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Dance advisors

Steven Brett
Jean Cameron
Ellie Carr
Catherine Cassidy
Laura Clark
Lee Fisher 
Dawn Hartley
James MacGillivray
Jennifer McLachlan
Janice Parker
Michael Popper
Sara Schena
Ashley Smith Hammond
Lesley Smith

Steven Brett

Born in Australia, Steven trained as a dancer at the Victorian College of Arts and the Australian Ballet School.  He joined NDTII under Jiri Kylian in 1986.  In 1988 he joined Rambert Dance Company under Richard Alston, dancing there for 10 years.  He became a rehearsal director under Christopher Bruce being appointed the Associate Artistic Director in 2000, a position he continued to hold after the appointment of Mark Baldwin as Artistic Director.  As well as sitting on the senior management team planning the artistic and strategic goals of the company, his responsibilities also covered all aspects of maintaining and rehearsing the full repertoire; dancers scheduling and health; the public face of the company including interviews; and all liaising with artistic partners (choreographers, designers, technical team, marketing).

In 2004 Steven joined the British Council as a Drama and Dance Projects Manager covering the geographical areas of Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southern Africa.  Responsibilities for the job included advising and managing a diverse range of projects from capacity building projects to large scale showcases for dance, new writing, live art, physical theatre, outdoor performance in the UK in partnership with festivals and producing venues.

Jean Cameron

Jean Cameron is the Producer for Glasgow international Festival of Contemporary Visual Art (the Gi Festival).  On an occasional basis she develops independent initiatives as The Arts Practice, which instigates projects that are “practice” led rather than artform led, spanning dance and performance, discursive events and interactive audio works, the most recent of which being her choreographic residency “Vote with Your Feet” at DanceBase in October 2007.

In 2006, Jean was awarded an inaugural Creative Producer’s Bursary award from the Scottish Arts Council and she was a core member of Gray’s School of Art’s Group working with the seminal artist Suzanne Lacy on Arts Practice, Public and Policy in 2007.

Jean’s freelance portfolio spans live art, contemporary dance, theatre and visual arts, including project manager for Selective Memory: Scotland & Venice 05, Scotland’s national presentation at the Venice Biennale; Arts Programmer at The Arches; co-ordinator for the Dance Producers’ Network Guardians of Doubt and producing a range of Scottish artists at the Eccentrico theatre festivals in Turin, including Al Seed, Highway Diner, Dudendance Theatre and Stillmotion.

Jean has also worked as Dance and Performance Programmer at CCA and as Programme Manager for the New Territories and NRLA festivals, as programme co-ordinator for Dance Productions and festival administrator for Scottish Youth Dance Festival.  She has worked on projects with a range of internationally acclaimed artists including Saburo Teshiguwara, Fabrik Potsdam, Derevo, Lone Twin and Bock & Vincenzi.

Ellie Carr

Ellie began dancing with Tracey Hawkes in Spring Lothian Youth Dance Company aged 15.  She trained at De Montfort University, Leicester and London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) and has a BA (Hons) degree in Contemporary Dance.  She was the founding editor of the LCDS magazine: which was good while it lasted. After college she taught contemporary and creative dance to adults and children in Edinburgh and Lothians and further developed an early interest in dance film, working on projects with Katrina McPherson, Steve Hooper and Scottish Youth Dance Festival.  She was lucky to work briefly with Morag Deyes and Cindy Sughrue at Edinburgh’s Dance Base in its original Assembly Rooms' home.

Following injury she turned to writing and quite unintentionally began an alternative career. She began at the List (Glasgow & Edinburgh Entertainments Guide) writing dance reviews and was somehow turned into a journalist by then Editor, Kathleen Morgan.  From 1994 to 1998 she worked on staff at The List, as Assistant Editor, Dance Editor/Critic and whatever else was thrown her way. During this time she also wrote on dance and general features for Sunday Times Scotland, The Guardian, Company magazine amongst others and appeared regularly on BBC Radio Scotland’s arts review show The Usual Suspects as both presenter and contributor.

Following maternity leave she worked on Scotland on Sunday as Fashion and Lifestyle Editor, Associate Editor (Spectrum magazine) and then Arts Editor (Seven magazine)

Between 2001 and 2007 she worked freelance as dance critic for the Sunday Herald and as a features journalist for a wide variety of publications.  These included the Sunday Herald, The Herald, Sunday Times Scotland, The Independent, Metro, The Sunday Tribue (Ireland), The Guardian, Edinburgh Festivals magazine, Dance Europe, Scottish Ballet (magazine).  She also worked regularly for BBC Radio Scotland as a contributor on The Radio Cafe, The Fred MacAulay Show, The Gary Robertson Show.

From 2007-2008 she worked as Marketing & Development Manager for Pilates Works whilst undertaking training as a Pilates instructor with Body Control Pilates in London.  She qualified as a Pilates instructor in 2008 and is delighted to be involved in bodywork once again.

Catherine Cassidy

Catherine is currently employed as the Community Initiatives Manager at The Space in Dundee and is responsible for professional development, all community programmes, project management, fundraising and developing the centre through local and national partnerships.

She started her career in the West Midlands as a choreographer and director of Topiary Dance Company which was funded by both Arts Council of England and the Scottish Arts Council to tour new work for children and young people.

Catherine has worked as a Specialist Advisor for both Arts Council of England and the Scottish Arts Council and on various selection panels for Imaginate.

Laura Clark

Laura headed up the performance programme for the European Capital of Culture in Liverpool where she worked for the past three years as producer, programmer and project manager on a range of theatre, dance and street arts events. These events included British Dance Edition, Big Dance 2008, Liverpool Streets Ahead, Viennese Ball, Imagine Children's festival and Into the Little Hill.

Having begun her career in theatre management Laura then spent three years as Theatres Programmer at The Lowry and has worked in a range of venues, across art forms and scales and has experience in the commercial and subsidised theatre sector.

Since leaving Liverpool Laura set up Laura Clark Arts and works as an independent producer predominantly for Slung Low as well as Yorkshire Dance and Creative Universe. Originally from Glasgow, Laura is delighted to be working in Scotland.

Lee Fisher

Lee Fisher is part-time Head of Creative Learning at Birmingham Royal Ballet, a freelance project director, choreographer and dance artist in education.

Born in Essex, Lee was educated at the Royal Ballet School before joining Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) in 1988.

In 17 year career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Lee became a soloist, performed many leading roles in ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker as well as host of 20th Century and new works.  With the company he toured nationally and internationally and created roles for choreographers including Sir Kenneth Macmillan, Sir Peter Wright and David Bintley CBE.  Despite retiring from a fulltime dancing career in 2005, he continues to perform and has since made guest appearances in Shanghai, London, Oxford and Birmingham.

In 2000, he obtained an MA in Applied Dance and has authored and presented papers, for academic journals and at conferences nationally and internationally.  In 2002, he co-founded and is Artistic Director to Birmingham Royal Ballet’s and Fox Hollies Performing Arts College’s highly successful education and community initiative, Freefall Dance Company; a company of young dancers with learning disabilities.

In his capacity as Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Head of Creative Learning and as a freelance director and dance artist, he has devised and directed a wide range of interventions with partners across many art forms and in education and community contexts. 

He was Dance Fellow 2005/06 on The Clore Leadership Programme, an initiative that supports and develops leadership in the cultural sector, is alumni of the Windsor Leadership Trust and fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Dawn Hartley

'I left Scotland aged 14 to continue dance training and academic studies at Bush-Davies School, East Grinstead and then at London Contemporary Dance School.  On graduation, I joined Michael Clark and Company, touring worldwide and also working with colleagues Matthew Hawkins and Carol Straker on their projects.

In 1990, I became the Trainee Dance Artist in rural areas to the Scottish Arts Council, based in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.  I performed with Liz Ranken in ‘Ooh!’ with an integrated company, Elaine MacDonald and Frank McConnell in Peter Royston’s ‘Emotional Precipices’ and Alan Greig and Brigid McCarthy in The X Factor dance company.

Brigid and I founded Incognita to make site specific and touring works from 1993 - 1998.  I also worked with Transfigured, TAG, Scottish Youth Dance, NVA and made solo, trio and large-scale community works.  I drove a bus to ‘Ut Delphi’ festival in Hungary, worked with Vicente Saez (through New Moves) and received a Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship to work with Bosnian children in exile in Slovenia.

I was part time dance Lecturer for the Drama Department of Edinburgh’s Telford College from 1995-1999.

From 1996 – 2003 I was also part time Lecturer for the Vocal Studies Department at RSAMD teaching physical awareness for singers and choreographing for student operas (Carmen, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Rake’s Progress).  I also choreographed Dream for The Aldeburgh Festival in 2000 and played Puck.

From 1999 to 2006, I was Dance Artist to East Lothian Council based at Brunton Theatre.  Among other things, I delivered dance sessions in schools, created the after school programme and delivered In Service training.

I performed with Company Chordelia in 2003, 2004 and 2005.  Most recent freelance choreography for Licketyspit children’s theatre Molly Whauppie and Brunton Theatre’s pantomime Dick McWhittington.

I am delighted to have joined Scottish Dance Theatre as Education Manager in January 2007.'

James MacGillivray

 A graduate from the Central School of Ballet in 1997, James was immediately engaged by Ballett Schindowski, Germany, creating and performing solo roles. He choreographed several pieces for children's performances with the company. From June 1999, James worked as a freelance dancer/choreographer in various projects in collaboration with the Cjoreographisches Zentrum NRW, Essen, including the debut performance of Temper Temper Dance Company.

He joined Scottish Dance Theatre in 2000 and was appointed Rehearsal Director in 2002. James has choreographed student pieces for Telford College, Edinburgh, Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, Dundee, and a dance film for SDT. James has mentored apprentices on placement from both Northern School of Contemporary Dance and London School of Contemporary Dance. He was mentored by Gregory Nash when he participated in a mentoring scheme operated by Dance UK to learn skills in producing, commissioning and facilitating dance. In Summer 2008 James received Professional Development funding from the Scottish Arts Council and SDT to study with the Martha Graham Dance Company and School in New York.

In his time with SDT James has performed and created roles in 27 works by 20 choreographers. He enjoys working with the diverse range of choreographers who are invited to make pieces for SDT, and finds each new work a challenge and a thrill to create and perform.

Jennifer McLachlan

Jen McLachlan grew up in Scotland and trained with Scottish Ballet from the age of 8, until she moved to London at 16 to complete her training at London Contemporary Dance School. Following graduation from Transitions Dance '91 at LAban Centre she worked as a dancer, administrator and teaher for nine years. She performed with Matthew Hawkins; TAG Theatre Company; Dale Thomson Dance Theatre; Andy Howitt & Dancers & Tabula Rasa amongst others.

In 2000 she joined Arts Council England as Lead Officer for the development of moving image and dance and in 2005 joined the Australia Council for the Arts as its Director of Dance. Jen returned to the UK in 2008 and is working as a consultant to a number of arts organisations. She is also Development Manager for the R-Research department of Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, nd is producing Rajni Shah's new show GLORIOUS!

Janice Parker

"I am an independent dance artist and work across a number of disciplines.

My original training is in Laban Movement.  My first job in dance 1980-1987 was in a hospital setting. From 1987 – 1989 I was Arts and Disability officer with The Arts in Fife, followed by Director of Dance for ProjectAbility during Glasgow’s year as European Capital of Culture in 1990.

Since 1991 I have worked with numerous large and small scale organisations, dance companies and individuals here in Scotland, in Europe and for a number of years, in Canada.  I initiate, direct and produce projects, act as consultant and advisor as well as choreograph, teach and occasionally perform.
I have a strong focus on bringing the professional and community dance worlds together.  I am interested in the performance potential and contribution of people who are not traditionally trained and am particularly experienced in collaborating with people with disabilities.  I create live performance and dance for camera in theatre settings and site specific situations, ranging from 100 or more performers to solo work and I often collaborate with other artists and art-forms.

In 2005 I was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Award which resulted in the publication ‘Take A Look At What Is Actually There’.

Recently I was part of the Artist as Leader arts lab run by the Cultural Enterprise Office; was a core group member of Working in Public with Suzanne Lacy and On The Edge Research; and had an article published in Animated 

Currently I am on a Scottish Arts Council pARTners residency to develop work in collaboration with people with complex learning disabilities in their home environments; am working in various parts of Germany on large scale community choreographies while mentoring German based dance artists to work as artists in residence; and I am a member of the Public Art Reference Group for the Scottish Arts Council."

Michael Popper

Michael Popper has a multi-faceted career creating and performing work in the worlds of music, theatre and dance. A highly gifted dancer, singer and actor, his choreographic and directorial work bears witness to his ongoing thoughtful, passionate and playful interest in the breaking-down of barriers between the arts. This work, often created in collaboration with leading composers, writers, musicians and directors, has earned the resounding endorsement of a wide range of fellow artists and intellectuals, and the occasional attention of the arts world's oligarchy. Popper has always seen performance as an opportunity to present and share real, intelligent and courageous experiment, and he remains one of the most un-predictable, provocative and engaging of artists.

He has trained at the Royal Ballet School, with Abbey Opera Training and-briefly but significantly - with Merce Cunningham and John Cage, as well as Mike Alfreds. He continues his vocal studies with Peter Harrison.

As well as frequent solo and guest appearances, Popper's dance and dance-theatre performance work includes periods with Ballet Rambert, Second Stride and the Rosemary Butcher Company. He is still in demand as a soloist and continues to develop "Correctospective": a growing collection of choreographic miniatures.

Popper has appeared as an actor and singer with companies including, La Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, Insomniac, Opera Holland Park, Opera Circus, The Lindsay Kemp Company and The Purcell Quartet. He is currently developing a new work for cello and choreographed low bass voice with the composer Nigel Osborne.

Popper has choreographed and directed work for companies includng Gateqay To Freedom, MDT (The State Ballet of Ankara), Tanz Forum, The Icelandic Ballet, Scottish Dance Theatre (for whom he was Assistant Director 2004-2007), The Lyceum Edinburgh, Visible Fictions, The Royal National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Welsh National Opera, De Vlaamse Opera, Schauspiel Bonn and the combined Opera and Dance Faculties of the Musikhochschule Koln.

As a teacher of classical and contemporary techniques and of creative workshops, Popper has worked with professionals and students at establishments including Rambert Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, The State Ballet of Ankara, Ballet Prague, The Icelandic Ballet, Almada Dance Company, Ballett Ulm, Die Palluccaschule, Musikhochschule Koln, London Studio Centre and East London Youth Dance.

Sara Schena

Sara is an independent dance and visual artist, living in and working in Aberdeenshire. Since moving to the region in 1994 she has been passionately comitted to developing the arts in rural, isolated communities; empowering local people by providing access to professional, high calibre arts opportunities.

Originally trained in Dance and Visual Art at Middlesex University - awarded BA (Hons) in 1991. More recently awarded MA in Art and Design, from Grays School of Art (2004).

Sara's work experience includes:

Dance Officer for Aberdeenshire Council (1997 - 2002); Chair of COAST Festival of the Visual Arts (2008); Dance Advisor to Banff Academy (2005 - 7), including choreographic training for S3-6; Established 'Elevate', an educational youth dance company (2002); Conceived and implemented 'Born of Fraserburgh', multi-generational community arts project and performance, Fraserburgh Lighthouse Museum (2001); Mentor to local young choreographers; Teacher training - Traditional Scottish Step Dance/Creative dance and music (Scottish Natural Heritage)/Dance for the learning disabled; Directing and Choreographing professional and community dance/theatre.

Currently, as a mother of two young boys, Sara is investigating and implementing opportunities for cross-generational projects for family groups; including 'MaC' (Music and Children), where young children and their parents/grandparents/carers participate in dance, singing and live music.

Ashley Smith Hammond

Ashley Smith Hammond has been working in and researching the cultural sector for more than 10 years.  She is currently working for the Glasgow Grows Audiences as the Project Manager for the Amb:IT:ion Scotland project. 

Ashley’s research takes a special interest in dance and Scottish cultural policy.  In 2008, Ashley graduated with a PhD from the University of the West of Scotland.  This work took place from 2004-2007.  Titled 'Embodying Scotland: Identity, Cultural Policy, Dance', the thesis explores questions about national identity in Scotland by investigating dance practice and specific pieces of dance in the context of post-devolution Scottish national cultural policy.  Ashley is an ongoing member of several research associations including the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) and the Society for Dance Research (SDR).  She has worked as a social science researcher for the Macaulay Institute and as a lecturer for Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of the West of Scotland.

In addition to an interest in dance, Ashley has a background in studying and working in the screen industries.  After completing a master's degree in film and television studies at the University of North Texas, Ashley spent several years in the United States working for WGBH (a public broadcaster) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Lesley Smith

Lesley Smith is currently Principal Arts Officer for East Lothian Council with responsibility for managing an arts service for the county of East Lothian. This post involves working with a wide range of artists and arts organisations across all artforms to create, present and support the arts for the enjoyment and enrichment of the residents of East Lothian. Within the field of dance, in 1999, Lesley received SAC funding to appoint a Dance Artist to undertake research in to the development of dance within the local authority area.

This led to the implementation of a youth dance programme throughout the county and the creation of a permanent Dance Artist post. The dance programme now includes dance initiatives for the formal school sector to support curricular areas such as expressive arts, health and citizenship and for the informal sector to support creative development and health promotion. 

East Lothian’s Youth Dance Company was launched in 2004. Lesley’s post with East Lothian Council includes the management of Brunton Theatre a 300 seat theatre in Musselburgh where she initiated the implementation of a dance programme for the venue with associated education and outreach work. Dance in all its forms has now become a core strand of the programming policy of Brunton Theatre. One of the key aims of the programme is to nurture, support and promote the work of Scottish dance companies to present work of the highest quality for Brunton Theatre audiences. Lesley studied drama at Queen Margaret University followed by postgraduate courses in teaching and arts management.

Project by Fife Cultural Co-rdinators in Schools Initiative project
Cables; Photo: Michael Wolchover
New Dynamics project in Kinlochleven; Photo: Fin Macrae
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