Mike King co-founded FRONTLINEdance alongside Rachael. He started dancing in the Yorkshire Dales back in the early 80’s but chose a career as an Outdoor Pursuits instructor and cave explorer. A climbing accident meant a big change. Now a wheelchair user, Mike re-evaluated his values and priorities. After a year of doing this, Mike attended a summer school with Candoco in which he loved, and shortly afterwards secured a Grant from Arts Council England for work shadowing the company. He later joined Candoco’s education team as an assistant.
During the summer residency Mike also met Rachael and shortly afterwards FRONTLINEdance began. During this time, Mike also enrolled on a PGCE at Aberystwyth to start a teaching career.
He later worked as a performer with Blue Eyed Soul on Frankenstein, directed by Liam Steel (formally DV8), Ariel projects with the Flying Piglets in New Zealand, an inclusive performance project with Scottish Dance Theatre, directed a show for Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and created a duet with Michal Popper.
Graeae Theatre in conjunction with London Metropolitan University offered Mike a place on their Missing Piece Project – an acting course with a mini- tour at the end. This led to a TIE piece with Graeae around East-End of London Schools. When that tour finished he combined working as a drama teacher in a secondary school and work with FRONTLINEdance.
Mike is currently a full time Drama teacher in a mainstream State Secondary in Kent delivering GCSE and A Level. When not working, Mike can usually be found on, in, or around water; Canoeing /Fishing / Swimming / Sailing.
Mike believes that FRONTLINEdance gave him the foundation – confidence / knowledge/ professional work ethic /artistic integrity to allow him to re-invent myself (find his true calling as a teacher).
Paul trained at Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre and works in Theatre, Radio and TV.
His TV credits include; Dr Dean West: Holby City, Paul Ball: I’m With Stupid, Michael Scant: A Thing Called Love, Ollie Beresford: Casualty, David Hobbs: Playing the Field, all for BBC. Prankster: Off Their Rockers – Blue Badge Special, ITV
Paul was the first disabled person in the country to gain a qualification in stage combat from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat, and in 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Staffordshire University for services to acting and the promotion of disabled actors.
Paul is also a trained and registered Hypnotist, specialising in confidence, stage fright and phobias, and also performs comedy stage hypnosis shows. Find out more at www.henshallhypnosis.com
Paul joined FRONTLINEdance as a trainee back in 2001 for our IGNITE! Project. He then joined the main cast for ‘A Table for One Please’ and danced for us on our INCLUSION education tours.
Kevin is a PGCE trained Secondary Dance teacher, workshop leader, performer and choreographer. Since performing with FRONTLINEdance in 2005/2006, Kevin has performed with SignDance Collective, GiveBack Dancers, Scatter Dance Company and was a founding member of Deaf Men Dancing, who have toured to Europe and nationally. Kevin has worked in state education as a Head of Expressive Arts Faculty and continues to teach in schools. Kevin just completed work with Ramps on the Moon (as Assistant Choreographer for the inclusive touring production of Tommy), National Deaf Childrens Society as a workshop leader and as a community artist working with primary schools with separate dance organisations – DanceEast and Juka Dance. Kevin is a Keynote Educational Inset provider, designing and delivering courses for GCSE Dance teachers across the country.
Kevin has completed the New Adventures Community mentor scheme; Overture and the Teacher mentor scheme with One Dance UK. He has was accepted onto the Creative Dance and Technology Lab in partnership with the London College of fashion. Kevin is continuing to teach, choreograph and perform within the inclusive sector and in educational settings.
Kevin is rejoined the FRONTLINEdance team for the Discover Dance Residency in July 2017.
In 2001, Rachael set up FRONTLINEdance with Michael King and has since created, devised, fund-raised and delivered many projects and performance work, successfully gaining support from a range of funding bodies since. She has choreographed; collaborated with musicians/film makers/fine artists; performed nationally; taught; created education packs; devised and managed many projects and tours. Rachael continues to manage and lead FRONTLINEdance, both artistically and strategically.
Rachael was introduced to Contemporary dance at the age of 16 by dance lecturers Dee De Wet and Sylvia Farrier, and loved it! She then completed a degree in Dance whilst training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds (1998). Here she focused on training as a professional dancer and dance for special educational needs gaining a distinction in this area. Rachael also holds a post graduate certificate in ‘dance artist in education’ and has taken part in a Dance for Parkinson training course created by Dance Umbrella and lead by Marc Morris Dance (USA).
Rachael has worked as both a dancer and choreographer, specialising in integrated dance and dance and disability nationally as both a freelance dance artist and for FRONTLINEdance. She has worked for a number of national organisations and agencies, working with all ages and abilities from nursery aged children to professional dancers to older people, and a short stint as a part-time associate lecturer in dance at MMU Cheshire.
Rachael is driven by the people she works with, her son (learning disability, scoliosis and a heart condition) and managing three different health conditions. This has enriched the work she devises for FRONTLINEdance and has informed its current Artistic practice and direction. She is driven to change negative preconceptions of disability, provide opportunities, working in community and health settings, whilst being able to use her love of the art and creativity of contemporary dance to do so.
There is an established and growing network in the UK: http://www.danceforparkinsonsuk.org with People Dancing. These organisations provide evidence based research for the many benefits of ‘Dance For Parkinson’s, along with others.
528 children and young people (510 with a disability) took part in our two year after school clubs project. It involved delivery of 5 after school clubs and 2 lunch time clubs in Eccleshall, Leek, Stoke-on-Trent & N-U-L. Along with improved fitness levels, body and spatial awareness, our aim was to increase the participants teamwork skills, self-confidence, tolerance, focus, and at the same time raising aspirations by achieving and experiencing new opportunities and new ways to communicate. It gave disabled children a chance to socialise and make new friends resulting in gaining independence, reducing loneliness and isolation.
In 2010 for 18 months every Saturday morning during term time, we provided engaging and enjoyable arts activities to disabled children, young people and their siblings all of which had a wide range of disabilities which took place in Staffordshire (Ecceshall & Newcastle-under-Lyme). We offered music, music technology, digital media, film, photography, dance, drama, singing, ‘rock band’, visual art, pottery and crafts workshops all of which were rotated each week to ensure a variety of activities were offered and skills were gained. We employed 16 members of staff each Saturday and regularly engaged 30 participants.