Jacky Lansley, choreographer and director, winner of the One Dance UK Jane Attenborough Industry Award 2018

Jacky Lansley’s career has spanned nearly five decades. Throughout this period she has toured and lectured extensively in the UK, Europe, the USA, Brazil and Japan where she has presented and performed work within a diverse range of sites, landscapes, festivals, universities, galleries and theatre venues. After an early training in classical and contemporary dance in the 70s, she went on to become a pioneer of the British New Dance movement, performing and choreographing work with innovative groups such as Strider, co-founded with Richard Alston, Limited Dance Company co-founded with Sally Potter (with whom she received a Time Out Achievement Award), the seminal X6 Dance Space (where she was also an editor of New Dance Magazine) and a founder of Chisenhale Dance Space.

During the 80’s and 90’s she continued to choreograph and produce her own landmark solo and ensemble work (including the renowned I, Giselle, with Fergus Early) as well as several commissions for other companies including: Extemporary, Spiral, New Midlands Dance and New English Dance Theatre. Lansley has also worked as a director and choreographer in mainstream theatre, including several productions for the Manchester Royal Exchange, Almeida Theatre, L’Odeon Theatre, Paris and Channel 4 and for The Women’s Playhouse Trust (Artistic Director Jules Wright) at the Royal Court, the Liverpool Playhouse, the Old Vic and at the Bristol Old Vic where she co-directed with Lily Susan Todd. She has worked extensively within the media of film, on both her own projects and as a choreographer for films, such as Orlando, by Sally Potter. 

In 2002 she founded the Dance Research Studio (DRS) an independent centre for dance and performance research and CPD training based in Shoreditch, London. DRS emerged from and is part of the New and Independent Dance sector within the UK; it builds on Lansley’s continuing legacy of innovation and research and is forging an identity as one of the leading international contexts for innovative dance research. The studio has also provided a producing platform for Lansley’s own, more recent ensemble choreographic works in partnership with Hall for Cornwall, Truro, Barbican, Plymouth and the Clore Studio/Royal Opera House (Holding Space, 2004; View From the Shore, 2007; Guest Suites, 2012). She has been the recipient of numerous awards from The Arts Council of England and other trusts, including: a Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship to the USA and the Daiwa & Sasakawa Foundations to support a major research trip to Japan which inspired and informed her project Guest Suites and other works.

Lansley now balances her time between her own creative practice – including the on-going interdisciplinary research and performance project ABOUT US, begun in 2016 – and supporting intergenerational artists and companies through mentoring, teaching and artistically directing DRS. She guest lectures on interdisciplinary dance and performance at a variety of institutions and in 2011, she published The Wise Body: Conversations With Experienced Dancers (Intellect Books, London and USA) with co-author Fergus Early. In 2017 her own book, Choreographies: Tracing the Materials of an Ephemeral Art Form, was also published by Intellect Books. In 2018 she was the recipient of One Dance UK’s Jane Attenborough industry award:

“I am very honoured, proud and delighted to receive One Dance UK’s prestigious Jane Attenborough Award. It is very positive, that through recognition of my efforts over five decades, the award is also acknowledging the importance of the Independent/New Dance context that I have primarily been associated with. I think it is excellent that One Dance UK supports both the mainstream and the alternative dance sectors and while these areas often overlap, it is very encouraging to know that One Dance UK is doing such a brilliant job at representing us all.”  – Jacky Lansley

“From her days with the Royal Ballet and Peter Brinson’s Ballet For All company, then with Strider and Limited Dance Company with the X6 Collective and later with English New Dance Theatre and now her Dance Research Studio, Jacky has created work of a consistently high quality at the cutting edge of innovative dance practice… Jacky has also made highly significant contributions to the ways in which dance is created, supported and seen, through her leading role in founding New Dance magazine and the X6 Dance Collective which offered an important example of alternative ways of organising and supporting independent dance artists. These are the most important ways in which, throughout her career, she has made a world-leading contribution to dance.”  Professor Ramsay Burt

“There is a mastery in the way she [Jacky Lansley] leads artists through tasks towards the discovery of new ideas and ways of working. Her insight, her ability to see beyond obstacles… are token to her wealth of knowledge, her years of research and continuing activity in the field…Far from the noise of pop culture, her work remains ever true to her investigative rigor in an area of the dance and performing arts that often receives less acclaim than perhaps it might, but from which new forms are born.” – Susan Kempster, Independent Dance Artist