CEO and Founder
Elsa Urmston MSc, PGCAP, FHEA
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 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."
I retired from my long career in accountancy and moved from Essex to Suffolk in 2000. I soon found my experience was useful and returned to work on a part-time self-employed basis; this continued until I was 76, when mobility problems forced me to return to Essex to be nearer my family.
During my time in Suffolk, I spent some years as Treasurer and Trustee of The Disability Advice Service of East Suffolk on a voluntary basis, this included dealing with The Charity Commission. I was also Treasurer at my Golf Club and Saxmundham Bowls Club, each position held for over ten years.
Since returning to Essex in 2013 I have taken on the Treasurership of Galleywood Short Mat Bowls Club and the bridge club I attend and continue to act in that capacity for both organisations. I also spent some time volunteering for the Helen Rollason Cancer Care charity, working in their Danbury shop, until it became too much for me.
I also act on an advisory basis for a block of flats, calculating the maintenance changes for the residents and preparing accounts and statutory documents and filing with Companies House.
My mobility is reduced, but I still take part in Short Mat Bowls; my other hobbies include running a Creative Writing Group, which I set up over seven years ago.
I am happy for you to contact me if you need any further information.
Lyann wanted to be involved with a dynamic and inspirational charity who, with a can-do attitude, are shaping the way dance and movement is seen into this new decade. She has been a consistent member of dna since we opened in 2015 with various hats to her name, and now sits on the board as our Secretary.
Lyann has worked in community settings for over 18 years within housing, education & training and arts organisations, project managing & facilitating training programmes for socially excluded, unemployed and disabled people across East London and Essex.
Never wanting to be on stage, Lyann was a founding member of Chain Reaction Youth & Community Theatre, producing and eventually performing in and choreographing many shows over 10 years. Knowing how much confidence the arts brought her personally, Lyann believes in bringing creativity to all, enabling everyone to develop and grow into their ambitions and dreams.
Away from work Lyann enjoys everything the outdoors has to offer, is often found walking, running or horse-riding out in the fresh air.