We unite to campaign, advocate for, and make change together.

Who we are

Freelance Dancer: The Movement for Dance Workers is a collective of freelance dance artists from varying dance backgrounds, regions, and work contexts, united in their desire to improve the working conditions for freelance dancers and artists overall. 

The Movement evolved out of a research project undertaken by Karen Wood with a vested interest in the freelance dance artist community, the project facilitated interdisciplinary exchanges between artists, representative agencies/organisations, and academics to investigate new initiatives for collective engagement and representation. 

Find out more about the research that inspired The Movement here

The Movement is now collectively run by a group of 15 Freelance Dancers who were initially funded in June 2023, alongside Karen Wood, to identify practical actions that build on the findings of the research. We are now working on a voluntary basis to ensure The Movement’s progression, contributing our skills, expertise, and knowledge when we can, how we can, through flexible working ‘pods’.

What We Do

What we’ve done so far:

  • Attended APPG meetings representing freelance dance artists
  • Letter campaign to our politicians in 2023 raising awareness of freelance dance artists’ needs and this Movement
  • Facilitated the Freelance Dance Artists’ Working Ecology all day event

Who We Are

Rosy Pigott is a freelance dance artist based in Bristol specialising in ballet and contemporary dance. Alongside professional performing commitments, Rosy teaches a diverse range of young dancers and adult students.

Karla Jones is based in Nottinghamshire and has been working in the participatory and community dance sector for the past 15 years specialising in creative change making and creating cohesive communities through movement

Libby Farrow is Bristol based and only discovered her love of dance at the age of 30, and has spent the last 14 years dancing as often as possible, at workshops, classes and festivals. She now teaches dance for Sambistas and her brand new fusion, Burlafreak. As a plus sized dancer, she aims to advocate for body positivity and inclusion, both on the dance floor and stage

JJ Formento is a contemporary dancer based in Oxford. He trained at Central School of Ballet, danced with the Royal Opera, Miss Saigon, Dance Theatre of Ireland, and National Dance Company of Wales.  He is the founder of Ajos Trust, a social enterprise using dance for positive social change, which he believes is only possible through collective action, integrity and will

Latisha Cesar is a Haitian American interdisciplinary artist educator and advocate based in Somerset. Her projects include Create Your Well (wellbeing through art), Krik Krak Festival (education on Haitian culture) and Saias Liberdade ( a community dance group). She uses a combination of storytelling, music, and dance to explores concepts of community and care as tools for liberation. Following the principles of Onè and Respè which means that everyone is entitled to live with dignity Latisha’s work is driven by the idea “no pride for some of us without liberation for all us” Marsha P Johnson.

Kathryn Key is a born-and-bred Alabama girl who has travelled the world with her passion for dance. She strives to be a voice for the future generation of performers and help promote their well-being.

Claire Lambert is a Birmingham based freelance dance artist devising and performing work live, on film and in unconventional indoor/outdoor locations. She teaches movement based practices to professionals, young people, undergraduates and in community wellbeing settings

Katye Coe is a dancer and facilitator based in the UK. She has been performing, curating and teaching for 25 years and now also practices as a trauma informed therapeutic practitioner

Rachel Pedley is based in Wales is passionate about neurodiversity inclusion, about seeing spaces for all dance style to have access to funding and space to create opportunities for all to dance and find the dance challenges that motivate them

Karla Shacklock is a Bristol based mother, mover and groover with an avid commitment to advocacy and change. She has two decades experience of making and touring her own work across Europe, performing with international performance companies and doing movement direction for large scale theatre. She has a PhD in dance and her research into ‘performance consciousness’ and practice of ‘Going Beyond’ has been widely published. 

Karen Wood is a dance artist-researcher, facilitator and mother living in Birmingham.  She has performed, taught and created work for the last 25 years. Her practice and research focuses on dance as a cultural practice, specifically looking at unhelpful structures in the arts and forming new ways of working. Wellness, care and ethics are core to her practice

Helen Laws is a dance manager, researcher and fledgling activist based in Surrey with 25 years’ experience working in dance. She is currently investigating the economic and socio-political factors affecting freelance dance artists’ career sustainability. Passionate about initiating changes to improve artists’ working conditions and status, she is contributing to The Movement’s ‘content pod’

Svetlana Ovsyannikova is a Russian- American freelance dance worker based in Somerset. She created her company, OvDa Dance Co, to promote opportunities for movement, dance and performance for the community. She is an experienced performer, choreographer and teacher. Her passion is to empower and raise up children and women

Sumi Xiaoméi Cheng is a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, co-chair of Equity U.K.’s dance committee, and founder of the blog Londons Dancer her work has been included in top festivals, events, and institutions nationally and internationally: The British Museum, Netflix, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, London International Screen Dance Festival, RiotGames, Dansens Hus Stockholm, Teatro do Bairro Alto Lisbon, and more. Passionate about arts education, she is currently researching the importance and insignificance of being a professional artist for her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

Lakshmi Srinivasan is an Indian Classical dance artist, educator and choreographer trained in two distinct forms of classical dance – Bharatanatyam & Bharatanrityam (Karana based movement practise from temple sculptures of India). She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences and a Post Graduate degree in Dance from Jain University, Bangalore,India and is the Artistic director of Ankura Dance and imparts Bharatanatyam training to many aspiring students in the West Midlands since 2012.