Paula Hampson

Paula has been working as a dance maker, performer and teacher for 26 years. Her creative practice has evolved through her study and inquiry into the field of dance improvisation, contact improvisation and somatic movement approaches.

0056_INSIGHT-8424_web_MEDPaula Hampson, INHABIT 2017 (Image by Brian Roberts)

She has collaborated with many artists, making and performing work in various settings throughout the UK and abroad.  She is a core member of the Liverpool Improvisation Collective (LIC) and has co-organised performance festivals, residencies and facilitated workshops. She is a student on the Somatic Movement Education Programme in Body-Mind Centering® with Embody Move UK. She works creatively in both movement and the visual arts, sharing and disseminating her passion and experience of dance to enable and support others in broadening their creative potential, body knowledge and well being.

Paula trained at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, London from 1986-1990. In 2008 she graduated with a first class BA Honours Degree in Fine Arts. She has performed with The Gregory Nash Group, Maclennan Dance & Company, Julyen Hamilton, Gaby Agis, Small Bones Dance Company and Yolander Snaith Theatre Dance. She has performed at many International Dance Improvisational festivals and has performed with long term colleague and collaborator Andrea Buckley since 1990.

Paula has studied throughout Europe and North America specialising her practice within the the field of somatic movement,  Improvisation, Contact Improvisation, Skinner Releasing technique, Body Work, Body-Mind Centering®,

Authentic movement, Voice, Action Theatre, Low Flying Trapeze, Aikido and Capoeira. Facilitated by artists who are pioneers in their field, such as; Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark-Smith, Lisa Nelson, Joan Skinner, Ruth Zapora, Julyen Hamilton, Kirstie Simson, Yolander Snaith, Gill Clarke, Miranda Tuffnel and Helen Poyner,

Paula has been an Associate Artist with Suffolk Dance Agency, Artist in residence at the Institute for Choreography and Dance, Cork. She was awarded the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award in 1993, The Liverpool Echo Award 1994 for (best newcomer to dance) and a Wingate Scholarship in 1994 which supported the co-ordination of Space To Move, an annual Dance Improvisation and CI intensive, led by International Dance Artists from UK, Europe and the US. It ran for 13 years with continued support from Merseyside Dance Initiative and for a period of 7 years was programmed in conjunction with The Liverpool International Festival of Dance Improvisation (Lifdi).  She was one of the first students to undertake ‘Leading Dance with older people’ (NOCN) led by Diane Amans from ‘Freedom in Dance’.

Paula was a core member of the Artist led dance collective Ch4pter based in the North West with Artists Ruth Spencer and Andrea Buckley. During this 6 year initiative they commissioned and collaborated with Artists including Gill Clark and Rosemary Lee. They developed a range of choreographic projects, performance platforms and delivered dance training programs for local artists in the Northwest and South East.

Paula worked in collaboration with Small Things Dance collective in ‘From Where You Are’, a film created with young children in response to the natural environment of the Welsh coast. This site-sensitive and child centred approach was later presented at various performance and conference platforms. She wasa collaborator on the ‘Invisible duet’ project, creating the dancers costumes. Initially inspired and created with children on the neuromedical ward at Alder Hey.

From 2008 -2014 She was an Associate Tutor on the Dance Performance Degree program at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk.  Facilitating and deliveringmodules in Post-Modern Dance, Performance and the ‘Lived Body’, Choreography and Dance in the Community & Education.

She was part of the UK team who contributed to a European initiative SPARKS – Somatic Practices, Art and Creativity in the field of Care, supported by Grundtvig to share best practice in inclusive approaches to working with children and adults in care.  The exchange took place in France, Italy, Slovakia, UK and Hungary. In September 2014 Paula participated in a 5 day workshop with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, ‘Engaging the Whole Child’.

Paula has taught for 26 years in many different settings and contexts including Academic institutions, Community and residential care homes,  schools and Arts organisations. Her work has received support from The Arts Council of England, The Princess Trust, PH Holt, MDI, Liverpool City council, Year of the Artist, Lottery and Capital of Culture 2008.

Since October 2014 Paula has continued to work with ‘Sweet Banana’, engagingyoung children with autism through creative play, movement and somatic approaches, and is developing Moving and Makingsessions with early years. Improvisation and Contact Improvisation principles continue to underpin her creative professional practice.