Dance Community Mourns the loss of Thea Nerissa Barnes

1 Jan 2019


One Dance UK would like to pay tribute to Thea Nerissa Barnes, who sadly died on 28 December, 2018. Thea was an intelligent, committed artist and mentor, and was a great source of inspiration to those that she trained, and to the dance world as a whole. She was fiercely passionate and tirelessly sought perfection, and made a significant contribution to dance writing in the UK. We are honoured by and incredibly grateful for her support for our work and in particular her recent contributions to One Dance UK’s HOTFOOT online magazines.

Thea Barnes performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Company, with Broadway and film credits that include The Wiz and BBC documentary Dance Rebels: A Story of Modern Dance.  She was Artistic Director of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Company,  where she secured funding for Phoenix’s education outreach, choreographed several dance works and under her leadership the company set about preserving its heritage by establishing the company’s first archive.

Thea taught, choreographed and directed dancers of all ages and abilities, with students ranging in age from five to sixty-five, and including all levels from novices to professionals. She worked internationally in the US, Britain and Europe in a multitude of different settings including teaching dance in the community, universities, professional dance schools, concerts and theatre, from Broadway to the West End. One of her most recent roles was as the Resident Dance Supervisor for The Lion King in the West End, where her unique talents as a dance teacher, choreographer and artistic director were invaluable to this innovative and challenging role. Thea was an avid dance researcher with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from the Juilliard School, Master’s Degree in Dance Education from Columbia Teachers College in New York and Master of Philosophy from City University, London. She published internet and printed articles in dance journals and anthologies.

One Dance UK remembers Thea fondly and would like to extend our condolences to her friends and family at this very sad time.  Her impact on dance in the UK was immense and she leaves behind an important legacy which should inspire generations to come.