School of Journalism, Media and Performance
Media Factory, ME107
+44 (0) 1772 89 3903
Subject Areas: Dance, Performance, Education, Community
Ruth Spencer 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 encourages individuals to discover and explore their own ways of moving and through this build relationship with others. Passionate about debunking myths around dance and dance teaching- she continues to be curious, to question and reframe her own dance practice.
Ruth co-ordinates the dance course as well as teaching education and community based practice modules.
Ruth Spencer has been working as an independent dance maker, performer and facilitator since 1988 working nationally and internationally with dance companies and artists such as Ludus working with Scott Clarke, Shobana Jeyasingh and Motionhouse (1996 - 1997), Yolande Snaith in Blind Faith (1998 – 2000); Maximum Machine (2000-2001); The Thing ( 2000 -2001).
She was a founder member of CH4PTER, an artist led dance initiative based in the Northwest. Their work evolved to lead training programmes, create new performance work and to collaborate and commission work with other artists including Gill Clarke: In Residence at The Bluecoat Centre, Liverpool (2000) and Rosemary Lee: Beached (2002-3)
As a Co Director of More Dance! Ruth regularly collaborates with dance artist Jan Halloran to develop and deliver long term developmental training for pupils and In Service Training for staff in schools and community settings specialising in work with Early Years, Special Education and Cross generational work.
Ruth has gained extensive teaching experience both in the UK and abroad developing, delivering and creating resources for companies such as English National Ballet, Cheshire Dance, Ludus, Yolande Snaith and the International Schools Theatre Association as well as many dance agencies and local authorities.
The Creative Leadership Enquiry set up in 2007 brought Ruth together with artist/practitioners Diane Amans, Sue Akroyd, Gil Graystone and Jacqueline McCormick to reveal the leadership acumen of community dance artists. Commissioning partners - Cheshire Dance, the Foundation for Community Dance and Ludus Dance supported 5 experienced community dance artists to spend time together deconstructing their work as creative leaders in order to reveal the leadership skills and knowledge embedded in themselves and their practice.
Since 2008 Ruth has worked with Jacqueline McCormick in the development of large scale outdoor participatory dance works including Stir (2009), Embrace the Games (2011) and The Moment When…
(2012) - A collaboration between Walk The Plank and Cheshire Dance create a large scale new dance work for 3 outdoor sites across Cheshire. This new collaboration explored the possibilities of co authorship within the making of a large scale work. How can the ownership of the work lie with the community as well as with the core artistic team? A cast of 1000 community and schools based performers joined a core team of dancers (professional and youth group) and aerialists.
'I was absolutely bowled over by the energy, enthusiasm and skill of the dancers, and the fabulous production and presentation that went into the show. An excellent piece of work which will stay in my memory for ever - and coming from an arts ignoramus that says a lot!' (Feedback: TMW… Chester Show 2012)
Ruth initially worked at UCLan as a Guest Choreographer whilst completing a PG Cert in Advanced Educational Practice: Creative Learning and the Arts: Oxford Brookes University and Creative Partnerships NW. Ruth became a Part Time Lecturer on the Undergraduate Dance Performance and Teaching Programme in 2010.
Ruth also holds:
Giddens, Sara, Long, Lizzie and Spencer, Ruth (2018) Employing dwelling to reconsider individual and collaborative relationships to pedagogical practice. The Journal of Dance and Somatic Practice. Intellect. Issue 10.1.
Nicholson, L & Spencer, R., (2013) Engaging with NOS within Higher Education. Animated (Summer)pp. 14 – 16
Akroyd,S., Amans, D., Graystone, G., McCormick, J. and Spencer, R., 2009, Holding The Conch, Animated (Spring ), Foundation for Community Dance, (Spring).
Spencer, R., 2008. A Career Not a Job. Animated, Foundation for Community Dance,(Autumn).
Spencer, R., Early Arts North East, 2007. Don’t Sit…Move!, Movement Languages in Early Childhood Education. Newcastle, June 2006, Newcastle : Whitehall Printing
Spencer, R., 2007. Going Home Happy..Is that all there is to it? Animated, Foundation for Community Dance, (Autumn)
UCLanDance is a Centre for Excellence in Learning, Participation and Advocacy, developing programmes which are deeply rooted in and responsive to our communities in Lancashire alongside National and International work. We aim to inspire and empower whole communities, with access for all at the heart of our practice. We create opportunities for students to work closely with industry professionals, take expert training and be part of exciting new collaborations in the sector. Students build key networks as well as important skills to succeed as dance artists and enrich communities through their future work.
Ruth delivers dance artist and teacher INSET training across the UK, is a school Community Governor, Fellow of the Higher Education Teaching Academy, Cultural Leadership Programme/Performance Accredited Coach and an Exercise Referral Instructor.
Ruth is currently working with Cheshire Dance, the Dance Development Agency for Cheshire, to facilitate a group of artists from across the North of England who have come together to interrogate, develop and articulate best practice in the leadership of dance with people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties through co- creative practice-based research.
2015 RECAP and Curious Minds: Valuing Cultural Education Conference, Chester University
2014 National Dance Teachers Association Annual Conference, Birmingham
2014 People Dancing International Conference, Cardiff
2012 Delivered workshop at Halton Childminder Conference, Halton
2011 Delivered workshop at Halton Childminder Conference, Widnes Stadium, Halton
2008 Presented at 21st Century Challenges Conference De Montford University, Leicester
2008 Presented at Scotland Talks, Foundation for Community Dance Talk Series, Dundee.
2007 Delivered workshop for Movement Languages for Early Education Symposium, Early Arts NorthEast
2006 Presented at Creative Partnership’s Exciting Minds Conference, Manchester.
2006 Coordinated and delivered Brindley Early Years Movement Conference, Halton Borough Council
Ruth primarily teaches on the education and community based practice modules which support students, through a mixture of practical lectures and seminars to develop their skills as facilitators of dance performance, composition and appreciation. All students undertake work based placements in schools and community contexts as part of their second and third year studies. Facilitation is the focus of the third year independent project research module led by Ruth 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 3 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.