Zoe completed the BA Hons Performing Arts (Gaining a First) and then the PgCert Academic Practice with the University of Cumbria.
Originating from Cheshire Zoe has also returned to help students develop their skills, initially working as a visiting choreographer, then as a Full time Lecturer in Dance and Physical Theatre and Programme Lead in Performing Arts 2015-16.
My sister was also a former student on the Contemporary Applied Arts degree. She has also stayed local and become a well know Milliner in Carlisle. www.saragadd.co.uk We formed my business Dance Ahead together in 2008, with an aim to increasing access to arts through exciting collaborations in fashion and dance. We have both dedicated a large portion of our lives to working as artists and creative practitioners in the region.
I wanted to study Performing Arts as it offered a broad opportunity to study across disciplines. I was torn between Languages and Performance; in hindsight performing arts is closely linked to language as a method of communication. This strongly informs my research practice as a dance theatre artist today.
I love my job because is gives me the freedom to meet people from all works of life, the ability to inspire others and raise aspirations through physical engagement. The ability to challenge audience perception through innovative theatre, the ability to demonstrate to youngsters that it is possible to sustain a career in the arts and that there is no limit to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. I have such a wonderful journey since finsishing my degree.
I was a lecturer in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts (Dance) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. As an alumnus and a former member of staff at the University of Cumbria I continue to forge relations through work as a visiting practitioner.
Recently I have been involved in movement direction for Stephen Sondheim’s Company (dir. Bobby Brook, MD. Stuart Pedlar), co-devising A Midsummer Night's Dream - Carlisle Schools Tour (dir. Ben Samuels - Limbik Theatre), both commissioned by UCIA, Carlisle and choreography for Theatre by the Lake’s 2018 summer season hit Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.
I was nominated in 2018 for both Carlisle Living’s Cultural City Award and Cumbria Diversity Awards following collaborations with Multicultural Carlisle (MCC), Active Cumbria and local community centres; cross-cultural and cross-generational sharing lie at the core of Zo?’s work. Through Dance Ahead I am able to continue to build existing relationships and communities of practice through quality projects and collaborative engagement in both the UK and abroad.
I am currently working on the development of my own technique entitled ‘Kinetic Reading’ that explores approaches to text through movement through the use of both literary and choreographic devices.
I would not be where I am today without the University of Cumbria, they continue to support me long after I have graduated. This is a university that takes their responsibility to each student personally. They are with you 100% of the time, whenever you need them.
The approaches to ‘Kinetic Reading’ are varied and vast and I have really has only just begun to explore the tip of a complex web of choreographic and compositional devices as a result of this bilingual study.
I am keen to approach, and/or hear from educators/academics who have experience of working with text and numeric scores through dance. Previous insights to the research have been shared at Borderlines Book Festival 2017 and Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre Dance Platform Originate 2018.
Following a fun audition workshop focussing on merging tongue twisters with contemporary based gestures, I spent a great week in the studio in 2018 with several former and current dance students from University of Cumbria – Institute of the Arts. The dancers generously gave their time in return for free class, technical guidance and the chance to perform in a new work in progress Miscommunication Reigns in July last year.
To kick-start my research for 2019 I spent many evenings in the studio at University of Cumbria’s Institute of the Arts, reviving and further exploring the existing work. I am self, funded by Dance Ahead, with a small travel grant from University of Oxford, the small group of three dancers, one production manager and their Artistic Director will travel to Birmingham City University to present the work at the prestigious Performing Languages - Creative Multilingualism Conference in February.
I recognize it is early days to try and measure the real impact of the methods but I am keen to further the research base, focussing on some of the following potential benefits:
- An aid to teaching modern foreign languages
- A speech therapy tool
- A social interaction tool (particularly within multicultural communities)
- A method for physical skills development (kinetic awareness, comprehension of the body,
rhythmic scoring, coordination, retention of movement etc.)
- A method for enhancing memory recall (both physical and text-based)
- A problem solving tool
I hope to develop the Kinetic Reading Technique and carry out a scheme of workshops within various community and professional settings.
Listen to Zoe chatting about her recent work with the University of Cumbria on BBC Cumbria’s The Arty Show: She starts at 12 mins 40 secs: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06y6f4n
Workshop audition class