The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
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>   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 feeling less clear about what that meant. This may or may not have influenced the career route he went on to follow. 


>   Ruth Bates Lee Director of Development

Ruth Bates Lee is the Director of Development at People Dancing and is responsible, with the Executive Director, for income generation, including fundraising. Ruth is also responsible for leading the organisations communications and marketing.

Ruth is a Dance and Drama Graduate from the University of Roehampton. She brings her knowledge and experience in a variety of roles to the organisation from management and administration roles at the Royal Ballet School and Central School of Ballet to running dance and arts programmes in community settings for Dance4 and Blaby District Council as well as leading the dance programme for The Brindley Arts Centre. Ruth set up and ran the Dance Development programme for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (2008-2011).

On behalf of People Dancing and as a freelancer Ruth has lead workshops in fundraising and development for dance artists and taught at Further and Higher education levels. Ruth is the co-author of People Dancing’s online learning programme, ‘Developing Income Streams for participatory Arts Practice’ and has lead business development surgeries and seminars at the People Dancing Summer School since 2014. Ruth is an experienced mentor and coach. In her spare time Ruth volunteers as a committee member for SideKick Dance Company and is currently Vice Chair of Aakash Odedra Company.

>   Emma Hayes General Manager

Emma Hayes is originally from London and it was whilst working at HSBC that a twist of circumstances led Emma to move to Leicester in 2003 and as a mature student complete a degree in Dance & Theatre at De Montfort University. Emma joined People Dancing (then Foundation for Community Dance), as the part-time administrator in 2006, and as the organisation grew, so did the job and this led Emma to become People Dancing's General Manager in 2010.

Having worked for HSBC, RBS and Wetherspoons prior to joining People Dancing, Emma has always been interested in dance and theatre and now puts her good organisational, financial and project management skills to good use both at People Dancing and as a freelancer. In her spare time Emma tends to her allotment and she likes to potter about, mostly defending the ground from weeds but occasionally growing the odd vegetable. A recent convert to running, Emma is a huge advocate of Parkrun and when not running can be found marshalling and cheering on those who are.








>   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.