Dr Ruth Pethybridge

Job title
Lecturer, Dance

Dr 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 completed her practice based PhD on concepts of community in cross-generational dance in 2017.

Ruth regularly works as a choreographer, dramaturg and researcher on choreographic projects, most recently with renowned choreography Rosemary Lee on a movement installation on Par beach, Cornwall commissioned by CAST. Previous projects have included working with 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. In 2016 People Dancing also published the teaching resource Any Age, Any Body, Any Dance co-authored by Ruth with Cecilia Macfarlane for national distribution. Ruth's research interests center on the politics of participation, dance and culture, social dancing and embodiment. 


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
Doctor of Philosophy
University of the Arts London

Membership of external committees

Foundation for Community Dance
Society for Dance Research

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

Ruth's teaching centres on developing the ability of reflexive dance artists who can situate their practice in a wider cultural context, supporting them to develop their critical creative and choreographic 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 notions of inclusivity and difference in dance, relationality and collaborative choreographic practices, and the embodied politics and affect of social dance practices. Ruth also regularly teaches and dances Argentine tango and practices Contact Improvisation. 

Ruth set up the research group Dance Research at Falmouth (DR@FT) in 2015 as part of Falmouth University's  Creative Connected Communities initiative to bring together the different interests and specialisms of the dance team in a discursive and vibrant forum for the sharing of ideas across staff, students and artists. 

Work in Progress for 2017 - 

Conference Paper: Relational choreography and the ethical frictions of dance dramaturgy in participatory performance
Book Chapter:  From Direct Action to Being There: The Ambiguous Politics of Community Dance and the Occupy movement – (a history of resemblance)

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

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

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.