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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Dance: Paloma Styles

I photographed dancer Paloma in Leicester Guildhall. Here she introduces herself:

Paloma Styles is a Leicester dance artist, whose true guilty pleasure could only be, R. Kelly – Trapped in the Closet. Alongside wishing there were more rap operas in the world, she also dances with Fuelled Dance Theatre, and studies for an MFA at DMU. She thoroughly enjoys the interdisciplinary mash up of ideas, like a 33-chapter rap opera – who would have thought!

Thanks to the Guildhall, Leicester for the use of their space.


Portrait of Leicester Dancer Paloma Styles

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Dance: Giada Maran

I photographed dancer Giada in All Saints Church, Loughborough. Here she introduces herself:

Giada is an MA Performance Practices student who loves immersive theatre and dance. She is interested in the moving body, theatre of the real, good wine and sitting in the sun. She’s splitting her time between putting off finishing her MA thesis, working and trying to challenge her body’s limits and gravity in her favourite Monday class….sometimes she manages…

Thank you to All Saints, Loughborough for the use of the beautiful space.


Photograph of Giada Maran dances against a wooden wall in a Loughborough Church

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Dance: Sarah Butler

Working in the independent sector of the performing arts, Sarah is a definite jack of all trades, master of perhaps one of two, including hanging upside down and using hands as feet. Describing herself as a lazy workaholic she is a performer, maker, cake eater and film watcher in equal measure. Feeling her list of ‘things to do’ was simply not long enough in 2014 she became a Mummy and at the beginning of this year set up her own company, butlerdancetheatre. She loves sleep and would like to have more.

Sarah Butler

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Dance: Scarlett Elizabeth Turner & Joey Mottershead

Scarlett Turner is a dance artist and anarchist, her work explores sexual rebellion and other cool subject matter. Joey Mottershead is a performance artist who specialises in making people feel empty and happy. They live in a house together, they hope to someday leave.

Thanks to Silver Vine Arts for letting us have access to the space at The Queen of Bradgate, Leicester.

Joey Mottershead colour portrait long hair man natural light empty space old building

Scarlett Elizabeth Turner colour portrait red hair woman girl natural light empty space old building

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Dance: Ian Dolan

Amongst Ian’s many anxieties is the sneaking suspicion that his face is never quite doing what it should be when he’s being photographed. He has self-confessed loves of both the floor and of being upside down. Having reached 32 and managed to maintain a career in dance he’s currently taking some time to reassess what he wants to do with his body before bits of it start to refuse to work – and while he figures it out he’s happy to indulge himself in the thing that he secretly suspects he’s going to be doing for the rest of his life.

Ian Dolan, man contemporary dancing in the street in front of a door


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