A UK situated group

TDRN UK recognise Tap Dance as an art form that was created in America born of African American culture and experience. While we maintain close links with Tap Dance communities in the United States and globally, we seek to develop a greater awareness and understanding of Tap Dance history in the UK alongside its relationship to the United States. We highlight the achievements of UK born and UK based Tap Dance practitioners acknowledging their influence and legacy in the UK Tap scene today. We work to generate more opportunities for ‘tap connected’ research in the UK context by connecting researchers, artists and practitioners making interdisciplinary connections to support key areas of research that we can contribute to the community.

A UK wide network

TDRN UK works inclusively with the UK Tap Dance community to feature speakers in our events, recognising their work in ongoing research and published material. Our management team is made up of UK based Tap Dance practitioners and researchers. We aim to support the continued growth of the UK Tap Dance community by producing and curating a public facing program of events that bring people together to share ideas and research. This program includes panel discussions, seminars and lectures and opportunities to share practice and work in progress.

Our Story

TDRN UK began as a result of the ‘Tap Dance Research Symposium’ coordinated by Jess Murray to address an identified lack of peer review and support for Tap Dance researchers in the UK. The symposium took place in May 2019 at De Montfort University in Leicester where Jess is undertaking a practice research Ph.D. Since it’s formation, TDRN UK have hosted a post show discussion with Dorrance Dance at Sadlers Wells Theatre, presented research as a panel at POP Moves 12th Annual Conference ‘Moving Beyond Coloniality’ at the University of Roehampton, and also presented a panel online as part of TDUK Tap Dance Day 2020. We were due to deliver a panel presentation as part of Performing Knowledges Conference at Malta University in March 2020, however this was cancelled due to Covid -19.

Our initial Steering team form in May 2019 included Jess Murray, Sally Crawford-Shepherd, Annette Walker, Trish Melton, Deborah Norris and Karen Wood with Junior Laniyan, Lee Payne and Nathan James joining in June 2020.

Karen Wood

Karen is a Birmingham-born dancer, maker, researcher, educator and producer. She started tap dancing at the age of 4 and it has been in her life ever since.

She worked as a freelance dance artist and teacher in Manchester, London and now Birmingham. Her work includes projects that were supported by Arts Council England, including SoundMoves with Jess Murray, and involves collaborating with other art forms, such as drawing, lighting design and music. This work has shown at venues such as Contact Theatre, Manchester, FACT Liverpool and Vivid Projects, Birmingham. She jointly ran Manchester Rhythm Tap Project and organised rhythm tap workshops. She is co-founder of Manchester Dance Consortium and Associate Director of Birmingham Dance Network and on a Board member for Vanhulle Dance Theatre and Wired Aerial Dance Theatre.

Her recent research projects investigate artists engagement with policy making and decolonisation of cultural dance practices.

Currently, she is Assistant Professor for the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University and her research explores choreographic practices, dance education and artist development.

Trish Melton

Trish is a tap dance educator, researcher and choreographer. She runs a community-based dance school and a tap dance performance group: The Kerry Tap Ensemble. Trish also runs a global project management consultancy. A professional background in teaching and training in project management is entirely transferable to all aspects of her professional life.

Her key research area is tap dance pedagogy. She completed an MA (Distinction) in dance education with the RAD/Bath University. Her research explored the narratives of tap dance teaching: the oral history passed down through the Tap Masters and reviewed what this means for teaching today through practical action research.

Her current research interests continue to be tap dance pedagogy with one area of focus being the use of tap dance repertory in teaching and how the historical and cultural perspectives can enhance the learning experience. She is planning to start a PhD in Tap Dance Pedagogy in September 2020.

Lee Payne

After 7 years of training in the arts and entertainment industry, Lee started of working with small rep companies with in the swing and Lindy hop circuit. He then ventured on to music videos and stage performances for such artists as Enrique Inglesias, Garielle, Wyclef Jean, Brian Harvey, Steps, S-Club 7, The Honeyz The Appleton Sisters and many more. Completing 2 years of touring with singers and this experience under his belt, Lee was asked to become a tutor in performing arts for 2 year in Birmingham. Learning more about himself from teaching it was then time for Lee to move on.Lee took the opportunity to head across to stage productions, Singing in the Rain, Riverdance and Magic of the dance. Fruitful and fore-filling, Gathering knowledge on route, Lee then stepped away from theatre to work in film and music.

With the percussive sounds of tap dancing, Lee began to create music and work in international bands to develop his skills. Staying in the creative field, Lee is now working to create new platforms within in all areas in the arts……And after long last Tap dancing become a strong feature and standing tall.