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>   Charlie Ball Administration Assistant

A recent Criminology graduate from the University of Southampton, Charlie’s key interests lie in community engagement and rehabilitation. He was initially drawn to working with People Dancing as he has always been interested in community projects and how engaging with community events can be beneficial to people, both mentally and physically. 

He shares People Dancing’s values of inclusion, equality and diversity, and believes that people should have the opportunity to engage with dance – both as an activity to enable artistic and emotional expression, and as a way of bringing communities of people together. 





>   Yasmin Canvin Operations Director

According to a recent survey, Yasmin is considered to be a “senior” member of the arts workforce, having been in the profession for over thirty years. Her roles have included the Director of Leicester Print Workshop and Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, and a Curator at Angel Row and Bury St Edmunds galleries. 

She is currently the Operations Director at People Dancing, where she is responsible for the day-to-day financial and operational management of the organisation, aiming to put effective and efficient processes in place to support the work of the wider team. Her focus is working with the Executive Team to enable People Dancing to continue to develop in line with its mission and to assist with the growth and long-term sustainability of the organisation.  

This work sits alongside her ongoing freelance curatorial activity with partners including Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, the Seven Sisters Group, and the contemporary print sector.


>   Umika Chohan Network and Events Assistant

Umika graduated from Leeds Beckett University studying Creative Media Technology. She has always been involved in the creative arts industry, from taking Street, Ballroom and Kathak dance lessons to singing and playing the piano and even performing for the Mayor of Barnsley. 

She gained a passion for events from being Events Coordinator for Leeds Hindu Society at University.  

Her degree and experience have allowed her to view People Dancing events from a different perspective. Working with Director of Engagement, Louise Wildish, to support artists, conduct research and organise events, she hopes her research and data analysis allows People Dancing to reach and connect even more dance artists.




>   Stephanie Clark Administration & Finance Officer

Originally studying visual arts to postgraduate level, Stephanie has worked in the arts sector for over 20 years in various roles at galleries, museums, events and arts organisations.

While creating visual art remains her first love, she is also passionate about dance, fitness and wellbeing, particularly bellydance and aerial arts.

Stephanie was drawn to the role by People Dancing’s dance for people living with Parkinson’s work as her Mum lives with Parkinson’s and has benefitted from movement classes.




>   Rosie Frances Website Manager

Rosie Frances is the Website Manager at People Dancing and first worked with People Dancing (then the Foundation for Community Dance) as Assistant Administrator over 20 years ago.

Since graduating in dance from De Montfort University in 1994 Rosie has been continuously involved in the world of dance.

For seven years Rosie was a professional artist, performer, production and choreographic assistant – in physical theatre and release-based movement – touring and performing with various companies and artists around the UK.

Rosie also has extensive experience of educational dance and arts projects and has taught dance nationally, to people of all ages and experiences in schools, prisons, arts venues and community centres. Rosie particularly enjoyed working with children and young people and combined dance with youth work to encourage young people to physically and emotionally support themselves through creative activities.

Rosie now lives with her partner and eight-year-old son and enjoys walking, listening to vinyl, keeping house plants and of course – dancing!

>   Lindsay Jenkins Digital Programme Manager

Lindsay Jenkins worked with People Dancing as Programme Coordinator 2010-2014 and has returned regularly in numerous freelance roles since then. After Project Managing People Dancing’s ‘Summer School 2020: Reimagined for a different world’, Lindsay is delighted to continue managing the wider digital programme.

Lindsay is also a freelance dance practitioner, researcher and lecturer with over 12 years’ experience facilitating and supporting dance and arts programmes across the Midlands. 

Since completing a Master’s degree in Dance Science in 2016, Lindsay’s research interests have centred around psychological wellbeing and community dance, and recent projects have included the arts and health project 'Hear and Now', led by London's Philharmonia Orchestra, and the One Dance UK-commissioned 'Role and Impact of Freelancers in the UK Dance Sector' study. 

Lindsay lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a range of subjects, which have most recently included arts project management, dance psychology, safe dance practice, and wellbeing for performing artists.

Lindsay is also a qualified yoga teacher and has spent the last several years training in acroyoga and partner acrobatics in Leicestershire and beyond.

>   Louise Katerega Associate Producer for Change

Louise Katerega describes herself as a woman of mixed Ugandan and English heritage and has been a versatile contributor to the UK dance scene for over two decades.

She is especially acknowledged for her national and international development work in dance by, for and with disabled people.

In 2006 her company of cross-generational, culturally diverse, disabled and non-disabled professional dancers, Foot In Hand, made history at The Place Prize semi-finals with one of the first works featuring dancers with impairments. In 2012, she co-choreographed the inclusive dance aspect of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Sailing Events in Weymouth and was commissioned to create new works for the Olympic and Paralympic torch celebrations in Leicester.

Based in Leicester, she has enjoyed a broad portfolio career as a performer, teacher, choreographer and - now parenthood is in progress - increasingly, a consultant, strategic thinker, dramaturg and creative producer. 

She describes her role at People Dancing as follows:

“The Change I am attempting to  produce through this role and my association, as a still active freelance dance artist with a national and international ACE NPO, is toward better equity around who People Dancing employs, supports, develops and serves. It is a role I have been quietly growing into – or did it grow out of me? – at People Dancing since 2016, when, inspired by Urban Bush Women’s keynote speech at Serendipity - Institute for Black Arts and Heritage's conference that year, Chris Stenton suggested we apply for funds to work together to augment the voice and presence of women of the African Diaspora in community, educational and participatory dance. In Autumn 2020 People Dancing invested in employing me part-time in order to extend ‘Voice and Presence’ to include all global majority artists. I am beyond excited to continue our journey together which extends all the way back to membership in the mid-90s through serving on the board 2002-2009 and now move on to industry Change Making for the future.”

Louise trained at London Contemporary Dance School, Coventry University (Performing Arts) holds a first-class degree in Film and Literature from the University of Warwick and trained as a life coach. She is board adviser to Turned On Its Head Early Years Dance Theatre, a board member of ArtReach a multi- and outdoor arts company and NeSSIE, a children’s mental health charity. She is also trustee of ASSITEJ UK, one branch of a larger international network around arts for young audiences and temporarily co-opted as a board member of Phoenix Dance Theatre, the UKs leading Black contemporary dance company.

Photograph: People Dancing's International Conference, Glasgow. Photographer: Rachel Cherry

>   Daryl Kirkland Membership Administrator

Daryl Kirkland has worked at People Dancing since 2012 as Membership Administrator. He acts as a first contact for enquiries regarding membership services as well as providing administrative support to other projects within the organisation.

Daryl has a background in music and previously delivered composition and performance workshops in HMP and YOC settings as well as teaching in mainstream educational settings.
Daryl currently shares his time between working for People Dancing, as a working musician and as a massage therapist.





>   Yaël Owen-McKenna Project Director, Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s

Yaël Owen-McKenna trained at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and is a project manager, dance educator, academic. Yaël's work ensures all people can dance through drawing from their own experiences, their leadership, and their participation in democratic and co-created contexts.
Yaël has worked as a Relationship Manager at Arts Council England (Birmingham) with a portfolio including Dance and Disability. The role included engagement with several NPOs, independent arts organisations, artists, and companies. She has also held Senior Leadership roles as Head and Deputy Head of Service at Coventry Music Education Hub and Arts Service, developing several socially engaged initiatives designed to enable children and young people in creative dance and music making.
In April 2019 Yaël was appointed as Project Director to the development of Coventry Dance CIC a strategic dance organisation with and for the dance communities of Coventry and until May 2020 she was part-time Course Director for Dance at Coventry University.

Yaël is also project manager for Say Man Take Heart a programme of Movement, Poetry and Creative Writing with people who are users of the UK/USA Criminal Justice System. Developed through an artist residency in the USA, the project has most recently worked with participants in HMP Stafford. The project will further develop its international links in 2020/21.

Yaël also sits on the committee of the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund (LUTSF) and is a PhD researcher in disability dance in the context of Special School provision.

>   Chris Stenton Executive Director

Chris Stenton is Executive Director of People Dancing, and has worked in community and participatory dance since 1992. Chris leads on strategy and development, pioneering the organisation’s approach to partnership working both within the dance industry and with organisations from other artforms. He heads up a team of specialist Producers and Programme Directors who are focused on professional development, inclusive dance practices, public engagement and membership services for artists, teachers and organisations.

In 2011-2012 he was seconded to lead the UK programme for Big Dance 2012, part of the London 2012 Festival. Chris has written for several books, is a regular contributor to conferences in the UK and internationally and has served on various Boards, including the Voluntary Arts Network and East London Dance.

Chris graduated from Leicester Polytechnic with a degree in performing arts in 1992 and has worked at People Dancing (and its previous incarnations) since then in various roles. Chris says this feels simultaneously like a lifetime and a blink of an eye - both in good ways; no two years have ever been the same. Chris has a distant memory of taking part in dance sessions, aged 7 or 8, led by one of the early Dance Animateurs. He remembers a ripple of excitement at ‘the Dance Animateur coming to school’ but also feeling less clear about what that meant. This may or may not have influenced the career route he went on to follow. 


>   Shelley Trevelyan Membership Development Manager

Shelley Trevelyan began her time at People Dancing (then the Foundation for Community Dance) in the 2000's, helping to mail out membership resources. A few years - and more than a few changes - followed, which saw Shelley into her current role as Membership Development Manager.

Shelley is People Dancing's go-to person for membership services, making sure that the Members receive support and information.

Shelley is also a musician and teaches singing and guitar.





>   Louise Wildish Director of Engagement

Louise has worked in the arts for over 25 years working in diverse spaces from theatres, galleries and museums through to prisons and secure units and with numerous organisations spanning over a freelance career. Her roles have included actor, director, dramaturg, education manager, associate artist and producer.

Louise joined People Dancing in 2013 as Producer, Deaf and disabled People – working on the successful 11 Million Reasons photography exhibition and more recently working across the organisation as Director of Engagement.








>   Anand Bhatt (Artist Director and CEO, Dance City)

Anand Bhatt is a dance enthusiast and producer from Leicester. With an interest in all things Michael Jackson and Bollywood, he stumbled upon contemporary dance in 2007 when he was dancing in a Kathak show along with dancer Aakash Odedra. As Aakash and Anand found their creative talks and dreams aligned, the clearer it also became that Anand was not in fact a dancer. He started to help out Aakash with his shows, and ended up as his producer.

Instantly falling in love with contemporary dance but not having seen much of it, Anand has remained focussed on gathering experience and skills by intensively supporting Aakash. The first project ‘Rising’ featured commissions by Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant. Aakash has since gone on to be one of the most globally toured contemporary dancers living in Britain over the past five years. Commercially Anand ran a studio space in Leicester, and the resident Bollywood dance school Desi Masti was a force for South Asian dance in the Midlands. In 2014, Anand closed Desi Masti (as Aakash’s work was getting too busy) and signed a franchise with Aakash’s Alma Mater – ‘Shiamak’ the world leader in Bollywood Dance. Anand was also artistic director of MJ Timeless, a summer residency show at Blackpool ‘s Globe Theatre which featured an international award winning cast and the show was ravely reviewed.

In 2014 Anand was accepted on the Step Change programme and took on a placement at London Festival ‘Dance Umbrella’ where his enquiries included 1) how can I upscale my work from small scale to larger scale and 2) Can I stay in the Leicester area, and still be considered world class, and thereby changing the perception of the place. Anand achieved this ‘upscaling’ challenge when Dance Umbrella assigned Anand to work with Marcos Morau’s La Veronal at Sadler’s Wells and the subsequent year working with Aditi Mangaldas Company touring to The Barbican, Warwick Arts Centre, The Lowry and Curve. His idea of placemaking saw him heavily focus on ‘Diwali’ - the Festival of lights - as an opportunity for building quality and he is advocating for this festival to become a world-class festival. Anand’s other interests include the possibility of getting more audience members from all communities and how his learning in South Asian arts can be applied more broadly to mainstream projects.

Anand formed Aakash Odedra Company with Aakash in 2011, and in 2016 formed their new structure Leicester Dance Theatre Limited which brought together their various strands of activity under one structure. In 2018 this new structure was awarded NPO status by Arts Council England and is the highest new entry for any dance company in the country.

Dance City, the North East’s leading development organisation for dance, appointed Anand as its new Chief Executive and Artistic Director in July 2020.

Anand Bhatt. Photographer: Glen D’Mello

>   Paul Kaynes, Vice Chair (Chief Executive, National Dance Company Wales)

Paul Kaynes has been Chief Executive of National Dance Company Wales since February 2015. In that time the Company has toured to new places in Wales, the UK and overseas, diversifying its programme and offering new ways for people to dance themselves. Prior to this, Paul was Director of Creative Programmes at the Birmingham Hippodrome, and from 2008 to 2012 he was the West Midlands Creative Programmer for London 2012, commissioning dance and cross-artform programmes; over three million people took part.

For twenty years he worked in cultural marketing and audience development – for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warwick Arts Centre and as Chief Executive of Audiences Central, the cultural audience development agency for the West Midlands. His aim is to inspire existing and new audiences with the power of dance, sharing dance made in Wales with the nation and the rest of the world. He was Chair of the board of Motionhouse for 3 years, and is a board member of People Dancing – the UK’s community dance foundation, and of Dancefest, the dance agency for Worcestershire and Herefordshire. 

Paul Kaynes. Photographer: Mark Douet


>   Dr Gillie Kleiman (Artist)

Dr Gillie Kleiman is an artist. Her work measures its distance from dance and choreography, manifesting in performances, texts, pedagogical activities and other events, including a long practice of community dance. Gillie's activities take place in the fields of dance and live art and sometimes in related disciplines, including in venues and festivals such as Sadler's Wells, SPILL Festival, Fierce Festival, Dance Umbrella, Nottdance, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art amongst many others.

Gillie holds a BA in Dance and Culture, an MA in Performance and Creative Research and a PhD in Dance Studies; the latter focused on the post-work potentials of choreography with non-professional performers through practices of performance-making and curation. She received danceWEB scholarships in 2008 and 2013, received an Artsadmin Artist’s Bursary in 2012-3, and was part of Sadler’s Wells’ first Summer University cohort in 2011-2014. She is currently an associate artist at Dance4 and a Lecturer in Dance at Leeds Beckett University.

Gillie lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Dr Gillie Kleiman. Photographer: David Wilson Clarke.

>   Carolyn Lappin, Vice Chair (Executive Director, Y Dance)

Carolyn Lappin has been Executive Director at YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) since 2002. YDance is the national dance organisation for children and young people in Scotland, working across the country in three operational areas – Dance Participation, Education and Talent Development.

She graduated with a degree in Politics and Economics from Glasgow University in 1982, and began working in the arts in marketing and box office at the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow. From 1984 until 2001 she was General Manager with the Scottish Youth Theatre also managing the Old Athenaeum Theatre in Glasgow for SYT. 

Carolyn has experience in touring theatre and dance, having been Administrator for Winged Horse Touring Productions, IPB Productions and Spontaneous Combustions, and she was Chair of the Independent Theatre Council in Scotland from 1996 – 1998 and a member of the UK ITC Board of Directors. She is currently Chair of Surge, a company which develops street arts, physical theatre and circus in Scotland.




>   Louise Marshall (Producer)

Louise Marshall has been professionally involved in the world of participatory and community dance for over 25 years. Building on her own experience of community projects in Liverpool, she went on to work as a free-lance dance artist in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, delivering projects that included in specialist hospitals, adult education centres, schools, care homes and village halls.

Since 2001 Louise has led on dance engagement at Eden Court in Inverness. As well as regular classes within the venue, she has developed and delivered Highland-wide projects for all ages and abilities.

Consequently, she has been able to Charleston at Dunvegan, Salsa in Fort William, flashmob at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and bring hundreds of people together to perform on the Empire Stage as part of The Big Dance Show.

Current projects include Dance for Parkinsons; a multi-generational and inclusive Community Dance Company; developing young talent with the Eden Court Young Dance Company and SQA Higher Dance qualification; creating performance work with local immigrant communities.

Louise is currently in her final year of a MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  

>   Dr Ruth Pethybridge (Senior Lecturer, Dance, University of Falmouth)

Dr Ruth Pethybridge is a choreographer, facilitator and researcher. She has delivered dance in diverse settings with all ages: from babies to the elderly and everything in between. Her socially engaged practice emphasises creativity in choreographic processes, finding ways to form people's unique choices and ways of moving into choreographic work and blurring the lines between social gathering and performance. She joined Falmouth University as a lecturer in 2013 and completed her practice based PhD on concepts of community in cross-generational dance in 2017.

Ruth regularly works as a choreographer, dramaturg and researcher on choreographic projects, most recently with renowned choreography Rosemary Lee on a movement installation on Par beach, Cornwall commissioned by CAST. Previous projects have included working with Charlie Morrissey and Anjali Dance Company, as well as for Pegasus Theatre, and in roles such as education coordinator for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company.

In 2008 Ruth facilitated the first Age Inclusive National College for Community Dance course for People Dancing and authored the corresponding handbook. In 2016 People Dancing also published the teaching resource Any Age, Any Body, Any Dance co-authored by Ruth with Cecilia Macfarlane for national distribution. Ruth's research interests center on the politics of participation, dance and culture, social dancing and embodiment.


>   Dylan Quinn, Vice Chair (Artistic Director, Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre)

Dylan Quinn has worked as a professional dance artist for over 17 years. He created Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre (DQDT) in 2009 to further develop his choreographic work. Dylan trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, England.

Upon completing a BA Performing Arts Dance Degree Dylan went on to work with a number of different companies for productions in London festivals Resolutions and Spring Loaded.

Dylan worked for several years with Ludus Dance Company and it was during this time that he further developed his interested in creating work that says something about the world within which we live.

In 2001 Dylan relocated to Spain to undertake an MA in Peace and development Studies at the Universtad Di Cataollina. Upon returning to Northern Ireland Dylan worked as a lecturer on a Peace and Community Development course in Sligo and became Artist in Residence with Fermanagh District Council.

In 2009 Dylan and Dance Manager Hannah Curr established DQDT and since then DQDT has established an extensive programme of community and education work across Fermanagh and beyond.

Dylan Quinn, TOST. Photographer: Luca Truffarelli.

> Dr Sue Smith, Chair (Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, BA (Hons) Dance & Choreography, Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, Falmouth University)

>   Iona Waite (Education Officer, ACE Dance and Music)

Iona Waite began attending dance classes at her local community centre at the age of 9; a year later she joined ACE Youth and has been an integral member of ACE dance and music ever since.

Following a foundation course at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, she went on to achieve a BA Hons at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2011 Iona was successfully awarded with a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to become a Dance Fellow (apprentice) with ACE Dance and Music, on completion of her fellowship Iona was offered a full-time position as Education Officer.

Iona leads on all aspects of education and outreach for the company, delivers ACE’s thriving weekly class programme for children aged 2 – 11 as well as teaching and managing the rehearsal and tour schedule of ACE Youth.

Iona is an integral member of ACE’s professional dance company and has been instrumental in the creation of their innovative work. She has trained with a number of prestigious companies including Josette Baiz- France, Alvin Ailey-New York, Zfin Malta Dance Ensemble and Flatfoot Dance Company-South Africa.

Iona Waite. Photographer: Brian Slater.

>   Ruby Wolk (Ballet Senior Manager, Learning and Participation, Royal Opera House)

Ruby Wolk trained in applied theatre at Central School of Speech and Drama and completed an MA in dance studies at Roehampton University, with a specialism in the social impact of community dance practice. With twenty years of experience in the dance and community arts sectors, Ruby has previously worked at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and English National Ballet.

She joined the Royal Opera House as Ballet Learning and Participation Manager in 2015 and was promoted to Ballet Senior Manager in 2020. She leads on the learning and participation programme for The Royal Ballet, an innovative and diverse portfolio of talent development and outreach projects with national and international reach, to increase access to and deepen engagement with ballet.





>   Catherine Young (Artistic Director, Dawns i Bawb)

Catherine Young started dancing at the age of 11 and then went on to gain a BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance Degree from De Montfort University, Leicester. She has worked as a Community Dance Artist and Choreographer for the past 16 years.

Community Dance is Catherine's greatest passion and nothing fascinates or pleases her more than witnessing people of all ages and abilities expressing themselves through movement. She firmly believes that anyone can dance and loves that the profession offers the opportunities for people to discover this.

As Artistic Director of Dawns i Bawb (DiB), the community dance organisation for North West Wales she writes in her Animated article Response-Relationship-Engagement-Dance about how it is unique being part of one of the very few dance organisations in Wales working primarily through the Welsh language.




Our patron: Sue Hoyle OBE
Honorary Life Members
The Board of People Dancing was delighted to announce, at the event, the awarding of 30 Honorary Life Memberships to mark People Dancing's 30th anniversary, in 2016. The awards were made to some of the people who have made an exceptional contribution to community dance and People Dancing since 1986.

The 30 community dance pioneers for 30 years are:
Diane Amans  Sujata Bannerjee  Ken Bartlett  Carol Brown 
Dr Susanne Burns  Kate Castle  Sanjeevini Dutta Scilla Dyke MBE 
Fergus Early OBE  Kiki Gale MBE Karen Gallagher MBE Beverley Glean
Gil Graystone  Linda Jasper MBE  Veronica Jobbins  Isabel Jones 
Rosemary Lee Prof Veronica Lewis MBE  Royston Maldoom OBE Marie McCluskey MBE
Cecilia Macfarlane  Tamara McLorg Jane Mooney Judith Palmer
Philip Piggin Bisakha Sarker MBE Wolfgang Stange Jayne Stevens
Christopher Thomson Ruth Till MBE


The People Dancing Board intends to announce more Honorary Life Memberships in the future.