© 2017 by University of Central Lancashire Dance Research Team. Proudly created with Wix.com


The Dance and Somatic Practice Research Group at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) brings together the research concerns and activities of undergraduate and postgraduate staff. They work independently and collaboratively through various methodologies including, Action, Practice as, and Practice–led Research. The team seeks to develop, deepen and disseminate their understanding of somatic, choreographic and pedagogical practices. These strands are closely interwoven within the teaching on the dance course at UCLan with its strong inquiry-based ethos. 


Team members are engaged in inter-disciplinary research inquiries working in collaboration with the Psycho-social Research Unit and colleagues in Social Work and Travel and Tourism. The social relevance of practice is prioritised in much of the research group’s work; from the community dance perspective, engagement, accessibility, opportunity are key; while for somatics, embodiment,  self-efficacy and well-being are central concerns.

Penny Collinson

Course Leader of MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body.


Penny joined UCLan in 1999 and is a registered Somatic Movement Educator (ISMETA). She also runs a private practice in Lancashire.

Her background is in contemporary dance and movement improvisation, as performer and teacher with companies and artists including Ludus, Motionhouse, Thomas Lehman and Forecast Dance, as well as performing a series of solo works in collaboration with theatre director Mark Whitelaw.

Penny is an external examiner for the Institute for Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. She is also a steering group member of the Knowing Body Network.

Click on Image for Website)


Giorgio De Carolis MA

Lecturer in BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.

Giorgio is a dance artist who works internationally as a performer, maker and facilitator.


Movement and creativity as sources of understanding and vehicles for communicating are the driving force behind his practice.


He has a strong interest in the application of movement within a scored improvisation and interdisciplinary performance as a territory for genuine, honest communication between the internal visual representations and perceptions of the performer and those of the witnessing audience. He has been collaborating with Jon Aveyard from the music department at UCLan for the past three years.

(Click on Image for Website)



Dr. Sara Giddens

Reader in Choreographic Practice.


Dr Sara Giddens is a choreographer and creative facilitator and she specialises in practice-as-research. Having worked on the Articulating Dance project, as part of Choreographic Lab, Sara completed her practice-based PhD, Still Small Acts, through a collaborative AHRC studentship co-hosted by Dance4 and Middlesex University.


Sara continues to develop, make and tour performance-based work nationally and internationally, with Prof Simon Jones (Bristol University) through their company Bodies in Flight (1990). Her work has been published and disseminated widely across a number of disciplines and events.

(Click on Image for Website)


Sarah Hall QTS

Lecturer in BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.


Sarah is an experienced facilitator in the education sector. Her work is focused on outdoor sited performances which are accessible, theatrical and designed for all audiences, alongside issue-based theatre work with and for young people.

Sarah runs Blue Moose Dance Company, a community dance organisation based in Lancashire and Yorkshire with a specialist focus on community dance practice for young people and sited and issue-based performance work.


Her work follows these two strands, using individual creative exploration, drawing on personal experiences, bodily awareness and our surroundings as a vehicle for engagement.


(Click on Image for Website)


Lucy Nicholson

Course Leader of BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.


Lucy's practice is rooted in a Laban -Bartenieff approach and she has a particular interest in developing self-awareness & discovery; promoting the body as a valid starting point for creative work within a community context. 


As a lead artist with Dance United, Lucy established her practice working with vulnerable young people and adults and worked internationally with Dance For All, South Africa and Destino Dance, Ethiopia. 


At UCLan, Lucy works in collaboration with the social work department on a creative writing and performance project called Reading The World as the movement specialist and performance director.

Timothy Lamford

Lecturer in MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body.

Tim is a dancer, choreographer and teacher with forty five years experience in movement arts. He specialises in the teaching of dance, creativity and somatic awareness within higher education.


He trained at the London Contemporary Dance School, studying contemporary techniques with Jane Dudley, William Louther, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Noemi Lapzeson, Robert Cohan (all Graham Company); Danny Lewis (Limon Company) and Albert Reid (Cunningham Company). He also studied contact improvisation with Steve Paxton; release work with Mary Faulkerson; choreography with Nina Fonaroff (Graham company); Pilates with Alan Herdman, and Tai chi Chuan with Gerda Geddes.


Ruth Spencer

Course Leader of BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.

Ruth makes, performs and facilitates dance. Her research explores creative dance practice in diverse settings with people of all ages and abilities. Through a person-centred approach, Ruth encourages individuals to discover ad explore their own ways of thinking and moving, and through this build relationships with others, whilst debunking myths that surround dance practice and pedagogy.

Ruth’s own work with organisations such as Cheshire Dance, Dance Manchester and the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) focuses on inclusion and improvisation, and how they support creativity.


Senior Lecturer in BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.


Liz Long is an artist and dance movement researcher, based in Yorkshire.


Her work and research focuses on developing creativity and the imagination through movement and somatic practices within community, health and dance teaching and performance settings. She is interested in how self-awareness, personal process, and tools for self-regulation, can improve health and wellbeing.

She is a Somatic Movement educator in Higher Education at UCLan. Her work investigates the role of somatic principles within improvised performance exploring the relationship between performer and audience, as well as enquiring into the nature of community through collaborations between arts and somatic practices.



Hannah Tongue BA

Associate Artist with BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching.

Hannah is a freelance dance artist working within and around the North West. She graduated from the Dance Performance and Teaching Course in 2016 and has since been the Dance Development Artist Intern with the team. 

Since graduating, Hannah has performed, Facilitated and choreographed dance within both Primary and Secondary Schools, Youth Dance Groups, Care Homes and University Students.

Hannah's research interests lie within her teaching practice, especially rooted around engagement with community and youth groups, connecting with hard to reach young people and adults. 

Kerstin Wellhöfer BA IIHHT Dip IBMT RSME/T

Lecturer in BA(Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching and MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing: Connections to the Living Body.


somatic enquiry is the container for her therapeutic, creative and nature based work, informed by her work as a Body and Earth practitioner

Her work is concerned with sourcing our knowing from the body, in movement, in relationship and integral to the more than human world.

Playing with language and creative expression, delving into how we learn,  and being nature.

Kerstin is a member of ismeta, and has a long history and interest in somatic teaching.

(Click Image for Website)