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Planning to study with us in 2018?


Research in Dance at the University is at a very exciting stage in its development as the interests of our dance researchers extends. These interests include dance performance through site-specific work to interactive installations;  film to post colonial theory, and dance history through to cultural studies and philosophy.

Our Dance Department has gained an international reputation in PhD studies through Practice as Research, and actively encourage applicants in this area of research practice.

The results of REF 2014  show the strength of our research culture:

  • 24% of the entry was classed as ‘world leading’
  • 50% of the ‘Impact’ component was classed as ‘world leading’
  • 20.9% of the ‘Outputs’ component of the entry was classed as ‘world leading’

Our focus on expanding our distinctive emphasis on Practice as Research, and on developing research in interdisciplinary work and new technologies was praised by the assessors.


Professor Jane Bacon has recently published a special edition of Dance and Somatic Practices Journal, ‘Authentic Movement: a field of practices’. The issue sets out to expand knowledge in the field of somatic practices about Authentic Movement and the many ways in which it is practiced and theorised. She continues to work as co-editor for Choreographic Practices Journal (intellect) producing cutting edge writing on choreographic practices that generate new ways of thinking and practicing. Her new projects include continued collaboration with Prof Vida Midgelow (Middlesex) on methodologies for practice-as-research in dance and movement (their join authored publication ‘Creative Articulation Strategies’ can be found in Choreographic Practices Journal, 2014, vol.5.2), an edited book on the work of Janet Adler (In Response: Janet Adler and the Discipline of Authentic Movement).


Cathy Childs’ project on student employability, funded by the Higher Education Academy was published in 2016. She was invited to give a presentation about the research to a conference in Birmingham and has now been asked to write a book chapter on the topic of experiential learning and how these skills are transferred to a wider context. 


Dr. Andrea Davidson is working on a book ‘Corporelaities and Technologies’.  She is discovering new emerging interfaces via remote surgeries; looking at new technologies and how technologies affect the physicality in space.


Virginia Farman is currently working on her practice-led PhD focused on choreography in non-theatre spaces and how the body is framed in a non-theatrical environment.  She is currently practising her solo ‘Dancers on Street Corners’, a solo about articulation and focussing on structure and composition. She has performed it in Chichester, Brighton and will be performing at University of Coventry, in Lewes and other venues during 2016-17.


Dr. Yael Flexer recently presented at the University of Chichester conference ‘Terror on Tour, ’organised by Andrew Wilford (Theatre) and Vicky Hunter (Dance).  During summer 2016 she will be running workshops in Israel and is currently running a project in North Kent schools inspired by Sandiland- Flexer’s latest production ‘Disappearing Act’.


Julia Hall is currently working on psychological safety of children with emotional problems in school and gender issues in primary schools.  JH is applying to do a PhD. She is giving a poster presentation in Malawi in September.  JH is working with an Archaeology Colony in Hants translating archaeological findings into movement.


Detta Howe’s work with Feldenkrais technique is now focussing on “allowing” in her dance practice and in her teaching practice. She is experimenting with different strategies to enable students’ “self-discovery”, bringing together elements of Feldenkrais and somatic awareness into her teaching and her choreography.  She will be returning to the studio in 2016-17 to develop her solo ‘Sometimes’.


Dr. Vicky Hunter is working on a new book with colleagues in Canada and New Zealand developing her research on site-specific dance practices. She has recently given a key-note presentation at the Georges Perec Conference, “Space and Place” and is collaborating with Leslie Satin (New York) on a book chapter in ‘Literary Geographies’ (due for publication 2016).


Jayne McKee is currently rooting her research in the area of the body’s fascia system.  She gave a presentation, summer 2015, at Dance and Somatics conference, University of Coventry.  She believes that by understanding the fascia system in our body will help injury prevention in dancers and encourage changes in the way we move, to move more efficiently.


Celena Monteiro is writing  a book chapter about Dancehall Queen competitions for a collection edited by Dr Sherril Dodds (Temple University, Philadelphia)  as well as getting near to completion of her PhD. She is also assisting Dr. Clare Parfitt on the research project ‘Dancing with Memory’.


Abigail Mortimer has completed a national tour of The Deluge late last year which she directed on her company Lîla Dance. The piece was devised in response to her research into immersive theatre and community involvement to rethink the experience of small-scale dance theatre for audiences and participants. She is adapting the work this summer for rural touring in 2016/17. Also this summer Abi is working with Stopgap Dance Company to research the possibilities of her choreographic practice on professional wheelchair dancers. Abi continues to develop her project with Colleague Carrie Whitaker on their studio- led research project which uses practices from Est Training to "agitate" the habits of their collaborative practices.


Dr. Ann Nugent is working toward the publication of her book ‘Forsythescapes’. She gave a talk in New York in May 2016 at the Society for Dance History Scholars international conference on William Forsythe. 


Dr. Clare Parfitt is approaching the end of a two-year AHRC-funded Leadership Fellowship project on the relationship between popular dance and cultural memory titled Dancing with Memory. Having hosted a series of interdisciplinary seminars at Chichester and the final project symposium at University of London in the spring, she is now working on her book Re-membering the Cancan: Popular Dance and Protean Memory. She will shortly begin working on an edited collection drawing on the network of popular dance and cultural memory researchers she has gathered during the project.


Natalie Rowland has recently been in London lighting the Baroque Festival using LED (light emitting diode).  She is researching how the use of LED lighting compliments mood resulting in a change in music with particular attention to Montiverdi Work Synergies.  Recent publications include: ‘Digital Futures and Cities of Today’ which can be found on the Pitchblack Facebook page and ‘Read or Follow’.  Her current PhD research in LED theatre lighting explores how LED light might reconfigure methods for working with theatre lighting lighting.


Sharna Travers-Smith is working with Occupational Therapists and special needs children within the context of the NHS looking at sensuality and the difference between sensuality and sexuality.  She is currently developing a practice-led research project (a solo dance) inspired by the endocrine system, working with Laban Space:  harmony and patterning and sacred geometry; she continues to work on what is meant by transpersonal somatics.


Fiona Wallis is researching the work of Alexander Munz. She is particularly interested in how we shift weight cross-laterally whilst executing ballet technique and how these shifts in weight embody and enhance ballet aesthetics and sense of alignment. She is looking at a “combining” of ballet technique and somatics to underpin her teaching and research, and how this combination of movement ideas can support all dance genres.


Carrie Whitaker has recently completed a national tour of The Deluge which is her latest production with her company Lîla Dance. She is entering a period of R&D developing The Deluge for a rural tour as part of National Rural Touring Forum. As part of this project Carrie will be delivering intensive residencies to rural communities. In addition Carrie is currently writing an online resource document on Lîla's approaches to choreography funded though a GFTA from ACE. Later this year she will deliver these strategies to a cohort of practitioners in a professional development residency. Carrie is also in the early stages of a research project in collaboration with colleague Abi Mortimer, exploring the multiplicity of identities adopted by dance practitioner both on and off the stage.


Dr. Marisa Zanotti has had a busy year with Pan’s People Project which is created in archive form. The Project reached over 5,000 people through social media and so she is now developing her interest in how we exist in online spaces. She is attending an artistic residency this summer in Aberdeen and will be working with Magnetic North. Find out more