Department of Dance

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Beatrice Allegranti is an award-winning choreographer, registered dance movement psychotherapist, writer, researcher and educator, as well as a practitioner of the music-based Brazilian martial art, capoeira. Her current project, Moving Kinship, funded by Arts Council England, revolves around early-onset dementia patients and their families. Working with dancers, composers and musicians, the project explore themes of loss, care, health and the self. Her work has been performed around the world in diverse spaces including theatres, art galleries, community spaces and psychiatric hospitals.

For many in the dance world, Chopin is associated with diaphanous white tutus, fairyland and romance, in other words, the ballet Les Sylphides. Not so in the case of Sir Richard Alston, one of today's most musically astute choreographers. 

Professor Stephanie Jordan, an international figure in choreomusical studies, is currently immersed in a project that explores the darker or more bracing aspects of the composer, starting with those manifest in Alston's recent forays into Chopin: qualities of visceral intensity, melancholy and obsession. A substantial article illustrated by film clips is on the way.  Meanwhile, Jordan also collaborates with Dr Anna Pakes in double-act presentations – the first, 2019, in Dubrovnik – crossing choreomusical analysis of Alston's work with the philosophical issues that it raises.

Photo Credits: Sir Richard Alston, photo by Hugo Glendinning.

Staff from our Department have completed a four-year study, in partnership with the English National Ballet, that concluded that organised dancing offers physical and mental benefits to people with Parkinson's disease.

The study, led by Dr Sara Houston and Dr Ashley McGill, concluded that dancing provides Parkinson's sufferers with physical improvements, greater motivation and improved mental health.

Image: Dance for Parkinson's participants with Jennie Harrington, English National Ballet artist. Photo: Belinda Lawley

In her study of the Athens Festival (Greece) between 1956 and 1966, Dr Stacey Prickett is investigating how the American, British, and Soviet governments used their elite ballet companies as instruments of ‘soft power’ during the Cold War.  

Funded by the British Academy, Dr Prickett is undertaking archival research and oral history interviews to establish interrelationships between funding, political rhetoric and artistic imperatives, and to analyse the ballets' reception by Athenian audiences. Dr Steriani Tsintziloni, a graduate of Roehampton Dance Department’s PhD programme, is conducting research on the project in Athens. 

Image: Swan Lake (act II), September 7, 1961, Odeon Herodes Atticus in Athens.  Used with permission from the Athens & Epidaurus Festival

Professor Theresa Buckland has examined the evolution of the modern English waltz, which developed out of its Victorian form in the early 1920s.

Her research identified the impact of World War One on social dance practices in fashionable London, the response of the press and the dance profession to the post-war dance craze and how English ballroom was influenced by and competed with ragtime dances and tango.

Read more in the journal of Dance Research.

Professor Emilyn Claid's work with somatic movement techniques and psychotherapy has led to a research project on the physical, metaphorical and psychological impact of falling.

She was invited to collaborate in an experimental event at London's Tower Bridge, to offer somatic support for people who experience vertigo when crossing the walkways.

Project website | Walking on Glass

Senior Lecturer Efrosini Protopapa collaborated with Konstantina Georgelou and Danae Theodoridou on the 3-year research project ‘Dramaturgy at Work’. It included a series of workshops and roundtable discussions leading to the publication of a book.

The project crosses between the fields of dance, theatre, performance and theory. It conceives dramaturgy as a significant process in the creation of contemporary performance, and as a critical practice closely related to the social and the political.

Click here for more information.

Prof Alexandra Kolb: Dance and the Everyday

What happens when choreographers turn to the ordinary and the mundane for source material or inspiration? This project, which was supported by the British Academy, engages with ways in which 21st-century choreographic work has thematised everyday life, making the case for the everyday as an important motif of recent choreographies.

Click here for more information on Prof Alexandra's work.

Photo Credits: Scene from x-times people chair, Canada 2012. A project by Angie Hiesl. Performers: Gisela Sophie Oelschläger (Germany) und Paul-Yvon Cloutier (Canada). Image © Roland Kaiser.

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