Janet Jowett

Janet Jowett has been involved with FRONTLINEdance for the last 12 years as a parent of a Breakthrou’dancer, a board member and a director. She retired as a fulltime teacher in 2012 after 30 years’ service in primary and secondary education, where she was also departmental and key stage leader, specialising in music within the schools (linking to her own music skills).

Janet enjoys playing the piano and now conducts and leads the Daleian Ladies Choir in Silverdale. Janet has always been interested in music and drama, having been a member of several musical societies and choirs in the past.  Janet now works part time for a supply teaching agency and leads the activities group at her local church’s and enjoys their ‘Messy Church Events’.

Janet’s initial involvement with FRONTLINEdance came via her son David, now 30 year’s old, who has Down’s Syndrome. He was really keen to join Breakthrou’ after FRONTLINEdance performed at Blackfriars FE college over 10 years ago. Since then Janet has watched his confidence grow from strength to strength and his dancing skills progress far beyond her expectations. Janet has taken great pleasure knowing that David enjoys regularly attending Breakthrou’dance and that he toured with the professional company during its 5th Anniversary Tour. David has enjoyed helping out the Artistic Team as a workshop assistant, making his own work (solos), and supporting with administration.

Dave Toole OBE (1964-2020)

Sadly, Dave passed away in October 2020. He was a dance legend, and FRONTLINEdance were incredibly lucky to have worked with him over the last twenty years. Dave supported the making of the first work Rachael and Mike made in 2000, co-lead workshops with Rachael, supported Rachael as she auditioned company dancers, and created and performed in our works; Ignite! and Happenchance 2014 & 2016. The team miss him very much.

We have decided to leave his biography up on our website in remembrance of the wonderful and very talented, celebrated and International performer he was.

Dave began dancing over twenty years ago after attending a dance workshop being held by CandoCo Dance Company. After a follow up residency he joined the company and toured with them for seven years. After leaving in 1999 he went on to work with companies such as DV8 (Cost Of Living), Royal Shakespeare Company (I’ll Be the Devil), Graeae Theatre Company (Blasted), SlungLow (They Only Come at Night- Resurrection) and is currently working with Stop Gap along with others.

He also appeared on screen and TV in films The Tango Lesson and Amazing Grace and in TV shows Rome and I’m Spazticus a hidden camera show performed by disabled performers.

He was a soloist as part of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics, something he is very proud of and was a guest on local BBC news and the Alan Titchmarsh show as a result. Also for 2012, Dave collaborated with a team of UK and South African artists, both non-disabled and disabled, on a world première production for IDFB 2012,’ The Impending Storm’, which was produced with the support of DanceXchange. The Impending Storm was awarded one of the thirteen commissions in the second round of awards for Unlimited.

Dave acted as a mentor for Rachael and Mike during the creation of their first duet ‘Essence’ in 2000, later joining the company as a performer for IGNITE! He returned to FRONTLINEdance to perform Happenchance 2014 (our hospital dance project).

Mary Prestidge

Mary’s professional dance career has spanned 5 decades. Originally an Olympic gymnast in the 1960’s, her first dance work was with Ballet Rambert. (1969-1974). In the mid 70’s after a year in New York in the thrall of the post modern dance and theatre scene, Mary joined forces with Jacky Lansley, Emilyn Claid, Fergus Early and Maedee Dupres and co-founded X6 Dance Space and its successor Chisenhale Dance Space, in London. These organisations provided an important context for the research and development of new dance forms and new ways of presenting work. Mary’s interest in improvisation and modes of improvisational performance began at this time and she brought these new approaches and aesthetics of dance and performance to a growing independent dance scene.

Based in Liverpool since 1995 Mary was key in the development of a dance programme at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), until 2008. With the Liverpool Improvisation Collective (LIC) artists and others, she continues to develop strategies and contexts for performance and artist exchange within the region, nationally and internationally.

Mary danced for FRONTLINEdance’s hospital dance project ‘Forget Me Knot’ in 2015 and 2016 – inspired by the hospitals dementia care programme.

Welly O’Brien

Working in Integrated dance for over 17 years, Welly has performed and taught both Nationally and Internationally, travelling all over the world. She has worked with Candoco dance company, Caroline Bowditch, Graeae Theatre Company, La fura Dels Baus, Underground7, Scarabeus, and others.

In 2012 she performed in Parallel Lines by Marc Brew and 12 by Clare Cunningham, which were specially commissioned for the Unlimited Festival in celebration of the Cultural Olympiad.

She has performed in Trisha Brown’s floor of the forest, Scarabeus’ Heartland, the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.These recent works have led her into more site specific work, which she enjoys every aspect of.

Welly is currently touring her own work with co-creator and performer, Kate Marsh and is an associate CandoCo artist. Welly danced for FRONTLINEdance’s ‘Happenchance’ Tour (our hospital dance project) 2014 and 2016.

Action for Children- Aiming High Programme

FRONTLINEdance are a lead Aiming High provider for Action for Children, Stoke-on-Trent Programme. The Aiming High sessions are delivered in a very inclusive and open way which makes them suitable for physical disabilities and wheelchair users as well as for those with additional learning, communication, social and emotional needs. These sessions are supported by Action For Children Staff.

What can my child expect?

We always start off with introduction and name movement games so everyone gets to know each other a little better.

  1. Warm up our body and move around the dance studio in as many ways as we can.
  2. Explore different genres of dance such as contemporary, street, country and jiving.
  3. Create our own dances and movements.
  4. Perform for each other.
  5. Play games with a ‘dance’ twist and other games that are used to improve communication and team-work skills.
  6. Sometimes we use Disney films as themes as well as using the child’s interests to create our dances and explore new movements.
  7. We use a range of props such as bean bags, balls, parachutes, stretchy giant lycra, giant material covered elastic, hoola hoops, glow sticks and chiffon scarves to create movement, focus and interaction.
  8. The movement and dance session usually ends with relaxation and we ask the participants to feedback what they enjoyed and if there were any dislikes or challenges.

In each session we break for a drink and a snack, and we provide a range of arts, crafts, books and games.

Breakthrou’dance

Integrated Dance for community disabled and non-disabled dancers

These dance sessions are suitable for beginners to professionals. They are streamlined for those who want to come just for fun, and for those who would like to develop their dance skills further – through an advanced class and performances.

What is involved?

In a safe and friendly environment participants are guided through a range of creative dance activities, to gain and develop skills in contemporary dance technique, choreography and performance. Each participant is challenged and taught in a way that is personal to their ability level and communication needs,  within a group setting.

The YOUTH group and aDvANCE group have the opportunity to perform in a wide range of settings from traditional spaces such as theatres to the less traditional – outside, for film, community venues, at conferences and as part of a workshop. This gives the dancers varied and engaging performance experiences.

Dance Style: contemporary / creative dance / improvisation / choreography

What is integrated dance?

FRONTLINEdance integrates disabled and non-disabled dancers together within their professional and community work, and always have done. We work as equals in the dance studio and on stage. This gives a very powerful and unified message to each other and our audiences. It allows us to problem solve, be creative and create moves/dance work that can only be created through integration- both dancers couldn’t do it without the other one… it’s exciting!

We have found that using open-ended instructions allows for the individual to respond creatively and artistically without using language that immediately excludes or creates barriers. This allows the dancers to work with their own unique bodies and preferred communication methods.

The FRONTLINEdance team are trained in contemporary dance and performance and are passionate about integrated performance.

Moving Together

Moving Together is a programme of dance and movement which aims to improve the health, well-being of the over 55’s, those with neurological conditions, and can be enjoyed by all!  Facilitated by experienced dance artists, these sessions are inclusive, varied and fun. You can take part seated or standing. Come by yourself, with friends, family or a carer and be assured you’ll be in a safe, friendly, positive and supportive environment.

Over the last 10 years this specially devised programme has predominantly been delivered in community settings. It remains a popular, meaningful and thoroughly enjoyable way to spend time with peers and can be delivered in (but not exclusively) day care, residential care homes and retirement villages.

BENEFITS of taking part identified by researchers, professionals in health care, and those who take part: 

1. Opportunity to socialise, meet new people, feel less isolated, and feel belonged.
2. Improve balance, mobility, strength, and co-ordination.
3. Keeps both your body and mind active and alert.
4. Prevents the risk of falling.
5. Increases the skill and precision of everyday movement tasks.
6. Greater confidence and self-worth.
7. Increase enthusiasm to try out new activities and places.
8. Increases fluidity of movement.
9. Regular exercise in a fun and enjoyable way.
10. Increase motivation and energy levels.

Find out more about the benefits of dance for older people and adults

Tours and Performances in Hospitals

FRONTLINEdance create work specially devised for hospital settings.
The work is suitable for children, adults and older people and has previously been performed in Renal Units (Kidney Dialysis), Chemotherapy Departments, Children’s Wards, Elderly Care, Mental Health departments, Orthopaedics, Waiting Areas, Outpatient departments, and other Public areas in and outside hospital buildings.

Performing in hospitals is a very important part of FRONTLINEdance’s work. The outcome of which has a significant impact on hospital wards, the patients, staff and visitors.  We create a calm and relaxing environment, make people smile, lift spirits, create a positive distraction, encourage conversations and make people think.

Find out more about our performances Happenchance and Forget Me Knot

more information

Dance For Parkinson’s and Other Conditions

We now run two NEW Moving Together sessions for people with Parkinson’s Disease, MS and other conditions.

Over the last 13 years, Marc Morris Dance Group (New York) have been leading classes and delivering training internationally for Dance For Parkinson’s Disease. Rachael attended one of these training weekends at Roehampton University, London with Dance Umbrella, so FRONTLINEdance can provide opportunities for those living in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

WEDNESDAY’s 2:30pm-3:30pm in Stoke-on-Trent at the Haywood Hospital. To attend Contact us

THURSDAY’s 2pm-3pm in Stone, at The Crossing Community Centre. To attend Contact us

Benefits from taking part in dance sessions, has been recorded by dance participants, neurologists and PhD researchers. Some of these include providing a new way of getting ‘un-stuck’, feeling more ‘free’, reduction in tremors and walking with greater independence.

Find out more about how dance can help with Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions.

more information