Meet the Team
Meet the ambitious team striving to make dance even more accessible across the UK…
Yogi (The Perfect Pug) -Office Mascot
Hi! I’m Yogi and my Mummy says that I am perfect!
I’m nearly 4 years old and I live at home with my sister Belle. I didn’t have a great start to my life with lots of different homes and people weren’t always very nice to me. When I first came to live with my Mummy (Emma), my job was just to be.. well.. adored!! However, as I spend ALL of my time with her, I learned that I could help her when she wasn’t feeling sparkly and even let her know when she didn’t know herself! I’ve been told that I’m an unlikely breed for an Assistance Dog, but why should the Labradors have all the fun??
You can often find me at events or at Head Office and I help people to pass their assessments at practical training days. My favourite thing is to climb on Mummy’s lap and interrupt a conference call or ride on her lap in her wheelchair.
I look forward to meeting you all (especially if you carry snackies….)
Emma Millward – Head of Para Dance Sport
I am the Head of Para Dance Sport at Para Dance UK, and is responsible for the talent pathway as well as national and international competition within our Sport. I also lead the drive to make Inclusive dance accessible for all, authoring training and CPD programmes (such as the Inclusive Dance Training course) to fully understand and implement translation and adaption to ensure that #everyonecandance
Qualified in dance with the ISTD, I also hold a Master’s Degree in Dance Technique Pedagogy, where i specialised in Inclusive Dance and research into the motivations of teaching dance. In my final thesis titled ‘An exploration of the ways in which person-centred approaches to teaching inclusive dance may eliminate technical rationalism’ allowed her research to expand her Professional Practice and enhance the understanding of effective teaching practices in an inclusive setting.
My work behind the scenes at Para Dance UK, as part of the Senior Management Team includes the development of training and dance products as well as Para Dance Sport competition.
I am passionate in my belief that everyone should be given the opportunity to discover the multiple benefits of dance and the impact that it can offer. With the diagnosis of a chronic medical condition, My empathy and understanding for the need for alternative dance accessibility increased and strengthened her determination.
I regularly speak at national events for art, sport, community and disability, forming discussion boards along with delivering workshops to both professionals and participants.
Away from the office, i love music and can be found performing as well as taking out my frustrations on the golf course! I am never far from ‘Yogi the Perfect Pug’ who is trained to assist with her disability.
Lin McGeough – Operations Manager
My interest for music and dance started young, my grandparents were amateur ballroom dancers so I grew up seeing the beautiful costumes and trophies! I have three kids growing up way too fast, most of whom are into singing and performing so music being large part of my life has rubbed off, it makes for a wonderfully lively and loud house, so i like coming to work for peace and quiet… (In theory, not always in reality!)
I have been involved with Para Dance UK since getting married in 2010 as Sue & Ruth helped us with our first dance. I have really enjoyed the years working here within the growing and changing charity, with all of us working hard to ensure we can impact and create and improve training and ability to make dance as inclusive as we can. I am very happy heading up the ‘back office’ being a support to everyone ensuring they can continue to get out there and grow Para Dance UK at all levels.
Selina Johnson – Children’s Officer & East of England Regional Lead
I started dance at the age of 2 years and have never stopped since! I went on to study for my teaching qualifications At Bristol School of Dance and The Judith Hockaday school of dance where I gained qualifications in AISTD Ballet, Tap, Modern and disco freestyle, AIDTA Ballet, Tap and Modern, BTDA Ballet and RAD TC Ballet, ISTD Intermediate National and also Gained LAMDA ALAM.
After graduating I went on to perform for 10 years around the world covering a wide variety of shows including lead principle Vienna Festival Ballet with English National Ballet, Principal lead with The Boyfriend on tour, Operas, Pantomimes, Cruise ships, film credits The Remains of the Day Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson to name but a few!!!
After performing I decided to go back into teaching where I have successfully operated my own performing arts schools and also teach in many schools delivering GCSE, A Level dance and after school dance clubs. My latest project has been joining Para Dance UK. The aim of this organisation is to make dance accessible to all which I love. The most rewarding part of being a teacher is to see the happiness and joy dance brings to all and to make a difference to people’s lives of all ages and ability.
In Summary! “A creative caring Dance Teacher who specialises in working with young children and adults helping them to explore within to release their creative inner selves. The best part about teaching is sharing the journey whilst progressing and achieving beyond both myself and the pupil.”
Iain Richards – Instructor Support Officer & South East Regional Lead
I often say I’ve got an old man’s name assigned to a young man’s body. I’ve worked with Para Dance UK for three years (and counting) across different departments so I’ve really got to grips with the organisation’s structure and its future ambitions are aligned with my own.
I have been working in the media/arts industry in a variety of different roles such as radio presenting, acting and I have gone into film making. I have made short films and a music video in the past. I have been a camera operator on many MOBO Awards music video shoots. I have won a few awards in my short time on this Earth for radio presenting.
I am a big movie fan and a lover of TV as well.
Sometimes, I’ll be asked to host Para Dance UK things like competitions and anniversary events so if you see me with a microphone at one of our events, wave.
Sarah North – Courses Coordinator
When I started my career, it was very ‘hands on’ and over the years I have moved into roles that are more ‘behind the scenes!’ In my earlier years, dancing was a bit part of my life. I regularly used to compete in Disco competitions as well as attending Modern and Ballet classes.
I still love keeping fit and being active. Paradance is the perfect role, incorporating something that I have an interest in, into my working life. I thoroughly enjoy the contact that I have with the students throughout their training and it is always nice to put a face to an email on the training days where possible! My favourite part of the role is definitely processing the Pass packs….It’s always good to see people achieving their goals and going into the Community to make a difference.
Ann Goodwin – HR Volunteer
‘I’ve have spent most of my working life in the UK book trade, I started as a Bookseller in Foyles Bookshop in 1976, and ended that part of my career as Director of International Operation for John Smith Group based in Botswana in 2016.
A major part of all my roles has been HR and I believe that supporting people in their roles is a very important part of any organisation, as is having a set of transparent HR policies which can improve people’s working lives.
When I took a ‘later life’ career break, I successfully completed a CIPD Level 5 Professional Qualification.
I joined Para Dance UK as their Independent HR and Policies Officer in July 2018, I am amazed at what The Charity achieves and how it is growing, and I feel privileged to be able to add my support and time.
Leanne Welland – Office Volunteer
My passion for dance started at the age of about 5, where I joined a local theatre group performing in a variety of styles. Since then I immersed myself in any dance opportunities I could get and soon found a love for contemporary dance when I turned 11. I graduated from the University of Lincoln as a BA Hons student in contemporary dance, as well as performing in styles such as lyrical, jazz, ballet and musical theatre in the University dance society.
Since graduating, I have performed with a contemporary dance company in Luton, began my career as a freelance dance artist teaching performing arts in various primary schools and community settings around Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and forever seeking artistic opportunities to help my development!
I am immensely inspired by the fact that everyone can dance, and I am passionate about using my experience to provide opportunities for a range of ages and abilities. I especially want to develop inclusive opportunities for those who would otherwise be excluded and create an inspiring environment. I have recently completed the inclusive dance training course at Para Dance, which was an amazing experience and has inspired my practice. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering in the Para Dance office and am able to apply my knowledge from my training course but also develop a wider understanding on how dance can be made more inclusive.