Coventry Dance has been established as a Community Interest Company with a view to supporting an inclusive, diverse, vibrant and well networked dance community with Coventry and the region. Co-creation is at the heart of everything we do, and our aim is to work with communities across all dance forms, connect people and organisations, and support dance development.
We advocate Coventry to become a city of dance putting us on the map locally, nationally and internationally.
Dr Natalie Garrett Brown (Director) is Co-Director of Education and Experience and Head of Department for Music, Writing and Performance at University of East London. She is Chair for DanceHE (Standing Conference of Dance in Higher Education) and founding associate editor for the Dance and Somatic Practices Journal. Her practice and research interests are theoretically situated within feminist understandings of embodied subjectivity and the ways in which somatic and reflective practices can inform education, performance making, creativity, writing and digital cultural practices. Most recently this took the form of a research project Sensing the City supported by the AHRC. Natalie is also a trained executive coach and mentor and advocate of this practice.
Dr Geoff Willcocks (Director) is Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Coventry University. He is currently responsible for the development of the university’s cultural assets, external cultural profile, student cultural engagement and external partnership liaison with regional and national cultural and artistic bodies and organisations. He was recently seconded to the Executive Committee of The Coventry City of Culture Trust as part of the successful 2021 bid team. During this time, he co-authored the city’s Ten-Year Cultural Strategy. His external positions include, Chair of Coventry’s Music Education Hub, Vice Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, Chair Midlands Higher Education Culture Forum and Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Alliance. He has advised Art Council England on the role of Higher Education in UK Culture and is a board member for Ludic Rooms, Coventry’s Heritage Action Zone and Coventry Music Trust.
Clare Mitchell (Director) is an arts development professional with over 25 years of experience working both a strategic management of arts development and direct delivery within the arts sector across the West Midlands and Southwest of the UK. Clare has worked for a variety of organisations ranging from Warwick Arts Centre developing the Boys Dancing programme, Government Office and most recently as part of Coventry City Council as the Cultural Partnerships Development Manager on the development and delivery of a new cultural strategy for the city and the successful UK City of Culture 2021 bid.
Born and brought up in the Midlands, Clare moved to Bristol, paying her way through Art School (BA Hons Arts and Social context) by running events in Bristol’s lively arts and dance music scene, going on to train in informal and community education and securing JNC status.
Having a foot in both camps of Arts and Social practice, Clare is passionate about creating opportunities where we can access and engage in learning through creative and cultural practice, opening new ways of thinking and being together and as artists, as people, as communities of practice.
Yaël Owen-Mckenna (Development Director) is a strategic leader in the dance arts and cultural sector. Yaël is a dance educator, academic and project director, an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion across the arts and a champion for children and young people. Yaël is especially passionate about the right of all people to thrive within in arts and culture through their own experiences, leadership and participation in democratic and co-created contexts.
Alongside her current role as Development Director of Coventry Dance, Yaël is Programme Development Manager for the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s Programme at People Dancing. In April 2019 she was appointed as consultant to the development of Coventry Dance, and it became a fully incorporated CIC in June 2019. Until April 2020 Yaël was also part-time Course Director for the BA (Hons) Dance course at Coventry University.
Andrea Barzey (Development Director) is an independent dance educator, researcher, leader and project manager. Alongside her role as Development Director of Coventry Dance, she is currently Associate Programme Leader for MA/BA Dance courses at Dance City, Newcastle.
As an artist, Andrea has been supported by Arts Council England for dance film and installation projects, and as an educator has been part of JISC- funded projects for developing reflective blog practice
Andrea has held leadership roles at Coventry University as Associate Head of Performing Arts, Course Director for MA Collaborative Theatre Making and Senior Lecturer in Dance. She is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Dance Research, investigating partnership and collaboration, to promote a regional dance ecology.
Stephanie Sandy (Board Member) I am a dance artist with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, being among the first in the UK to graduate from Coventry University with a BA (hons) in Dance and Professional Practice.
I have worked with a number of integrated dance companies such as Foot in Hand, with whom I danced and delivered workshops at the Place Prize in 2004, for 5 years. My time spent working with Velcro Dance Company gave me the pleasure of collaboration with choreographers such as Marc Brew. I also worked with Blue Eyes Soul and for Warwickshire County Council delivering workshops to integrated classes of able bodied and disabled children. I took a break from dance to get married and become a mum to my two children when my disability restricted how much I could dance, but my passion didn’t leave and I’m delighted to now be working as a member of Coventry Dance Board.
Lou Lomas (Producer)
I am a Freelance Producer, working regionally and nationally currently working with: Talking Birds Theatre Company, Ascension Dance, Imagineer Productions – Bridge, The Fabularium, Steph Ridings – Tappin ‘In.
I was the associate programmer for the Festival of Imagineers and former senior producer (Advanced programme) for Coventry City of Culture Trust 2021 Bid.
In 2018 I was the co-producer of the First ever Shop front festival in Coventry with Theatre Absolute and Orit Azaz working with local BID Teams Coventry City of Culture Trust and the Great Places partnership. This included delivering 60 performances across Coventry city centre, working with businesses, artists, community groups with a regional, national and international profile.
I am passionate about the development of Outdoor work and supporting companies working in Street Arts and Outdoor Sector. I am currently a board Member for Outdoor arts UK.