top of page

We are delighted to announce a new chapter for dna

This month we introduce our first ‘board’ as we transition into a CIO. The board will become the trustees of the newly titled ‘Dance Network Association CIO’ (dna).

Following such an incredibly difficult year for all, we realised our true importance to not only our community of Essex but to our national landscape as advocates of dancing and bring joy to people’s lives through dancing. We are also grateful to be recognised for an award in advocacy as Gemma Wright our CEO has been nominated for the One Dance UK awards in 2021 for this achievement.

We knew through 2020/2021 that the support we have offered for people to keep their general health and wellbeing on the straight and narrow, has been significant to our beneficiaries. One even commenting that we offered them the ‘crucial lifeline they needed'. We had to continue to fight for this organisation! Our dna and yours.

We have a few funders and mentors to thank that enabled our work to continue and that kept us from closing our doors for good.

So, thank you to new and repurposed grants from the Essex Community Foundation and the Anglian Water Fund, Brentwood Borough Council and Axis, the Rotary Club in Brentwood, the Colchester Borough Council Colchester Voluntary Welfare Grant, Active Essex and Essex County Council, Arts Council and DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and Cllr Phil Coleman for his generous donation. Thank you to all our donors and participants who have given over £2000.00 to our cause. Thank you also to our mentors Fern Potter, Assis Carreiro and Tomorr Kokona as part of the Mercury Creatives programme.

So, as we continue to survive and recover from COVID, as a newly formed Charity Incorporated Organisation here’s to our six years of existence and beyond driven by a soundboard of trustees as we continue to grow and develop.

So please welcome...

Mark Smith

Essex born and bred Choreographer, Movement Director, Dance Teacher, Workshop Leader and Director, Mark Smith is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Deaf Men Dancing, Patron for The Imperial Society of Teachers and Dancing (ISTD) and the Portsmouth Guildhall. Mark was nominated as Best Choreographer in the Off-West End Awards and the Broadway World UK Awards for Ace of Clubs, Call Me Madam & Iolanthe and Live Theatre & British Theatre for Tommy.

Mark is an experienced English choreographer and movement director. He has performed internationally with Firefly, La Ribot and with the Aaaron Williams Dance Company. His choreography credits include the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, London 2012, Chichester Festival Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Curve Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, The Crudible Sheffield and Stratford East Theatre Royal and many more!

We are very excited to bring Mark onto the board to support the quality of our dance delivery but also steering our inclusivity as an organisation #creatingdanceforall

Contact details:

Twitter: @marksmith_prod Instagram: @marksmithchoreographer

Deaf Men Dancing Twitter: @DeafMenDancing1 Instagram: @deafmendancing Facebook Page: Deaf Men Dancing

Secondly, we would like to welcome

Elsa Urmston MSc, PGCAP, FHEA

Elsa is a long-time friend of Dance Network Association having worked with us as an evaluator on a number of our health, wellbeing and education programmes in the past. She's currently a freelance researcher and consultant at London Contemporary Dance School, where she advises on curriculum development and is researching the psychological impacts of vocational dance education on undergraduate students. Connected to this, Elsa's also doing a PhD in Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter, exploring the implications of periodization on teaching and learning, and how this might change how vocational dance education happens.

Her early professional background was as a community dance artist at Suffolk Dance (now DanceEast), then at Norfolk Dance in the early 2000s. Elsa was also the Centre for Advanced Training Manager at DanceEast from 2014-2017. She continues to work in community and education settings as a researcher and evaluator, exploring dance participation and its impact on people’s lives from social, psychological and health perspectives with companies such as us here at Dance Network Association, as well as Made by Katie Green, BEEE Creative, English National Ballet, Dance Umbrella, Crxss Platfxrm, and East London Dance. Elsa mostly teaches in Higher Education having worked at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Bird College and the University of Bedfordshire over the last

few years. Elsa's been the External Examiner for the BSc and MSc Dance Science programmes at the University of Wolverhampton, advisor on dance for children and young people for One Dance UK and was previously Chair of the Dance Educators’ Committee for the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science.

“I’m thrilled to be able to join Dance Network as a Trustee. The work the organisation does has always inspired me and I’ve seen it have such significance for the people that encounter it, in terms of their love of dance, health, wellbeing, confidence and lifelong education. I hope to bring my expertise in dance education and dance science to this new role, to advocate widely for the organisation both within the dance sector and beyond, and support Gemma and her whole team in the organisation’s next stage of growth and development."

Contact details:

Twitter: @dancescigirl

Gemma Wright CEO and founder of dna will take place as Chair of the board, continuing in the driving seat and the true passion behind the creation of dna.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page