. During her final year of training, she gained a position in the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland, touring Scotland and performing in Melbourne, Australia.

After graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Contemporary Dance Performance, Jorja was awarded a Bridge Award Internship with Scottish Dance Theatre in which she set up her community project, Re-Mind. Since then, she has been working as a freelance dancer and dance teacher, based in Edinburgh. Also, a trained fitness instructor, she enjoys performing regularly and teaching students of all ages, as well as training in aerial and crafting improvisational skills.

Photo credit: John White Photography.