Study day 2013 - British Dance and the African Diaspora

Study Day at De Montfort University, 11th January 2013 10.30 am - 5.00 pm

Keynote: Christy Adair and Ramsay Burt : British Dance and the African Diaspora.

Paper presentations:

  • ‘Funmi Adewole : Dance histories of Black dance in Britain: raising questions and exploring perspectives.
  • H Patten : Dancehall: a Spiritual, Corporeal Practice in Jamaican Dance.
  • Jane Carr : Re -remembering British Jazz Dance
  • Sheron Wray : Improvisation through multi logic sensory codes: Towards utilizing a West African aesthetic in contemporary performance
  • Panel discussion with Deborah Baddoo, Pam Johnson, and Hassan Mahamdallie, chaired by Tony Graves.
  • Closing plenary session chaired by Jeanette Bain-Burnett.

Brief biographies of presenters

Deborah Baddoo trained at the University of Surrey and went on to gain an MA in Performance Arts at Middlesex University. Deborah trained at the University of Surrey and went on to gain an MA in Performance Arts at Middlesex University. In 2006 she was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and in 2010 she was awarded an MBE for Services to Dance. In the early 1990s she also lent her support to ADAD (The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora) spending two years as its co-ordinator, developing its activities. Deborah set up her own company State of Emergency, which was incorporated in 1986 and is still thriving today.

Jane Carr initially trained and worked as a ballet dancer before studying at Laban and later at Roehampton University being awarded a PhD in 2008.  She was a founder member of quiet, an artists’ group that worked collaboratively towards performance and installation and organised dance activities for over fifteen years at Morley College in south east London.  She has taught at Central School of Ballet, Laban, the University of Lincoln and is currently course leader for the BA (Hons) in Dance and Professional Practice at the University Of Bedfordshire where she is continuing to develop her interdisciplinary approach to exploring the significance of dance.

Tony Graves is Subject Leader, Arts and Festivals Management and Director of Cultural Exchanges Festival at De Montfort University. A former concert pianist, Tony has extensive experience in the arts both as a manager, board member and performer and was previously the Chief Executive of The Drum Arts Centre, Birmingham and a theatre producer at Nottingham Playhouse. He was lead researcher for the Cultural Management and Policy Group evaluating the cultural diversity gateway of the New Audiences Programme for Arts Council England in 2002/3.  Amongst his publications are a report entitled ‘Fear of the Artist’ produced in 2005 in collaboration with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre, and funded by NESTA.

Pam Johnson is Relationship Manager for Dance, Arts Council England. She was a dancer, choreographer and teacher with Phoenix Dance Company from 1989-1999, and has also worked as Outreach Development Officer at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Outreach Development Manager at Kokuma Dance Theatre Company.

Hassan Mahamdallie is a senior officer at Arts Council England. He is responsible for devising the Arts Council’s new strategy “The creative case for diversity in the arts” - which seeks to promote conversations about the arts with the true value of diversity at the heart of them. Hassan also works in theatre and journalism. His latest publication is Black British Rebels – Figures from Working Class History.

‘H’ Patten is the Artistic Director of Koromanti Arts. His career spans over 21 years, pioneering African and Caribbean music and dance. Trained in Ghana, ‘H’ has collaborated with top choreographers and producers including F. Nii-Yartey (Ghana), Monika Lawrence (Jamaica), Keith Khan (UK) and The British Council (UK, West, Central and Southern Africa). Obtaining his masters in TV Documentary at Goldsmiths University College, ‘H’ has developed Dance for Camera techniques, and is currently on the PhD programme at the University of Surrey, researching - Moving in the Spirit of Jamaican Dancehall: Continuities and change between traditional African dance and the Dancehall genre.

Sheron Wray is a choreographer and director, and formerly a dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company. For over 12 years she was the Artistic Director of JazzXchange music and Dance Company in London. Her dance and theatre works are collaborative and include works with Wynton Marsalis, Derek Bermel, and Mojisola Adebayo. Her most recent work is within interactive theatre; engaging audiences in performance through handheld technologies. Her work continues to be performed across Europe, North America and Southern Africa. She teaches Jazz, choreography and improvisation. Her Masters in Performing Arts is from Middlesex University, UK.


Funded by:


In partnership with

York St John


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