Ruth Spencer

Ruth Spencer

Lecturer: BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching

School of Journalism, Media and Performance

Media Factory, ME107

+44 (0) 1772 89 3903

Subject Areas: Drama, Dance and Music, Performance, Education

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.

Full Profile

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:

Wright Foundation: Exercise Referral Instructor (2010)
Cultural Leadership Programme/Performance Coach Training : Accredited Coach (2008)
London College of Dance and Drama: 1st Class Diploma (1985 – 88)


Published Articles: 

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)


Lancashire Science Festival – Dance workshops, June 2015.

Curious Minds – SLICE Project (Specialist leaders in Cultural Education) research project with Gatley School, Outwood School Stockport, Curious Minds, Brighter Sound and Cheshire Dance. June/July 2015

International Schools Theatre Association Festival – Munich, Feb 2015.

June 2011 – Oct 2012: Co Artistic Director (Participant Lead): The Moment When…

A collaborative project between Walk The Plank, Cheshire Dance and 900 participants creating a large scale dance work for 3 outdoor sites across Cheshire celebrating the arrival of the Olympic Torch to the North West Region. 
This 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 and school based participants as well as with the core artistic team? 
'It was truly a spectacular dance performance that was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. We had some inspirational feel good factor discussions about the event on the last train back! A great opening start to the Olympic Torch relay and Big Dance celebration launch in the North West.' ACE

'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!' Chester resident 
This £410K project was funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council, Warrington Council, ACE, Northwest Cultural Olympiad, Big Dance and Marketing Cheshire.

Summer 2011: Lead Practitioner in Curious Minds Enquiry Project: Finding Your Feet. This 8 week project involved collaboration between More Dance!, Manchester Physiotherapy Service and Lancasterian School, Manchester; an SEN school with a specialism in Communication working with varied, complex and multiple learning and physical difficulties. How can artists provide creative opportunities for workforce development with co-professionals? How can physiotherapy targets be supported and delivered through Creative Dance practice within curriculum time

External Activities

External Examiner Post Graduate Diploma in Community Dance at Trinity Laban, London (2013).

Co-opted Governor Belgrave Primary School, Chester

Belgrave Primary School, Chester - Community Governor

External Examiner PG Dip in Community Dance, Trinity Laban 2013 – 17


Foundation for Community Dance

Dance UK

National Dance Teachers Association


As an educator, trainer, performer, project manager and artistic director, Ruth is committed to the potential of physical creativity as a means of expression for all.

Research Groups


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

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Curriculum Coordinator for Education and Community Dance modules

Independent project Supervisor, Placement Officer and 3rd year tutor.

3rd year Dance Teaching In Different Contexts Module

2nd year Education Module

1st year Contextual studies

Independent Project Supervisor

Teaching Resources:

Halloran, J. and Spencer, R., 2011. The Moment When… Creative Learning Pack. Cheshire Dance and Walk the Plank

Halloran, J. and Spencer, R., 2006. ConfiDance Teachers Pack. Cheshire Dance

Spencer, R., 2001. Very Yellow Resource Pack. Yolande Snaith Theatredance