MEET THE MENTEES

Practising Futures is a mentoring scheme for 5 early career professionals; Mike Turner-Lee, Anna Des Clayes, Orla Connolly, Rachel Sullivan and Theo Canham-Spence. Uniquely, the project provides each mentee direct access to 3 hand picked mentors, access to the Next Steps CPD sessions, plus a bursary for practise development.

MIKE TURNER-LEE Opening channels between generations
Mike is a Brighton-based dance artist. Having in spring 2020 from the University of Roehampton after 5 years of studying for his BA Dance Studies and MFA Choreography, Mike has a vision to establish himself as dance artist and choreographer in the south east of England. Mike has been a dancer for Third Row Dance Company, Anna Katherine Dance, Bear North Show and most recently is establishing a collaboration with his father Patrick entitled Ahtuf Kontrol. Recently, Mike has been working freelance as as a supporting artist and dancer for Film and TV. In 2021, he has also been involved in projects as an actor. Mike will be acting in a theatre play in Hastings in October and November.

ANNA DES CLAYES Stimulating reflection and new forms of conversation
Originally from Essex, Anna’s interest in dance and choreography began at the age of ten and inspired her to pursue dance professionally at London Studio Centre, working with choreographers such as Michael Popper and Julia Gleich and collaborating with students from Central St Martins. After completing the first year, she, unfortunately, sustained an injury and decided to undertake a biology and french degree at the University of St Andrews. Both during and after completing the degree, Anna continued to teach, perform and choreograph, in the UK and abroad. After completing her PGCE, she worked as both a science and dance teacher in London, Barcelona, and Madrid. Anna also spent a year travelling around South America where she joined community dance classes in five different countries and conducted research into traditional dance styles and their role in their respective societies. This experience not only gave her insights into new approaches to movement but also revealed the fundamental role dance can play in fostering a sense of community. These formative experiences culminated in a decision to return to university as a mature student and commence a Masters in Choreography at the University of Chichester. Her research focussed on how dance can create a sense of community and culminated in a live art installation called ‘Communitas’ that combined dance on screens and live dancers in the space. In April this year, she was selected to present her research at an academic conference called ‘Communities and Communication’, organised by Staffordshire University. Since completing her studies, she has continued to explore these notions by facilitating a series of community workshops on the South Downs called ‘Dance Trails’, which combined meditation, movement exploration, and reflection.

ORLA CONNOLLY Expanding networks
Orla is an Irish choreographer and performance artist based in Brighton. Orla is excited by the possibilities of interdisciplinary praxis. She works across disciplines and mediums to create visceral performances. Her work utilises multi modes of presentation, often blending visual arts and choreography in order to transform spaces and alter audiences’ experiences. Orla has trained and worked both nationally and internationally in a variety of disciplines and practices. In 2019, she graduated with a first class BA (hons) degree in Choreography and Dance from the University of Winchester and in 2021 Orla completed her MA in Choreography and Professional Practice at the University of Chichester, graduating with a distinction. Orla is an inquisitive and creative practitioner with a definite feminist voice, who believes in the political potential of live art. Her work and praxis is collaborative, experimental and investigative by nature.

RACHEL SULLIVAN Making space to share and challenge
Rachel Sullivan is currently based in Worthing, South Coast of the UK but moves between the different parts of the UK. Rachel has a passion to give space, share and challenge each other in the most supportive but honest way possible. Her interests focus on flow, sensation, attention and trust in your own bodily knowledge. She mostly works with within the world of improvisation and uses movement, drawing/painting, singing and writing as her main forms. Rachel has spent a lot of her time deeply researching her own practice, which she calls Trust Practice. Rachel likes to play with constantly adapting. Searching between the way we communicate and how we can listen and follow our needs. Using grounding techniques, breath, weight, drawing/writing, tension and release to find expression, support and play.

THEO CANHAM-SPENCE Exploring movement as a creative tool

Theo’s experience in dance and movement practise stretches over 16 years and is still growing. This includes dancing for Pop Music Artist Robyn on single performances including a world tour, A commission that was published on the BBC in 2020, and an interview/performance film for METAL Magazine in 2020. Since 2018 Theo has been working on developing a practise that intersects movement, academia, disability and mental health. This has grown into a practise that involves a lot of reflection, rest, experimentation and of course movement. His research explores the embodied experience and how it can be used as a creative tool and therapeutic practise. His practise is rooted in understanding how sensations, emotions, trauma and thoughts are held in the body an how realisation and articulation can support mindfulness, wellbeing and creativity. Theo is currently preparing an application for MA: Dance anf Movement Psychotherapy at Roehampton, to support the long term goal of becoming a registered movement psychotherapist and pushing embodiment, mental health, art and academia from the stage into galleries and educational spaces.