Independent Dance Artists
Poppy Horwood has a background is in physical theatre, clowning, puppetry, hip hop and contemporary dance and is currently studying a Masters in Drama.
”I have a passion for working with people from all communities to find alternative outcomes to telling stories. I like to create in all kinds of mediums but I especially love exploring through movement. In my practice, I believe that movement can be performed by anyone regardless of their background, technique or barriers in their way and I plan to teach this throughout the rest of my career. All bodies on stage!”
Natasha Dawkes is a freelance dance and improvisation artist based in Cardiff. She graduated from Falmouth University in 2018 and has recently performed in Jo Fong's How Shall We Begin Again? She was also part of National Dance Company Wales Laboratori week in 2021 and has also created a range of dance films for festivals in North Wales.
Natasha's current interests are making dance accessible for all and exploring/experiencing repeated patterns when improvising. She is super excited to get moving with Artis Community and Ransack Dance Company in Explore!
Skylar Edward Fish is a multidisciplinary creative artist, with much of their work based in the Torfaen area - their performance credits include renowned regional touring production Jack and The Beanstalk as Buttycup (Rainbow Valley Productions), featured dancer in the upcoming BBC Three series Lost Boys and Fairies, as well as creatively working with Urdd Gobaith Cymru and theatre company Fran Wen as an assistant choreographer and assistant director. They are also a dance and music facilitator, teaching at Shining Stars Music Academy, Ballyhoo Stage Arts, Market Hall Dance Academy and Stagecoach Performing Arts Monmouth. Skylar is dedicated to bringing dance and music education to low income families in the Torfaen and Pontypridd areas and is excited to work with Artis Community and Ransack Dance Company to develop their own practice.
Sydney Robertson studied at the University of Exeter in the UK before starting training at Jasmin Vardimon's JV2 (2015/2016) touring nationally and dancing a triple bill choreographed by AΦE, Vincius Salles and Jasmin Vardimon. He then freelanced in London working with Southpaw Dance Company, Royal Opera House, Tate Modern (Phoebe Davis/ Nande Bhebhe), before becoming a company member of B-Hybrid dance with Brian Gillespie. In 2018, Sydney continued his training at SEAD in Austria and toured with Landestheater's La Gazzetta, directed by Alexandra Liedtke and choreographed by Paul Blackman (Jukstapoz). Since returning to London, he has worked in both commercial and theatrical projects with Benjamin Milan (Box Artist Management) and Joao Cidade', Alex Marshall Parsons and has joined Ransack Dance in Wales as a company member.
Mike Williams is an Independent Dance Artist originally from Swansea, who now calls the valleys of Maesteg, Bridgend home. Mike has been performing professionally for almost 20 years with a career spanning many company roles from Earthfall, Exim Dance, FFIN DANCE, Joon Dance to working alongside several independent artists.
Mike is also a well-established Yoga Teacher with his own brand of Maya Yoga Wales UK where he works across South Wales delivering classes and retreats. He is also a qualified teacher having worked in several colleges and schools and has recently qualified as an Ayurvedic Yoga Massage Therapist.
Mike joined Ransack in 2028 and has performed in their previous production ‘Murmur’ and their current touring production ‘Us and Them’ alongside numerous R&D and community dance projects, many in partnership with associated organisation Artis Community. He also currently teaches and directs ‘Ransack Youth Dance Company'.
Lucy Jones is a freelance dance artist living in Rhondda Cynon Taff. She trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance before joining Emergence – postgraduate company of Joss Arnott and University of Salford.
Lucy has danced in choreographic exploration labs with NDCWales (Laboratori), and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Choreographers & Composers Lab), alongside R&D’s for independent dance artists. She was also a host during Merthyr’s trial of The Talking Shop (Omidaze Productions), facilitating cultural conversations and sharing art with the locals. Most recently, Lucy was commissioned by Make It! and Rhondda Arts Festival to translate her Screendance ‘Treorchy’ (Creative Cardiff commission 2021) into a live dance duet for indoor and outdoor spaces, featuring poetry written and performed by her Gran.
Lucy joined Ransack’s EXPLORE programme in 2018 and then joined the company’s R&D rehearsals in 2021 in a trainee role, before joining the company fully in 2022 for the creation period and premiere of ‘Us and Them’. Lucy is currently enjoying teaching and shadowing on Artis Community’s and Ransack’s community outreach classes and is looking forward to performing in the company’s touring production of ‘Us and Them’.
Alex Marshall Parsons is a Cardiff-based theatre & film director, performer and editor. Alongsdie his work with Ransack, he is the Creative Director of Gary & Pel Live Action Cartoon; an outdoor arts company touring nationwide. Previous credits include Earthfall, We Are Bombastic, Gary Clarke Company, and Sweetshop Revolution and he was nominated for best dance artist at the theatre critics awards. Alex has recently created 'AlMarPar' a physical theatre company creating 'HOUSE' a performance advocating the normalisation of LGBT relationships, funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
Caldonia Walton trained professionally in contemporary dance, graduating with a First Class BA Honours degree from London Studio Centre in 2014 where she was part of Intoto Dance. Caldonia has performed as Fifi in VOXED's Out Late production (BBC Arts & UK Tour), Emily in A Posi+ive Life by Autin Dance Theatre, Elizabeth in Frankenstein (Cascade Dance Theatre, National Welsh Tour) and has been a company member of Ransack Dance Company (Wales) since 2018. Caldonia has also worked with artists such as Tim Casson, Douglas Thorpe (Mad Dogs Dance Theatre), Zamira Kate Mummery (ZK Dance), Dam Van Huynh, Cirque Bijou, Edd Mitton, Hannah Vincent, Lizzie J Klotz and Willi Dorner. She has received Arts Council England funding to create touring dance theatre stage production Weight/Wait and 40-min film ALEX. She has worked as a choreographer and movement director on plays and musicals such as Sweeney Todd, Parade, Frankenstein, The Quentin Dentin Show and Summer Nights in Space. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Practice with Laban & Independent Dance. www.caldoniadances.co.uk
Artis Community Practitioners
Abril Trias is a community artist based in South Wales, with a multidisciplinary background in film, dance movement and sustainable arts. She is passionate about creating inclusive experiences with the arts, and has a range of experience working with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and delivering community art and dance workshops with Artis Community.
Within the dance programme at Artis Abi currently work as a dance assistant in their ‘IncluDance’ youth dance classes and ‘True Colours’ sessions in day centres.
Charlotte Perkins. Following getting to know Artis Community and Ransack through participating in our previous Explore project in 2019, Charlotte is now a freelance dance tutor for Artis Community. Charlotte delivers sessions on their dance programs such as ‘Movers’ and ‘IncluDance’ classes, ‘True Colours Dance Theatre’ sessions in day centres for disabled adults, and their ‘Creative Learning Body Project’ primary school sessions.
Charlotte graduated from the University of South Wales with a First Class BA(Hons) in Dance in 2019, before completing her Masters in Dance Performance at the University of Chichester in 2020/2021. During this year, she was a member of the postgraduate touring company mapdance, and performed works by Yael Flexer, Robert Clark, Ceyda Tanc and Joseph Toonga. Charlotte then went on to work as a freelance dance artist for a number of choreographers and organisations and received professional development, mentoring and support to create a digital work in progress, which explored the relationship between audio description and movement for screen.
Sue Lewis has worked with Artis Community for the past 7yrs. Previously she taught in a special school for pupils aged 3yrs to 19yrs, specialising in drama, dance and physical education.
Sue's role with Artis is to deliver creative dance sessions in four different day centres throughout RCT.
“ Our adult dancers, who have learning disabilities enjoy exploring movement while using music, props and various themes as a stimulus. Our sessions are relaxed, fun and friendly, creating an atmosphere where our participants can explore movement with confidence and enjoyment, this is always evident in every lesson.”
Linzi is the Development Officer for Artis Community. she coordinates a range of arts programmes, as well as delivering weekly and project-based workshops and leads on the community practice training sessions involved in the EXPLORE project.
Linzi identifies and develops growth opportunities for Artis Community, whilst maintaining and growing participation through the arts programmes. Linzi has a high level of experience in Health and Wellbeing, with developments in Dance for Parkinsons. She has a BA (hons) Degree in Dance, a Post Compulsory PGCE, and has attended various CPD courses related to Dance and Dementia, Movement Therapy, Inclusive Practice and Dance for Older People. Linzi has been working as part of Artis Community since 2010 and has gradually built on her professional career as a community dance practitioner.
The most rewarding part of her job is "working with such a vast range of people, creating positive relationships, watching the change it can provoke in someone’s life and more importantly, seeing them smile".
Ransack Dance Company
Beth Hopkins photography
Becca Head Photography
Sarah is the founder of Ransack Dance Company and is Artistic Director of the organisation. She directs the team of dancers, musicians and film artists to choreograph professional production work, alongside designing and delivering on the company’s professional development training programmes, community dance projects and audience development projects. To date, she has led the company to create two full length professional double bill productions; ‘Murmur’, which toured Wales in 2019 and ‘Us and Them’ which premiered in 2022 and will tour Nationally this Autumn and Spring 2024. Alongside her creative role Sarah also leads the strategic business development of the organisation and manages the company on a day to day basis.
Prior to setting up Ransack, Sarah trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Dance Theatre, before completing an apprenticeship with Earthfall Dance Company. Throughout her training and professional career Sarah has performed for Rosemary Butcher, Charles Linehan, Kerry Nicholls, Darren Johnston, Will Dorner, Tamsin Fitzgerald (2Faced Dance) and The Configur8 Project, and presented work at Resolution festival as an independent choreographer. Alongside her professional directing and performance work Sarah is an experienced community dance practitioner and educator and has directed a number of youth groups and community dance projects. Previously she has been Education Manager at 2Faced Dance Company, and a Dance Ambassador for National Dance Company Wales. Sarah also teaches as an independent practitioner on Artis Community's ‘Creative Learning Body’ Schools dance project and has delivered a number of ‘Creative Lead Schools’ dance projects in various schools across South Wales. She also currently teaches a range of community classes for ‘Dance Blast’, Abergavenny including directing their inclusive adult dance company.
Sarah has designed and set up a number of partnership projects with Artis Community which currently run on an annual basis. These include the ‘Ransack Your Stories’ summer school, ‘Youth Explore’ ‘True Colours Create’ and ‘Explore’ training programme, which currently run within a summer programme of dance work called ‘Gyda’n Gilydd’, funded by the Arts Council of Wales. She also set up ‘Ransack Youth Dance Company this year as the organisation became resident dance company at the new creative arts centre ‘YMa’ in Pontypridd.