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Wednesday 24 - Thursday 25 July: Leading dance for Early Years

Led by Liz Clark, dance artist, Artistic Director: Turned On Its Head and Associate Artist: Early Years, People Dancing.

This is a two-day introductory course for dancers and other practitioners who want to gain skills, knowledge and experience in leading dance activities with Early Years children (aged 4 years and under). 

The course is designed to help you discover and develop the unique dancer, creative practitioner and teacher inside of you and enable you to not only lead a dance class for early years but also to develop your dance practice.

Both the online learning and the Summer School training is for those who want to rise to the challenge of working creatively, sensitively and respectfully with Early Years children and for people who want to create environments where babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers can explore with their whole bodies and all their senses.


The course includes:

  • Developing dance for Early Years using a blend of participation and performance
  • Exploration of improvisation, with the opportunity to make dance during the two days
  • Developing a tool kit of practical, creative dance ideas to work with children, as well as parents/carers as participants and partners
  • Creating inclusive dance spaces including working with hard to reach children and families such as looked after children and children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Tools for using intensive interaction in dance within participatory and performance settings
  • Exploring neuroscience and attachment informed practice specific to early years
  • Working hands on with groups of families and young children to explore dance and creativity.


Participant requirements:

Course participants will be required to have successfully completed the online learning programme - An introduction to leading dance for Early Years - and the related online assessment a minimum of 10 working days week prior to taking part in the course. If you are interested in taking this course at the reduced Summer School rate then please indicate so on your application form and we will contact you.


Application forms


“I’ve stretched, bounced, squished, wriggled and explored my brain and body for the last two days - it was inspiring from the first warm up. I feel like a bottle of pop shook up and ready to fizz everywhere with ideas.” Participant, Summer School 2017


“Liz’s approach to the training was brilliant. [It was] a good balance of practical/ experimental learning and theory.” Participant, Summer School 2017

Liz Clarke biography

Liz Clark trained as a ballet dancer until the age of 17, going on to graduate in Dance at the University of Surrey. Since then she has embraced the discipline of dance in its many forms, as an artist in residence, as a mother, researcher, as a Dance Development Officer and an educator. In 2010 she formed ‘Turned on its Head’ with dance artist Oksana Tyminska, which she now directs, giving her the opportunity to push the boundaries of performance for children under four and their families.

Turned On Its Head create inclusive, immersive experiences often working with hard to reach groups during the process. The joys of improvised dance and multi-sensory adventure are common threads woven throughout all of Liz’s work, from her participatory projects through to the performance work.

Turned On Its Head first touring show Shiny has enjoyed many accolades including being Dance Umbrella’s first orbital tour of London in 2014 and commanding a week-long residency at the Dome in Brighton as its Christmas show. Kate Cross, Artistic Director of The Egg, Bath described it as ‘accessible, cheeky and such a joy!’  The company’s second show Sponge toured nationally and internationally after its sell out success at The Barbican at Christmas 2016.  

In all of Liz’s work she aims to explore the adult/child relationship, which is often rich and complex, finding ways in which sensitive and empathetic child-led interaction can be modelled in performative environments. This interaction often leads to surprising dance theatre, where children's authentic responses are valued and showcased alongside the professional skills and experience of dancers. Liz is People Dancing's Associate Artist for Early Years (2018-2022) and is currently developing a National Network to support and develop outstanding Early Years dance practice in the UK. Liz blogs at and her work is also featured in the 'Inspire Me' films of Akram Khan's Big Dance Pledge 2016.