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About the Partners

Dance Unstuck Partners

Ballet Cymru (Amy Doughty, Assistant Artistic Director)

Ballet Cymru partnered with GDance over 5 years beginning with Stuck in the Mud in 2013 and ’14. Their dancers Robbie Moorcroft and Krystal Lowe were involved in the first Dance Unstuck studio research week in summer 2015 and Amy Doughty has contributed to the research through observation, feedback, advocacy and expert advice at regular intervals.

Amy trained in Australia, gaining her Solo Seal certificate (RAD) and Diploma in Dance. She joined Ballet Cymru in 1996, danced a variety of roles with the company and became Ballet Mistress in 2001. In 2009, she was awarded the Jane Attenborough Dance in Education Fellowship and became Assistant Artistic Director in 2012.

Amy teaches and choreographs throughout the UK and internationally and in 2009 completed a BA in English and Creative Arts. She has published articles for Dance Europe and Dance Australia magazines. Amy has choreographed and co-choreographed a number of works for the company and received her Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning through DTAP and Trinity College London in 2012.

Cath Wilkins, Strategic Arts Consultant

As Director of GDance over 10 years to summer 2016, Cath oversaw adoption of its mission to positively impact on perceptions of disability.

Phase 1 Dance Unstuck research in 2016/17 was led by nationally renowned inclusion specialist (former Learning Director with GDance) Louise Brown.  In 2016/17, administrators, research assistants and Dance Support Workers Holly Garnett and Michelle Lee joined the team.

Cath Wilkins, Project Manager for Dance Unstuck (phase 2), trained at Elmhurst Ballet School and gained a BA(Hons) in Drama. Cath developed skills and interests around diversity, organisational and sector development, creativity, leadership and talent development as General Manager of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, in the Fellowship team at NESTA and in the Touring Department at Arts Council England.

Cath co-founded the National Inclusive Dance Network with colleague Helen Crocker (which has since merged with People Dancing’s National Alliance to form the 200+ strong Dance for Change Network).  She was also a founder Board Director of Create Gloucestershire and established the Arts Inc partnership with Art Shape (awarded an Arts Council England Elevate award in 2016 to embed the Creative Case for Diversity more broadly across Gloucestershire).

Linda Virgoe Dance Studios (Linda Virgoe, Principal)

The Gloucester-based dance school and Academy has been a Dance Unstuck partner since 2016 and is also a current partner in our Arts Council Elevate project.  Academy students have joined disabled peers to perform in community casts of GDance productions and one student subsequently took up a trainee Dance Leader position with GDance.

Academy student and Teaching Assistant Megan Birchley attended a UD CPD session and played a Dance Support Worker role during the February 2016 Dance Unstuck research week.

Linda Virgoe trained at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School, graduating with the Royal Ballet School Teaching Diploma. The Linda Virgoe Dance Studios were founded in 1985 and the Academy in 2006.  Linda is an RAD registered teacher.

Royal Academy of Dance Faculty of Education (Lizz Fort, Lecturer in Dance Education & Student Support Officer)

Lizz Fort and Head of Examinations Andrew McBirnie first took an interest in Dance Unstuck after attending a talk following the February 2016 Primary Ballet research week in Gloucester.  Andrew had also met GDance staff at Department for Education organised Roundtable meetings in early 2016, convened to review disability inclusion in the ballet sector.

The Royal Academy of Dance is proud to have been a partner in the Dance Unstuck Project and strives to be an organisation that supports inclusion, celebrates diversity, challenges stereotypes, and recognises and values different cultures.  Lizz Fort, Fiona Brooker (Head of Teacher Education), and Julia Delaney (Lecturer in Dance Education) from the Faculty of Education provided teaching and pedagogic consultancy with regards to the RAD Graded Syllabi progressions with a focus on Grades 1-4,  in preparation for the Dance Unstuck project’s research week held in February 2017.

Lizz Fort acted as the main liaison between the research project and the RAD as a partnering institution, visiting and contributing to evolving conversations about the application of Universal Design for the ballet class.

Lizz took up her RAD role in 2012.  Also a community dance artist, choreographer and performer, her artistic and research interests lie in improvisation and non-codified movement forms, curating/choreographing encounters and collaborative experiences. On completing her MA in Community Dance, she was the recipient of the student prize “Roehampton Dance Award for Outstanding Development as a Research Student”.

Prior roles include: sessional Lecturer for Canterbury Christ Church University on the BA (Hons) Dance Education (Sep 2011 to Jun 2012); freelance facilitator, project manager and General Manager for Magpie Dance (2008 to 2012); Company Assistant then Education Manager for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance (Sep 2008 to Jun 2010); freelance teacher including planning, delivering and evaluating dance and choreographing work with diverse groups in HE, community and school contexts (2003 to present).

Para Dance UK (Patrick McGeough, CEO)

Para Dance UK (formerly The Wheelchair Dance Sport Association UK), which predominantly worked in the genre of Ballroom & Latin, had began to address issues around lack of access to ballet through initial dialogue with English National Ballet and Oxon. based ballet teachers prior to joining forces on Dance Unstuck.

Patrick is supporting the project with advice around the market, advocacy and sector placement. Inclusive Community Dance Officers Selina Johnson and Michael Joseph and other Para Dance UK affiliate teachers are also engaging in CPD and observation opportunities.

Patrick became disabled following a series of strokes in 1997. Patrick has spent most of his working career supporting charities to be open, more accessible and / or to see the business opportunity of the disability market. He has also helped a range of disabled people set up their own charities or businesses across the East of England and London Area.

Patrick worked with and for many public organisations until 2009 when, following a second stroke, his rehabilitation was aided through wheelchair dancing. In 2012, Patrick trained to become a level 2 Instructor of wheelchair dance and he and his wife set up a local group in Watford. Patrick is a strong believer that dance and dance sport can be an effective tool to help keep your mind and body active not matter what the ability of the individual.