Ruth Pethybridge

Job title
Lecturer, Dance

Ruth Pethybridge is a choreographer, facilitator and researcher. She has delivered dance in diverse settings with all ages: from babies to the elderly and everything in between. Her socially engaged practice emphasises creativity in choreographic processes, finding ways to form people's unique choices and ways of moving into choreographic work and blurring the lines between social gathering and performance . She joined Falmouth University as a lecturer in 2013 and submitted her practice based PhD on concepts of community in Cross-generational dance in 2017.

Previous projects have included working with Rosemary Lee for Dance Umbrella, Charlie Morrissey and Anjali Dance Company, as well as for Pegasus Theatre, and in roles such as education coordinator for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. In 2008 Ruth facilitated the first Age Inclusive National College for Community Dance course for People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance) and authored the corresponding handbook. People Dancing also published the teaching resource Any Age, Any Body, Any Dance co-authored by Ruth with Cecilia Macfarlane in 2016 for national distribution.  Ruth's research interests center on the politics of participation and how art can contribute to societal change at micro and macro levels.


YearQualificationAwarding body
Masters Dance Cultures, Histories and Practices
University of Surrey
BA Hons Dance
University of Leeds
Foundation in Dance Movement Therapy and Education
Dance Voice Bristol

Membership of external committees

Foundation for Community Dance
Society for Dance Research

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

Ruth is passionate about developing the ability of reflexive dance artists who can situate their practice in a wider cultural context, and transferring the importance of this to students, helping them to develop their critical creative voice. Ruth has presented her academic work at key conferences and is regularly invited to talk at institutions across the UK. She is particularly interested in discourses that support discussions of inclusivity and difference in dance, relationality and collaborative choreographic practices. Ruth's PhD research focuses on cross-generational dance as an embodiment of difference and the way this may or may not create communities. She is interested in how radical theories of community can influence a dance artist's choices in the studio and 'lived philosophy' as a way of working.

Research topics

Creative Collaboration

Research outputs

Publications and research outputs


Pethybridge, Ruth (2014) Relative Proximity: Reaching Towards an Ethics of Touch in Cross-Generational Dance Practice. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 6 (2). ISSN 17571871

Pethybridge, Ruth (2011) Five Songs: more than a metaphor. Animated, Winter. ISSN 0969-7225

Pethybridge, Ruth (2008) Un Abrazo Sin Tiempo. Animated, Autumn. ISSN 0969-7225


Pethybridge, Ruth (2010) Dance and Age Inclusive Practice. Foundation for Community Dance, unknown. ISBN 978-1-898409-09-0


Areas of teaching

Community Practice
Theories and Contexts of dance and choreography
Dance Research
Argentine Tango
Socially Engaged Practice

Courses taught

BA(Hons) Dance & Choreography
BA(Hons) Dance & Performance

CPD delivered

National Summer School for Community Dance. Age Inclusive Practice: facilitating dance leaders in the community to work with mixed age groups (2010, 2011).

Policy engagement within Cornwall

In 2013 Ruth set up Dance for Parkinson's, Cornwall, which continues to run with sessions led by local dance artist Jayne Devlin, supported by Arts for Health, Cornwall.