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Staff
Emma Baxter Creative Programmes Officer

Emma trained at the University of Strathclyde in Community Arts and specialised in theatre. Over the past 15 years, she has worked in heritage and arts education across the country with arts organisations such as Shape London and Writing East Midlands, Scottish industrial museums including the Titan Crane Clydebank and as a freelance artist.

When Emma isn’t working, you will most likely find her curled up with a good book, at the theatre watching a musical (with her son as an enthusiastic theatre buddy!) or sweating it out at Hot Yoga.

 

 

 

 

Ophelie Bile Communications & Data Coordinator

Ophelie studied Psychology at the University of Leicester to Postgraduate level. She has also been working in the events scene for over 4 years now, starting off as the Events Coordinator for the African Caribbean Society, where she developed and refined the skills that led her to this role at People Dancing.

She was drawn to this role because it combined skills from her events background and her experience with data handling at university and was particularly fond of People Dancing because of the importance the organisation places on inclusion and community.

In her free time, she's either watching a psychological thriller, anime, a cooking show or reality TV.

When her eyes aren’t glued to the telly, she’s most likely cooking, eating, reviewing a restaurant or learning a TikTok dance!

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Mary De-Wind Communications & Digital Engagement Officer

Mary is a De Montfort University Journalism alumni. She has always been interested in communications and the media. Mary also works as the operations director for a Leicester-based international events team.
 
Her main areas of interest include managing and influencing social media. Mary is a micro influencer who vlogs her daily life and reviews restaurants, clothing, and technology.
 
Mary was drawn to People Dancing because she likes to be involved in the community and wants to be productive.
 
Mary enjoys watching soap operas, particularly EastEnders!

 
 

 

Rosie Frances Website Manager

Rosie 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!

Louise Katerega Head of Professional Development

Louise 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 UK’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. You can read more about what this funding achieved here: Voice and Presence... the story so far.

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.

Image Louise Katerega. Photo: Natasha King at Clifton Photographic in the Bath studio.

Daryl Kirkland Membership Coordinator

Daryl has worked at People Dancing since 2012. 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.

 

 

 

 

Anna Leatherdale Executive Director, Qualifications

Anna has worked as a dance practitioner in a variety of participatory contexts over the last 20 years. Initially trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre she went on to develop her practice in a community context working with children and adults using a wide range of dance styles.

She has performed and delivered workshops in England, Denmark and Germany and currently works in partnership with older people’s groups throughout Devon.

Anna works part-time for People Dancing as the Executive Director, Qualifications and is currently leading the work on the People Dancing Professional Qualifications portfolio. She enjoys meeting People Dancing members at in-person training and online events.

 

 

 

Yaƫl Owen-McKenna Head of Health & Wellbeing

Yaël 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 Chief Executive

Chris is Chief Executive of People Dancing, the development organisation and membership body for community and participatory dance - a national and international network of 7,000+ dancers, teaching artists, community practitioners and organisations all committed to driving forward greater inclusion and equality in dance, the arts and civil society. First starting work with the organisation in 1992 as the administrator, after graduating from Leicester Polytechnic with a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts, he brings 30+ years' experience to this current role where he leads the organisation’s strategic development, partnerships, external relations and advocacy for the work, artists and organisations that People Dancing represent.

In 2011-12 Chris was seconded to develop the UK-wide programme of Big Dance 2012, part of the London 2012 Festival, and continued with this until the 10th and final Big Dance programme in 2016. He is a regular contributor to publications and journals and a speaker at events and conferences in the UK and internationally, has previously been a dance assessor for Arts Council England and serves on various advisory/reference groups including for the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Chris has served on several Boards of arts organisations including East London Dance, Déda and Creative Lives, and is currently a Board Advisor for The Centre for Classical Indian Dance and Chair of Dancefest, the community dance organisation for Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In 2024 Chris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University of Roehampton.

 

Shelley Trevelyan Membership Development Manager

Shelley 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 Head of Inclusion

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 then working across the organisation as Director of Engagement. Louise is now Head of Inclusion.

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