Spotlight: Deborah Norris, Postgraduate Programme Manager and Lecturer in Dance
15th December 2022
In the spotlight today is Rambert School’s Postgraduate Programme Manager and Lecturer in Dance, Deborah Norris. With a focus on Contemporary Ballet and Limón-based technique Deborah has taught Internationally, and across the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and as a guest lecturer at Edge Hill University, Elmhurst Ballet School, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Rambert School for Ballet and Contemporary Dance.
As a choreographer Deborah has presented works internationally in both educational and professional settings. Youth Dance projects have taken her work to the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, and U.Dance Regional and National Platforms. Her company Ballet Folk, has a narrative focus and is embedded in folk traditions and music with recent premieres staged at Cambridge Folk Festival and Counter Pointe in New York.
Q – So Deborah, tell us about your role at Rambert School
A – Officially I am the Postgraduate Programme Manager and Lecturer in Dance, but my job description evolves regularly and therefore I find myself with various responsibilities from teaching Limón Technique, to working with students on Critical Studies assignments and practice research, to coordinating guest lecturers for the Seminar Series for the MA in Dance Research for Professional Practitioners. However, my favourite part of my role is mentoring students in engaging with the dance profession and opening their mind to the wealth of opportunities available to them as dance artists and having a portfolio career.
I have also been working recently with the Rambert Grades team. The new syllabus is incredible, and I believe it is going to have a huge impact on the pre-vocational dance sector and contemporary dance training in the coming years.
Q – Can you share your favourite thing about Rambert School?
A – I love the range of guest lecturers and creative artists that work/visit the school throughout the year, and admit to being ridiculously “star struck” every time Christopher Bruce is in the building! Without seeing Ghost Dances I would never have discovered the world of contemporary dance!
Q – Tell us something we may not know about you
A – Before joining the school, I was mentored by Amanda Britton as part of the One Dance UK Teacher Mentoring programme. Her advice and support led me to begin my PhD for which I am in my final year. My practice-based research is focussed on the role of women choreographers making narrative ballet and feminist narratology, which is manifested in the ethos of my company Ballet Folk. I choreograph works for non-traditional spaces with a focus on folklore, collaborating with folk musicians to create original narrative contemporary ballet works.
Q – What’s your New Year’s resolution?
A – To continue supporting and creating opportunities that emphasise the value of the arts in education! It really matters that young people are able to use their imagination and creativity to express themselves, the world will be a poorer place without art and artists so it’s worth the fight!