National Dance Network announces the appointment of Gregory Nash as new Independent Chair

19 Nov 2019

The National Dance Network is today announcing the appointment of Gregory Nash as its new Independent Chair.

The National Dance Network is a group of organisations that support the development of dance in the UK: championing the creation, development and presentation of dance as a contemporary art form in the UK and internationally.

National Dance Network organisations work together to support the UK dance sector to thrive and take risks, and create an environment in which UK-based dance artists have the opportunity to research, create and present world-class work nationally and internationally.

In his new role Nash will be responsible for driving the network’s aims forward, keeping up momentum and challenging it to consider new approaches. Nash succeeds Rachel Gibson, who stood down from the role in 2018, on her appointment to South East Dance as Executive Director.

Currently on sabbatical from his role as Creative Director, Arts at The British Council, Nash brings with him more than 30 years’ experience as a director, producer and programmer in venues, festivals and cultural organisations in the UK and internationally.

Cath James, Artistic Director of South East Dance and a member of the National Dance Network executive group says: ‘We are delighted to have Gregory with us as Independent Chair. He brings a wealth of experience across the arts and in many different contexts, and will help drive the network forward and meet the very many challenges confronting the arts, and dance in particular at this moment in time.’

Gregory says: ‘It is a privilege to be asked to be Independent Chair of the National Dance Network. It was a chance meeting with an inspiring dancer and teacher when I was 15 that led to my having a career in the arts. That career has taken me across the world and across cultures and I call on everything I learned as a dancer in everything I do. To be given this opportunity to bring my experience to support an extraordinary network of people and dance organisations across the UK is a gift. This role will be a priority for me during my sabbatical year from British Council and I can’t wait to get started.’


Gregory Nash full biography:

Gregory Nash is Creative Director, Arts at British Council, on sabbatical until June 2020. At British Council he leads expert advisory teams across six art forms and senior arts specialists in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The programme they create together with arts managers and partners in the British Council’s global network reaches 250m people in more than 100 countries each year. He was previously Director Arts for British Council’s Wider Europe region where, based in Istanbul, he led a team of 25 arts managers and a diverse programme across 15 countries and 11 time zones.

A former performer and maker, Nash was introduced to dance in 1978 by Fiona Gaffney while a member of Worthing’s Connaught Youth Theatre. Seconded to West Sussex County Council as part of post-graduate study at City University, Gaffney was a forerunner of the animateur movement and an inspiring and charismatic teacher. Nash began travelling across the south to study with her and the other professional artists she brought to the region and, aged 16, gained a place at London Contemporary Dance School.

Nash began his professional in Leamington Spa in 1981 with Cycles, the UK’s first regional dance company, founded as a collective by Place graduates Sally Sykes, Cecilia Macfarlane and Rosanne Donohoe in 1977. Cycles closed on the withdrawal of arts council funding in 1982 and was gradually succeeded by Midlands Dance Company and then Motionhouse, which remains based in the town.

Nash went on to perform with Mantis Dance Company, Dancework (Chris Juffs and Tony Thatcher), Michael Clark, Sue MacLennan and Fin Walker and formed his own Gregory Nash Group during a residency at the Old Fire Station in Oxford in 1984. The company toured extensively, winning one of the first Digital Dance Awards in 1987 and working with more than 30 youth dance companies across the UK.

As a choreographer and movement director Nash worked in theatre and opera internationally and received numerous commissions, including for the Glasgow 1990 City 1 of Culture programme. While living in Glasgow he established, with Nikki Millican, the New Moves festival at the Third Eye Centre (now CCA) which, in 1988, presented the world premiere of DV8’s Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men. He taught extensively during this time in the UK and internationally and enjoyed special associations with the De Montfort, Coventry and Manchester Metropolitan universities.

Moving from artist to producer via an MA in arts management at City University in 1996, Nash went on to be Programme Manager at Dance Umbrella where he cut his teeth as a producer working with Mary Caws and Val Bourne on Stephan Koplowitz’s Genesis Canyon at the Natural History Museum and the Woking Dance Festival. He left to become Drama and Dance Projects Manager at the British Council’s London HQ where he was responsible for the Britain and South Africa Dancing Programme leading, through Adam Benjamin’s first visit to the country, to the establishment of Tshwaragano, South Africa’s first fully integrated dance company.

He also created the ForwardMotion exhibition which travelled to more than 20 countries, was introduced by leading figures from the UK dance sector and is now archived at South East Dance. In 2000 he was appointed Director of the Australian Dance Council (Ausdance NSW) where he established the Critical Path programme and space.

Returning to the UK he was Producer at Northern Stage in Newcastle upon Tyne and then Director of The Point Eastleigh, where he established the associate artist programme, opened the residential creation space and appointed Sacha Lee as Creative Producer. Nash moved to Istanbul for the British Council in 2011 and returned to London in 2017.

On sabbatical from British Council, Nash is working with organisations and individual creatives across the UK on a range of projects, is an associate consultant at people make it work, a trustee of Eclipse Theatre and absolutely delighted to be asked to be Independent Chair of NDN.