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Ruth Spencer

Senior Lecturer in Dance
School of Arts and Media

Ruth is an Independent Dance Artist and Lecturer in Higher Education whose work is deeply rooted in Education and Community Practice. Through a person-centred approach, Ruth’s practice encourages individuals to discover and explore movement in relationship to self and other. Ruth is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Ruth leads education and community based dance practice modules on the Dance Performance and Teaching course supporting students to develop their skills as facilitators of dance performance, composition and appreciation. Ruth oversees student work based placements in education and community contexts, as well as leading the third year independent project module that nurtures students to identify and pursue individual areas of interest and specialism. As co-course leader, Ruth is involved in overseeing the day to day running of the course and curriculum design, whilst as Year Co-ordinator Ruth works in close collaboration with UCLan CAREERS and Propellor (UCLan Business Support) to support students into freelance careers, employment or postgraduate study upon graduation. All dance staff and students are members of UCLanDance, a centre of excellence in learning, participation and advocacy, supporting the dance ecology of the region through activity and engagement. 

Ruth has been working as a dance maker, performer and teacher for 32 years. Her creative practice has evolved through her study and inquiry into the field of dance improvisation. She has collaborated with many artists, making and performing work in various settings throughout the UK and abroad. She works creatively in movement sharing and disseminating her passion and experience of dance to enable and support the broadening of creative potential in relation to self and other. Ruth trained at the London College of Dance and Drama 1985-88, from where she furthered her studies across Europe specialising in improvisation and somatic approaches with specialists from the field including Ruth Zaporah, Gill Clarke, Helen Poyner, Jacqueline McCormick, Lisa Nelson, Kirstie Simson, and Nancy-Stark Smith, Scott Clark. Ruth’s performance career involved devising and touring nationally and internationally with companies such as, Ludus Dance, (Shobana Jeyasingh, Motionhouse) and Yolande Snaith Dance Company. Ruth was a core member of the Artist led dance collective Ch4pter based in the North West with artists Paula Hampson and Andrea Buckley. During this 6-year initiative they commissioned and collaborated with artists including Gill Clark and Rosemary Lee. They developed a range of choreographic projects, performance platforms and delivered dance training programs for local artists in the Northwest and South East. A commitment to education and community practice has been a constant throughout Ruth’s career developing and delivering projects and training across different education and community contexts. Ruth’s teaching experience is extensive both in the UK and abroad, as lead dance artist on projects with companies such as English National Ballet, Curious Minds, Cheshire Dance, Ludus Dance, International Schools Theatre Association. Ruth is regularly commissioned to develop dance teaching and training resources. Ruth's practice expanded to include creative and community director roles on large scale outdoor performance projects as part of cultural activities in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games, developing outdoor site based work from 2009 culminating in 2012 The Moment When…, a large scale collaboration between Walk the Plank and Cheshire Dance creating site based work across three outdoor sites in Cheshire with a cast of 1000 performers made up community, schools and professional performers, aerialists and pyrotechnicians, marking the arrival of the Olympic torch to the North West. Ruth has been an associate tutor on the dance course at Chester University, guest lecturer at Trinity Laban PG Diploma in Community Dance and visiting choreographer at The London School of Contemporary Dance. After initially working at the University of Central Lancashire as a visiting choreographer, Ruth was invited to undertake a permanent role within the dance team in 2010 since when she has supported the ongoing development and refinement of the course curriculum, been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, taken on a co-course leader role and been instrumental in the launch of UCLanDance in 2018.