Jane Attenborough Award Winner: Marie McLuskey MBE
Marie was announced as the winner of the Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards held at London’s Royal Opera House on 21 January 2010. The day after the award was announced Marie McCluskey and Swindon Dance received a visit from the Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for Culture, and Anne Snelgrove, the local MP for Swindon South.
The award was presented to Marie by Jeanefer Jean-Charles, choreographer, movement director and Rayne Fellow for Choreography who, like many leading dance artists, (such as Lea Anderson, Frank Bock, Wayne McGregor, Charlotte Vincent, and Ben Wright, to name a few), has benefited from Marie’s support throughout her career.
The Critics’ Circle Awards further demonstrated the impact of Marie McCluskey’s work in dance development as it was announced that Tomasin Gülgeç, a former member of Swindon Youth Dance Company, won the Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Modern). Tomasin Gülgeç is a dancer with Rambert Dance Company.
Marie McCluskey was born in London and trained as a dancer with Elizabeth Harrison (Watford), Arts Education School, London and London School of Contemporary Dance. Marie started her professional performance career in theatre and cabaret and then moved to Swindon and subsequently opened a private dance school. In 1979, after working as a volunteer with Thamesdown Community Arts, she was appointed Dance Officer for the Borough of Thamesdown. She founded Thamesdown Dance Studio (now Swindon Dance), which included the first ever Foundation Dance Course, offering access to careers in dance to young people otherwise disenfranchised. In 1984 Marie received a Churchill scholarship to study the training and development of black dancers in New York. In 1990 Thamesdown Dance Studio was awarded National Dance Agency status and given £150,000 by The Arts Council of England.
Marie is a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and member of the Royal Academy of Dance and was a member of the Dance Panel of the Arts Council of England and a Southern Arts Adviser. She has also been a mentor for NEVTA Artistic Fellowship Programme