Since completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dance at Laban in 2001, Helen has worked extensively as a Community Dance Practitioner. Her roles have included Youth Dance Practitioner for South East National Dance Agency, Dance Development Officer for Crawley Borough Council and Education and Community Dance Practitioner for Laban. In 2007, Helen joined Dance United, working at The Academy in Bradford with young offenders and women in prison. She became Academy Director in 2008 and went on to become Artistic Director of Dance United Yorkshire in 2011, continuing to specialise in social inclusion. Helen has directed independent projects in South Africa, Namibia and Jamaica as well as teaching for organisations in Yorkshire including Yorkshire Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Phoenix Dance Theatre. Helen has completed the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning, delivered Behaviour Management training with various arts organisations and published a chapter entitled ‘Behaviour Management and Communication in Practice’. Helen completed her MA in ‘Psychodynamic Approaches to Working with Adolescents’ in 2017.
Helen will be leading the ‘In Partnership’: exploring collaborative working and how to embed artistic quality in socially engaged practicesession alongside Paul Smethurst from New Adventures and Mohammed Saeed from Dance United Yorkshire in the second Breakout Session.
Dance United Yorkshire positively changes the lives of marginalised and hard-to-reach people through high-quality dance training and performance. We deliver work that is tough, tightly-focused and highly disciplined: no hiding places, shortcuts, or excuses. Our distinctive methodology, modelled on professional contemporary dance training, enables our participants to push themselves beyond their limits and unlock their often unrecognised potential.
We create and deliver bespoke dance projects and interventions to meet the needs of different groups of people who are struggling with difficult life circumstances – for example, young people who are disengaged/excluded from mainstream education, people accessing mental health services, women suffering domestic abuse and families living in areas of deprivation.
At the heart of our ambition is a belief that every life should have meaning and purpose. We advocate the use of dance as a powerful tool for personal growth and social development – to the general public, across the social inclusion sector, government agencies and the mainstream dance world.