You are here:> Home > About Us
About us

Formed in 1986, People Dancing supports a UK-wide and international network of members - dancers, teaching artists, community practitioners and organisations - who make great dance happen in all its diversity.

Our membership reaches more than 4,500 dance professionals worldwide. We are inspired by a firm belief that everyone has a right to experience dance.

Our organisational values

The way we work at People Dancing is defined by our organisational values. These are to strive for:

  • Excellence – in participation and progression in dance for all
  • Inclusion – always at the heart of what we do and why we do it
  • Collaboration – where actions give greater strength and voice to all involved
  • Openness – in all our working practices.

Our artistic values

These underpin our activities and the way we champion equality, diversity and inclusion. Our artistic values call on us:

  • To place people, their aspirations, rights and choices at the centre in providing opportunities for individuals and communities to operate creatively and artistically
  • To respect everyone’s right of equal access to quality experiences in dance of all kinds
  • Not to be limited by form, style or convention and to embrace digital possibilities
  • To contribute positively to people’s health and wellbeing, resilience, social relationships and creative learning
  • To develop dance as an artform, working with highly skilled and professionally developed dance artists and practitioners.


Find below a set of definitions which help to underpin the Professional Code of Conduct at People Dancing.

What is community dance?

Community dance is about community dance artists working with people. What makes it ‘community dance’ as distinct from other kinds of participatory dance activity, is determined by:

  • The contexts in which it takes place (where, with whom and why)
  • Approaches to dance practice that are informed by a set of beliefs and philosophies
  • The values that it embodies and promotes. 

Community Dance is for anyone and everyone

Community dance creates opportunities for people to access quality experiences in dance irrespective of where they live, their age, gender, sexuality, race, disability, educational attainment or economic circumstance. Participants do not necessarily have aspirations to work professionally in dance, but it is recognised to be a valuable and inclusive route to working in dance professionally.

Community dance happens anywhere and everywhere

Community dance takes place in a range of settings each with a specific set of conditions, with a range of employers, but usually happens outside of statutory education and training settings, or professional performance contexts. It is often self-financing, but often receives subsidy in the form of grants from funding organisations.

Community dance includes many kinds of dance, dances and dancing

Community dance is not confined to any specific type of dance and is concerned with engaging people creatively and safely in a dance style, or exploring dance ideas and forms of their own. It can involve creating dance for performance, and is centrally concerned with the experience of dancing and the process of making dance, and includes many ways of ‘participating’ - learning, making, performing, watching and talking about dance.

Community dance is led by highly skilled, professional dance practitioners

Some dance professionals who work in community dance choose to call themselves community dance artists or practitioners; others ‘animateurs’, dance leaders or simply dance artists, with no reference to the word ‘community’. Some work full-time in community settings; others combine their work in community dance with professional dance activities in other contexts such as dance lecturing and performing.

Community dance can:

  • Contribute to the development of dance as an artform, and support the artistic development of professional and non-professional dancers
  • Impact positively on people’s health and wellbeing, their personal motivation and their social relationships
  • Provide people with an important focus for their lives, overcome barriers to participation and enhance people's sense of community
  • Offer people new ways of relating to other people, based on respect and valuing difference
  • Enhance the quality of relationships between people, their communities, their dancing and their dances
  • Make a positive contribution to wider social change, and artistic and learning agendas.




Community dance artists, teachers and leaders providing and supporting community dance share a set of values about people, society, art, creativity, learning and the world we live in. These values are central to their work, informing and guiding what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.

Community dance artists, teachers and leaders believe that:

  • All people have the right to have creative and expressive lives through the medium of dance: to choose dance and to choose why, how and with whom they dance
  • Everybody has the capacity to dance, express themselves and make meaning through dance and that by engaging with it, every individual has a creative and powerful contribution to make to their communities in a safe, supportive environment
  • To operate as artists do - with an artist's questions, perspectives, intuitions, feelings and responses; to make sense of and create meaning in the world - is of itself a positive, empowering and humanising activity for people to engage in
  • Individuals' lives and their experience of being in a community can be changed for the better when they are connected to dance experiences over which they have ownership, and through which they achieve a sense of belonging
  • Dance can contribute to the personal and social development, and the health and wellbeing of individuals in society
  • When it actively engages people as creative participants, dance can help build stronger communities and enhanced engagement with wider social agendas.

Community dance practice that embodies these values is about:

  • People enjoying dancing, expressing themselves and their life experiences creatively, learning new things, and connecting to each other, their communities and cultures
  • An equal concern for people and art: providing high quality dance experiences, and having a belief in participants that enables them to achieve high quality outcomes in which they can take pride and have a sense of achievement
  • Challenging aesthetic norms and broadening perceptions of who can dance, what dance is, and what it might be
  • Providing opportunities to explore the art of dance and to have critical engagement with their own dance and the dance of others: asking artistic questions, seeking solutions and reflecting on their dance experiences
  • Offering opportunities to gain new skills and insights: learning about dance, in dance and through dance
  • Placing people, their aspirations, rights and choices at its heart: recognising the individuality of participants and working with them in ways that support them to find their own dance ‘voice’
  • Creating a ‘safe’ space where individuals can fulfil their human and creative potential, where they feel positive about themselves and are respected and valued by others, enabling them to grow, develop, and build positive and active relationships within their wider communities.
People Dancing Summer Intensive 2024
Courtesy of Empowering Dance (archive of the project).
Online and in-person events running 07 - 28 July 2024
Join us for one or more days of People Dancing's Summer 2024 Intensive. This mix of inspiring courses with artists from the leading edge of community and participatory dance is a chance for you to learn, experiment and reflect with like-minded colleagues.
Approaches to Dance with Older People Qualification
People Dancing Summer School. Photo: Rachel Cherry.
The Level 4 Certificate Approaches to Dance with Older People is a single unit qualification that introduces dance artists to key issues that may affect older people who participate in dance.
Approaches to Dance for Early Years Qualification
‘Vitolda Klein’ – Vitolda Klein (Unsplash)
The Level 4 Certificate Approaches to Dance for Early Years is a single unit qualification that introduces dance artists to key issues that may affect the delivery of dance sessions for children aged 4 years and under.
Risk Assesment Qualification
The Risk Assessment for Participatory Arts Practitioners - Level 2 Award is a single unit qualification which requires you to develop your understanding of the processes involved in a risk assessment for participatory arts activities.
The single most important thing we do
Claire Pring, People Dancing's Summer Intensive 2023. Photo: Rachel Cherry.
Whilst attending People Dancing's Summer Intensive, Dance Specialist, Claire Pring took some time to step back, view her practice and to mull, consider and ask herself some big questions.
Support People Dancing's work with a donation
People Dancing Summer School. Photo: Rachel Cherry
Please enable us to continue our vital work by making a donation online
A choreography of parenting
Anita Clark.
Anita Clark, Director of The Work Room in Glasgow, Scotland, frames the voices of parent-artists contemplating or navigating the complexities of resuming their practice alongside the care and raising of children.
F-ing Good Zine
F-ing Good Provocation is a zine (project as well as a practice) that celebrates the 20 artists of East and Southeast Asian diaspora involved, who live, create and contribute to the vibrant arts landscape of the UK and beyond.
Read, Watch & Listen: Films
11 Million Reasons to Dance, inspired by Chicago. Photo: Sean Goldthorpe
People Dancing have been involved in making films for 20 years - find some of them here.
Jobs and opportunities
People Dancing in the Summer. Photo: Rachel Cherry.
Here you can browse jobs and opportunities in community and participatory dance.
People Dancing Membership
People Dancing Summer School. Photo: Rachel Cherry
Membership of People Dancing is open to all who support, engage with or have an interest in community and participatory dance. People Dancing Membership reaches more than 4,500 dance professionals worldwide.
Online learning courses
People Dancing's International Conference, Glasgow. Photo: Rachel Cherry
These online learning courses address a range of subjects that community dance practitioners may wish to learn more about providing dance practitioners with a chance to learn at their own pace, at a time and in a place to suit themselves.

Company details

  • People Dancing is the trading name of the Foundation for Community Dance
  • Registered Charity no. 328392
  • Company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales no. 2415458
  • VAT no. 109056137
  • Registered office: LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE.

Our funders