Senior 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. 

Contact details



Year Qualification Awarding body
2008 Masters Dance Cultures, Histories and Practices University of Surrey
2000 BA Hons Dance University of Leeds
2004 Foundation in Dance Movement Therapy and Education Dance Voice Bristol
2017 Doctor of Philosophy University of the Arts London

Membership of external committees

Foundation for Community Dance

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

  • Dance
  • community
  • relationality
  • Performance
  • Creative Collaboration

Research Outputs

Publications and research outputs

  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2020), From Direct Action to Being There: The Ambiguous Politics of Community Dance and the Occupy Movement (A History of Resemblance), In: Dance Fields: Staking a Claim for Dance Studies in the Twenty-First Century, Dance Books, Hampshire, ISBN: 978-1852731816, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Pethybridge, Ruth and Lee, Rosemary

    (2019), "Dancing Through the Hard Stuff": Repetition, resilience and female solidarity in the landscape - Rosemary Lee's Passage for Par, In: Routledge Companion to Dance Studies, Routledge, London/Abingon, pp. 471-487, ISBN: 9781138234581
  • Pethybridge, Ruth, Turner, Jane and Parkes, Jo

    (2018), Shapeshifters: Self-organising systems, migration and repetition at the intersection of folk and popular dance, In: Pop Moves: Movement, Memory, Migration, 8/12/18, Paris, (Unpublished), Item availability may be restricted.
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2017), Moving Dramaturgy, In: Moving Dramaturgy, 18th May 2018, Oxford, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2017), Unresolved Differences : Choreographing Community in Cross-generational Dance Practice., (Submitted), Item availability may be restricted.
  • Macfarlane, Cecilia, Pethybridge, Ruth and People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance)

    (2016), ANY AGE, ANY BODY, ANY DANCE, Foundation for Community Dance, Leicester, ISBN: 978-1898409366
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

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

    Smith, Lindsay, (2023), Embodying care: Trauma-informed practice in community dance, In: Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Intellect, Online, ISSN: 2040-2465, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2016), Sure Lines? Reflections on Dramaturgy in participatory dance and performance, In: 'Animated' Journal of People Dancing; Foundation for Community Dance, Foundation for Community Dance, Leicester, Spring 2016 (1), pp. 20-23, ISSN: 0969-7225
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2014), Relative Proximity: Reaching Towards an Ethics of Touch in Cross-Generational Dance Practice, In: Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, Intellect ltd, London, 6 (2), pp. 175-187, ISSN: 17571871
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2011), Five Songs: more than a metaphor, In: Animated, Community Dance, unknown, ISSN: 0969-7225
  • Pethybridge, Ruth

    (2008), Un Abrazo Sin Tiempo, In: Animated, Foundation for Community Dance, unknown, ISSN: 0969-7225
  • Dey, Misri and Sarco-Thomas, Malaika

    (2014), Contact [and] Improvisation, In: Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, Intellect Ltd, Bristol, 6 (2), ISSN: 1757-1871, Item availability may be restricted.


Areas of teaching

  • Community Practice
  • Improvistion
  • Theories and Contexts of dance and choreography
  • 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

Engagement with organisations which contribute to the development of educational, cultural or socio-economic policies in 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.