Community projects

Dance for all walks of life

Elise Phillips Dance is committed to providing dance and arts engagement projects that offer people a space to: be the best version of themselves in a positive and supportive space, connect with others in new ways, take risks that are positively received and find their creative voice. Elise often works with vulnerable and hard to reach groups, including young people, adults, elders and disabled participants.

Projects are created in partnership with professional arts and community organisations in order to offer participants the multiple benefits of engaging in the arts, such as: increased confidence, improved listening skills, increased verbal and physical articulation and expression, increased physical awareness, sense of connection and group cohesion.

The Welcome Project (South East Dance)

The Welcome Project is an ambitious programme of performances, workshops, discussions and participatory activity run by South East Dance (funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation) that will provide opportunities for local people in the Tarner & Queens Park wards of Brighton – 2 of the top 1% most deprived wards in England – to engage with dance.

As part of the first phase of The Welcome Project Elise delivered short taster projects with 2 separate groups:
– long-term unemployed adults and their 0-5 year olds, where parents and their children danced and collaborated together in themed participatory dance sessions, and
– older adults living in sheltered accommodation, focusing on reducing trips and falls, partner work and making creative choices
– as well as a couple of one-off tango fusion workshops!


Elise has been working in partnership with YMCA Downslink Group and Brighton Dome since 2014 to provide high quality arts activity for young people at risk of homelessness across Brighton & Hove.

Generous donations from Brighton Dome, Dance Touring Partnership and Rotary Club Brighton have enabled the project to deliver a range of opportunities including: workshops in physical theatre, spoken word, body percussion and street dance, as well as regular attendance to professional theatrical productions. Shows have included contemporary dance, Shakespeare, issue-based theatre, hip-hop theatre, circus and comedy.

The project now supports one young person per show to write a show review for publication in a local online and print magazine, Just In Time, which lists and reviews local arts activity.


Elise is thrilled to have been selected for the 2016 cohort for OvertureRe:Bourne’s intensive training programme for Emerging Community Dance Artists. (Re:Bourne is the charity arm of Sir Matthew Bourne’s internationally renowned touring company New Adventures.)

The programme offers the opportunity to learn from the Re:Bourne education team and leading industry experts as well as from the rest of the cohort. The intensive sessions include: advance community dance delivery, life coaching, listening skills, dance workshops from guesting artists, choreographic workshops, marketing and business planning skills.

Everybody Dance Now – Ultima Vez Tour (Dance Touring Partnership)

Elise was 1/10 dance artists across the UK to deliver an Everybody Dance Now project connected to the 2015 tour of the Ultima Vez production, What the Body Does Not Remember, run by Dance Touring Partnership.

Elise received intensive training from Iñaki Azpillaga (ex-performer, movement assistant & teacher for Ultima Vez) and delivered physical theatre workshops based on the work for young people at risk of homelessness in Brighton & Hove (in partnership with DTP venue, Brighton Dome, and YMCA Downslink Group). Young people attended workshops, had a tour of the theatre venue, watched the live production at Brighton Dome and participated in the post-show Q&A.

Due to positive feedback and the needs of the client group, delivery was extended and become the ongoing Audience Club project.

BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES (Hangleton Community Centre)

In January 2013 & 2014 Elise led a number of workshops as part of the ‘Beat the January Blues’ initiative that ran at Hangleton Community Centre. Initially intended as one-off workshops, high demand turned into weekly classes. Sessions explored tribal fusion belly dance technique, leaving plenty of space to bond as a group of women, finding personal pathways through movement and space for adaptation. Workshops and classes were attended by adults, young people, mothers, mothers-to-be and grandmas living in the Hangleton area of Brighton.

The Art of Touch (Rosetta Life / Laban)

The Art of Touch was an education programme and research project proposed by Rosetta Life in collaboration with Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, London and supported by Guys & St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation. Elise was trained in Leading Dance in End of Life Care Contexts and was placed in residence in hospices and nursing homes across South London.

Elise worked alongside Susannah Recchia and Heidi Mettiäinen, with support from Miranda Tufnell, assisting planning and delivery of intergenerational dance sessions in a care home setting for older adults with dementia and 6 year old children. Elise also gained  experience with Lucinda Jarrett (Rosetta Life) in an end of life care centre for children and with Chris Thompson (ex- Ludus & The Place) on a stroke ward at St Guy’s Hospital, London.

Elise presented the research and lead a practical workshop for professionals at the Creative Dementia Arts Network (June 2012) on behalf of Rosetta Life.

“Elise is an insightful researcher and is tireless in her pursuit and her enquiry of good practice. She is thoughtful and able to act on her thinking and adapt and change practice. She is also compassionate and has extraordinary empathy for those she works with. I recommend her highly and hope she is able to continue to combine her intelligence with dance practice articulation and delivery”
Lucinda Jarrett, Executive Producer & Co Director at Rosetta Life

Let's work together...

If you are a community organisation, charity or public service and you would like to create a bespoke project for your group or staff, please get in touch to see what we can create.

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