Ellie Gorski at Pappelwick Pumping Station Underground Reservoir

Pappelwick Pumping Station has a wonderful and massive old Victorian underground reservoir. It would still be in use if it did not have a few small cracks in the walls. But it’s safe to visit, which is what Ellie Gorski and I did for an absolutely fantastic dance photoshoot. It’s eery, and damp, but wonderful.

Ellie Gorski dancing on the stairs of an old building, with an arm and a leg outstretched.

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Fluid Dynamics: Dance in unexpected places, a dance photography exhibition

My first solo exhibition Fluid Dynamics: Dance in unexpected places is currently on display at Déda in Derby, UK. It comprises some 26 dance shoots I’ve organised in some interesting locations. The exhibition is on until May 9th 2020, so come along, if you’re in Derby, and see what it’s all about.

Dancers Sarah West Valstar and Seraina Dejaco viewing Fluid Dynamics at Déda
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Dance: Wollaton Hall

I’ve wanted to do a dance shoot at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, immediately I walked into the Prospect Room. It’s faded glamour completely matched the aesthetic that I try for in my dance shoots. It took quite a while to organise, but, once planned, the shoot went fantastically. I was advised by the staff to go at the beginning of the day, to use the early morning light. They were so right. It looked fantastic.

I took four dancers with me: Fern Chubb, Liza Mortimer, Nadine Knew and Scarlett Turner who, coincidentally are all part of Fuelled Dance Theatre who I’ve worked with on several occasions. I’d like to thank them for being generally brilliant.

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Dance: Aimee Lily Williamson

This series of photographs is part of a personal photography project, where I take a dancer to an interesting location, and let the dancer react to the environment. This has allowed me to widen my artistic network further, and build an interesting portfolio for both myself and the dancer.

I photographed dancer Aimee Lily Williamson at various locations in Clitheroe, Lancashire. We had fun exploring Clitheroe Castle, Whalley Abbey in the snowy weather, and warmed up in Holmesmill. Here she introduces herself:

I’m Aimee and I’m a freelance dancer based in Lancashire. I love learning, music and drinking tea. I trained at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and since then have had a grand old time taking my dancing down different paths. I have worked with a ballet company, a circus company, a contemporary company, with dabbles of folk dancing, Zumba teaching, flash mobbing and clog dancing thrown in too.  I am currently working with AbouTime Dance Company that create work from local heritage, and Androna Dance Theatre, that I’d say are quite feminist and politically driven. When alone in the dance studio I’d be found improvising to Icelandic indie rock. I’d also probably be in Ravenclaw.

Portrait of Aimee Lily Williamson

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Dance: Laura Cantliff

I photographed dancer Laura in Anchor Church, Derbyshire. It was freezing that day. She didn’t complain once. Here she introduces herself:

Hello! My name is Laura and I’m currently studying Dance BA (Hons) for my 3rd year at De Montfort University. I love unusual and beautiful art, and eating nutella out of the jar. Dancing has always been my favourite thing to do; as a hyperactive 10 year old, I started classes as something to do with all of my crazy, other than climbing trees. 10 years later I was lucky enough to be invited to DanceEast’s Young Rural Retreat for future dance industry leaders, a place where I decided that dance was where I needed to be. My current studies in contemporary dance allow me to develop my creativity and knowledge of interdisciplinary performance and dance. Through my practice I hope to explore my interest in feminism and politics, in particular, how activism works within the arts industry. Most of all, I like taking risks, being weird, and improvising to The Kinks!

Laura dancing in a cave in Derbyshire

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Dance: Lauren Thomas

I photographed dancer Lauren in an old Church, somewhere in Leicestershire. Here she introduces herself:

So I’m Lauren…. I’m your standard left wing, vegan, alternative, feminist, glitter covered, Dr Martin wearing, hippie. I started my professional dance journey at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and, after two years of pushing myself to try and fit into various boxes and one too many rejections, I decided conservatoire training was not in my big master plan and came to De Montfort University instead. I have recently graduated and, like most DMU dance alumni, I have a passion for weird and wonderful contemporary dance. My specific area of interest lies within politically charged creations that explore issues surround gender identity, performance, and feminism. Through both practise and research my love for vogue dance has blossomed and I have great respect for the LGBTQ+ community and ballroom children. Their struggle against such oppression birthed something so beautiful, gritty and raw. Through my practise I try to entwine elements of vogue into everything I do… Paying homage to the legendary children who came before me, sharing knowledge, and making sure everyone in the room knows that Madonna is a copy cat!

Portrait of Leicester dancer Lauren Thomas


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Dance: Nadine Knew

I photographed dancer Nadine in an old factory in Leicester. Here she introduces herself:

Nadine is a dancer who is just finishing up her studies at De Montfort University (due to graduate July 2017). Her main practices are improvisation – including both movement and speech – and dance performance. She has co-lead the improvisation collective IMCO for two years, which is what made improvisation a big part of her practice. Merging improvised spoken word and movement together became the basis for creating material in the early stages of ‘She’s 12’; an ongoing performance project she has been working on for the last year. Nadine is interested in performing anecdotal, relatable, and light-hearted pieces for the audience, often carrying messages she holds close to her heart.

Thank you to Still Ill, for their wonderful space.


Portrait of dancer Nadine Knew in Leicester


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Dance: Mac Daniel Villanueva Palima

Was lucky enough to photograph dancer Mac at Derby Theatre rehearsal rooms.  I’ll let the introduction be done by Mac:

My name’s Mac Daniel V. Palima and I’m very Asian – a proud one at that too!  I am an androgynous ninja who struts around wherever I go on a daily basis (low key I pretend I’m a Victoria Secret Angel. I even have a dedicated playlist to strut to, haha).

Currently a third year Dance student/artist at De Montfort University (DMU). Originally from Philippines and trained in traditional Filipino folk dances and gymnastics. I have a keen interest in understanding how the body works and the aesthetic in movements, martial arts and tai chi. I love the human body!!!


Thanks to Derby Theatre for the use of their Green Lane rehearsal rooms for the shoot. It’s a beautiful building.

Portrait of Mac Daniel Villanueva Palima in Derby Theatre's Green Lane rehearsal rooms

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Dance: Amy Harris

I photographed dancer Amy in the caves at The Maltcross in Nottingham. Here’s her introduction:

Born in Cairo and raised in Peckham, Amy works with improvised performance to explore concepts of authorship and readership. She uses book binding, videos, social media and live performance as her medium but most importantly, she does these things because she enjoys it. At the moment, she is reclaiming joy as a legitimate reason to create.

Thanks to The Maltcross, Nottingham for the use of the space.


Portrait of dancer Amy Harris in the Maltcross in Nottingham


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