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.

Ademola Junior Laniyan

Born and raised in South East London, Ademola Junior Laniyan has tap danced on stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall with the recording artist Robbie Williams; Canadian Tap Pioneer Heather Cornell in Finding Synesthesia for both the London and Salzberg Jazz Festivals and in The Purcell Room for Out of the Blues with his tap Mentor Tobias Tak.

His credits outside the UK include improvised tap solos in both Riverdance for its European and Asian tours & the Tony award winning Broadway show After Midnight (Various Caribbean and Mexican islands) as well as Los Sones Negros for Suma Flamenca (Spain) with Flamenco legend Juan de Juan, La Serena Festival Internacional de Jazz ( Chile) with Chilean jazz trumpet legend Cristián Cuturrufo, and the Ernesto Nazareth Chorinho Festival (Brazil) as part of the Michele Drees Jazz Tap Project. The Jazz Tap Project were also featured in the 2013 & 2014 London Jazz Festivals and had the honour of supporting the Jazz legend Jon Hendricks at London’s Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Ademola Junior Laniyan also works as a professional actor and has merged both skills on stage while playing the title role in the touring show Master Juba, and the children’s show Mrs Wobble the Waitress as Mr Wobble.

As an actor he played Pvt Bell in Danny Boyles 28 Days Later & The Photographer in Gareth Maxwell Robert’s Kill, Kill, Faster, Faster as well as numerous other television and theatre productions within the UK.

Tap choreography credits include Net A Porter’s online Autumn Winter shoes campaign, Sky 1’s Louis Spence’s Show Business, a commercial for Zain in Lebanon and Tap Dance consultant for London’s 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. He was also commissioned by The Space to choreograph a tap number in collaboration with British Jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch.

Ademola Junior Laniyan has also taught extensively within the UK and continental Europe and South America

In his efforts to share his love of the dance with others, he co-founded the London Tap Jam, a regular opportunity for tap dancers to jam with each other supported by fantastic live musicians in the heart of London.

Deborah Norris

Upon graduating from Elmhurst Ballet School, Deborah continued her academic studies, gaining a BA Hons Communication Studies – Dance from the University of Leeds, and an MA in Dance Studies at De Montfort University and then received a scholarship to pursue her contemporary dance training at the Jose Limón Institute in New York.  Deborah is a trustee/committee member for the Society for Dance Research, Tap Dance Research UK, All England Dance and the British and International Federation of Festivals.

As a dance educator Deborah has taught internationally at conservatoires in Taiwan, Slovakia, Lithuania, and America. She has taught across the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in both Dance and Musical Theatre, and as a guest teacher offering a range of styles from Contemporary to Tap.  Recipient of a One Dance UK Teaching Mentorship, Deborah was mentored by Amanda Britton, and in 2019 she was a nominated finalist for the Inspirational Lecturer One Dance UK Award.

As a choreographer Deborah has presented works internationally in both educational and professional settings. Youth Dance projects have taken her work to the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, and UDance Regional and National Platforms. Her company Ballet Folk, has a narrative focus and is embedded in folk traditions and music with recent premieres staged at Cambridge Folk Festival and Counter Pointe in New York.

Deborah is the Programme Manager of Rambert 2 at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and Rambert Company.

Annette Walker

Annette is an accomplished, multi-talented performing artist who has appeared in a variety of theatre, film, television and concert productions. Her tap dance features include the BBC Proms 2019 Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Swinging at the Cotton Club (UK tour) and the short film, Dateleap (2022). As an aerial circus artist, she was one of the Mary Poppinses in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Annette is the founder and the musical director of the band, Rhythmaticians, and headlined the Marsden Jazz Festival with her new tap dance show in 2021. She also works as a music director and musician for other dance, music and theatre productions with credits that include Swing Sister Swing (UK tour 2022), Myke Masters Band and Sandi Toksvig’s Mirth Control at the WOW Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Annette’s passion for integrating music and dance continues off stage as a researcher and educator and she has taught at many dance and music institutions including, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Royal Academy of Dance, The BRIT School, National Youth Jazz Collective and Tomorrow’s Warriors. She led the Renegade Stage (tap improvisation workshop) at the London Tap Jam for over 15 years, and is currently a co-director of Tap Dance Research Network UK. Annette is a fully funded AHRC PhD student researching the influence of African American choreographer, Buddy Bradley, on the British musical stage.