The Team

jean_johnsonjones_thumbnailDr Jean Johnson-Jones (PI, Roehampton)

Dr Jean Johnson Jones is Principal Investigator of the AHRC
Breakdown Harmonica Project at Roehampton University (UK).  Her research
examines Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), Labanotation (LN) and anthropological methods as tools for understanding and documenting movement as cultural code particularly in reference to African Peoples’ Dances.  

Her PhD (The Nama Stap: (Re)Constructing a Cultural Code Among the Nama) involving field-research among the indigenous people of South Africa, the Khoisan, merges LMA/LN and anthropological methodologies. Recent research examines the representation of movement and dancing in photographs.  She is currently completing an MA in Photography Studies at the University of Westminster where she is researching Laban Movement Analysis in relation to photographic images.

Kirk Woolford (Co-I, Surrey)

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-16-04-05Kirk Woolford has held teaching and research positions in Media Arts, Design, Fine Art, and Choreography programs in the UK, Netherlands, German and the US, as well as setting up and directing web development and video games production companies in New York, London, and Amsterdam. Kirk is currently Reader and programme director in Digital Media Arts at the University of Surrey.

Kirk’s research is practice-led and he continues to actively exhibit his work in international venues including Shanghai eArts, Casa da Musica, ARCO Madrid, Art Cologne, P.S.1. (MoMA), Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, ISEA, and SIGGRAPH. He has collaborated with Diller+Scofidio, Charleroi Danses, igloo, Mesh Performance Partnerships, Imogen Heap, and others. Kirk publishes widely on Interactive Media and Performance, Digital Culture, and Virtual Heritage. He is currently Reader (Professor) of Digital Media Arts at the University of Surrey where he researches applications of human movement and technology both commercially, and through funding from the UK Arts and Humanities and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Councils.

Sheron Wrey (Research Associate and dancer)

Sheron Missouri Headshot 2007

Sheron Wray is an associate professor of dance and the University of California, Irvine. She is a former NESTA Fellow (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts)—an improviser, choreographer, director, teacher and scholar. She self-titles as a ‘PerformanceArchitect’, receiving her Master’s degree from Middlesex University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Surrey where she developed her theory and practice of Embodiology®, a neo-African approach to contemporary dance improvisation. Her TED talk articulates its distinctionsand philosophy bodily-steps- to-innovation/

In 2016 an essay on her neo-African approach to dance improvisation is in Black Dance British Routes, edited by Adair and Burt, 2017 published by Routledge. In 2014 two essays on jazz dance were published in the anthology Jazz dance: A History of its Roots and Branches, edited by Guarino and Oliver.

As a performer in the UK she danced with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company between 1988 and 2001. Sheron is widely known for her role as the leading performer and legal custodian of Harmonica Breakdown (1938), choreographed by Jane Dudley.As its custodian she continues to restage the work globally and is currently engaged in a motion capture research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities research Council. In 2013 she re-launched JazzXchange in the USA and was appointed guest curator of contemporary performance for the Monuments and Museums of Ghana. Currently her improvisation practice isextending into clinical research with UCI medical centre. She is using her dance improvisationmethods as a form of therapy for patients who suffer from chronic diseases. And in 2015 UK’s National Resource Centre for Dance invited her to place her archive within their permanent collection. In the realm of theatre she has directed Moj of the Antarctic – An African Odyssey and Muhammad Ali and Me both written and co-produced by Mojisola Adebayo.

Between 1992 and 2004 Wray was artistic director of JazzXchange Music and Dance Company,collaborating with musicians including: Gary Crosby, Julian Joseph, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Zoe Rahman and Byron Wallen. For the UK’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival shewas commissioned to choreograph The Brown Bomber, collaborating with Joseph once again, supported by the PRS Foundation. As a result of her 4-year NESTA fellowship, dance of the African diaspora, jazz and improvisation intersect in her concept of digitally enabled improvisation which manifests in the award-winning Texterritory. Texterritory is an interactive performance platform created in collaboration with Fleeta Siegel. Recent productions include Texterritory Congo, Digitally Ever Present and Texterritory USA.

Hanna Wroblewski: Project Administrator, Roehampton

Hanna WroblewskiHanna Wroblewski, hailed by Graham Watts as one of the top five young choreographers to watch, is a London-based choreographer. Her professional dance education began in 2004 at the Erika Klütz Schule in Hamburg. She graduated in 2007 with a first class degree in dance pedagogy and worked as a freelance dance pedagogue in Germany until 2010. She then started her Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at the University of Roehampton, graduating with Merit in 2012.

She focuses on creating solo performances and her first piece, ‘My Heart became this Monster’ has been shown at the Michaelis Theatre (Roehampton), The Robin Howard Theatre at The Place (London), as well as multiple times in various venues as part the GOlive Festival, curated by Donald Hutera. Her new solo ‘Darling,I don’t sell dreams…’ will have its London premiere in Feburary at Resolution! 2017.

Hanna works internationally and has collaborating with artists from different backgrounds such as: photographer Eulanda Shead; photographer/videographer Urban Decay Visuals; lighting designer Justyna Janiszewska; fashion desginer Morvarid Zadehkoochak; musician Bartek Glowacki at Aldeburgh Music and will be working with songwriter Turan Webb.

She thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the research team and assisting them with the administrational aspects of this project.

Cloudia Tonietto: Apprentice Dancer


I started dancing at the age of 4 in my home country, Italy. I began my training in Ballet, and encountered Contemporary dance at an older age. I am now studying Dance at the University of Surrey. During my time at university, I have performed in the site-specific piece REMAKE! by Florence Peake, based at the University of Surrey campus, and in various pieces choreographed by students; I am a member of Actual Size Dance Company; and I have been involved in inter-disciplinary collaborations. I took part in the GSA Choreography Competition 2016 and won the solo category, and I have recently performed with Movement Angol, in a performance sharing held by Francis Angol. Currently, I am working at Siobhan Davies Dance and Independent Dance for my placement year, part of my university course, where I have the opportunity to work across different roles.
As part of this project, I have learnt the piece “Harmonica Breakdown”, taught by Sheron Wray. Jean and Kirk filmed the rehearsals, to collect more information about the piece from the way Sheron taught it to me, and what she said while teaching it.

Sarah Rubidge: Steering Committee Member

SR_HeadshotSarah Rubidge is Professor Emerita in Dance at the University of Chichester. She is a practitioner-scholar whose research over the last 20 years has been concerned with creating a bridge between choreography and technology. Having worked in the profession for 20 years she was first a Senior Lecturer at the Laban Centre, and later became a researcher/lecturer at Chichester. Her PhD addressed the identity of the dance work, with subsequent writings focusing on the philosophical implications of her collaborative artistic practices many of which led to interactive choreographic installations. Her writing has been published extensively nationally and internationally.

This is the latest of my associations with Kirk Woolford on the use of motion capture technologies in dance. As I have long had an interest in issues of the artistic identity of dance works it has been fascinating to watch the progress of these first steps in finding new ways of approaching the issues attendant on the presence of  historical dance works in the contemporary repertoire.

Stacey Prickett: Steering Committee Member

Stacey Pricket - University of Roehampton
Stacey Pricket – University of Roehampton

Stacey graduated from the University of California Riverside with a BA in Dance (cum laude) and was awarded an MA and a PhD in Dance Studies from Laban. Her post-graduate research examined the left wing dance movement in the USA through historical and sociological perspectives. Issues of identity in dance and its relation to society are areas underpinning other post-doctoral research. Cross-cultural aspects of the dancing body were further explored in fieldwork in India (2003). Stacey was a senior researcher in the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance Performance, a collaboration between SOAS (School of Oriental and Asian Studies, London University), UniS (University of Surrey Guildford) and Roehampton.

Stacey is interested in the exploration of socio-cultural issues related to institutional and body politics across a range of dance and performance practices. Recent research ranges from left wing dance in 1930s Britain to current South Asian dance practices in Britain

In 2013 Stacey published Embodied Politics: Dance, Protest and Identities (Dance Books), a sole authored book that draws together four case studies on dance and politics in the USA and Britain, which received partial research funding support from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). She authored two entries for the online Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism(forthcoming) and she regularly contributes to international conferences and has published in the Society of Dance History Scholars and the Congress on Research in Dance conference proceedings. She presented at the Kathak at the Crossroads International Festival and Symposium in San Francisco (2006) and the 2008 Danse et Resistance conference at the Centre National de la Danse, France. Stacey’s dance criticism has been published in Pulse, Dance Theatre Journal and Dance Chronicle.