Our Team

Beverley Glean - MBE

Founder, Artistic Director and CEO of IRIE! dance theatre

Lecturer in Caribbean Dance

Founder, Artistic Director and CEO of IRIE! dance theatre Beverley has been working in the field of dance, in particular African Peoples Dance for over 20 years. Trained at the Laban Centre London (Trinity Laban), The Jamaica School of Dance and The Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba; she has continued her training and development in dance & culture by working alongside artists from West Africa, Europe, America, and the Caribbean. Beverley founded IRIE! dance theatre in 1985. The company pioneered the move towards representing and promoting reggae music and its movement nuances on stage. Over the years, IRIE! has grown in stature. As well as its touring dance theatre company, it has developed a much sought after education & community outreach programme.

 

Since 1992 Beverley has developed the relationship between IRIE! dance theatre and City and Islington College, delivering workshops, lectures and performance projects. Since 2000 she has co- directed a number of performance/research projects in partnership with the College and IRIE! dance theatre including; Connecting vibes Dance Company and the Dance and Diversity project, funded by NESTA and ACE to investigate the place of African and Caribbean dance within performance and education She has worked to develop the new BA(Hons) Diverse Dance Styles, launched in 2018. In 2016 Beverley received a Lifetime Achievement Award from ADAD and in 2017 was awarded an MBE for services to the promotion of African and Caribbean Dance.

Rosie Lehan

Director of Accredited Training

Lecturer in Choreography

Trained at Laban Centre (Trinity Laban) BA (Hons) Dance and Middlesex University MA Performing Arts. Working with Beverley Glean since 2000 Rosie has worked on a diverse range of projects, including Connectingvibes Dance Company for young dancers and the Dance and Diversity project, an action based research project originally funded by NESTA and ACE to investigate the place of African and Caribbean dance. The Project ongoing since 2004, included a research trip to the USA, Jamaica, Cuba and Ghana.

 

Rosie worked as a Dance Lecturer at City and Islington College and freelance choreographer working on partnership projects with Arts Organisations, to provide progression routes for young people. This included working with Creative Partnerships to establish projects such as Raw Skills Dance Project for boys aged 14-19, travelling to the USA for research and to China to establish exchange projects in Beijing.

 

Together with Beverley they created and subsequently led The Foundation Degree in Dance and in 2018 successfully launched the BA(Hons) Diverse Dance Styles validated by University of Roehampton. Rosie now works as the Director of Accredited Training at IRIE! dance theatre with responsibility for leading the new and innovative BA

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Mercedes Lewis

Course Administrator - Responsible for Student Welfare

Lecturer

Mercedes Lewis is a passionate and experienced mentor, choreographer, educator, performer, movement dramaturge, trained facilitator and scholar. She is an African American artist, native of Atlanta, Ga, where she began her dance training at the age of three at Decatur School of Ballet; developing her ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary technique and is continuously inspired by the authentic culture.

 

Mercedes graduated with honors from West Virginia University with a BA in Philosophy and Dance, and an MFA in Choreography from the University of Roehampton, London. She is an educator working in various contexts within imaginative creations and spaces, and has presented choreographic works throughout the US, London, Belgium and France. Mercedes has also had the opportunity to work with the University of Roehampton Dance Department as a lecturer.

 

Her goal and passion is to create a safe and positive community for her students. Mercedes is honored to bring her commitment, care, and listening to each student she works with and within the BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles Degree at IRIE! dance theatre.

 

Mercedes is also the founder and director of Two Step (London/US), MENTSCRETiVE (London/US), and Future Focus (London/US), she is a mentor under the WVU College of Creative Arts Creative Consultant Professional Mentorship Program to undergraduate dance students, university lecturer and the BA Course Administrator Responsible for Student Welfare for IRIE! Dance Theatre’s BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles Degree.

Eszter Ivan

Student Counsellor

I have always been passionate about helping people to facilitate changes in their lives and about dance, when I felt words are just not enough to express and process. My approach incorporates reconnecting with our body`s wisdom and using it as a resource. 
 

I originally trained as a psychologist in 2008. My interest in the mind body connection led to doing further training in integrative hypnotherapy in 2012 and later in dance movement psychotherapy in 2015. One of my areas of expertise is in working with grief, and I am trained in the grief recovery method in 2017. I currently provide therapeutic coaching and grief recovery work for adults in private practice, and work as a student counselor for IRIE! Dance Theatre Company. I am also interested in creative and embodied approaches in the treatment of medically unexplained symptoms and I am currently doing a part-time PhD in psychology at Roehampton University. For more info:eszterivan.co.uk

Veronika Koleva

Lecturer in Contemporary Dance

Veronika is a dance practitioner who works with students and artists across London. She is passionate about facilitating the exploration of movement and does this with a focus on technique as well as introducing creative strategies that encourage students to develop skills to move with intention and freedom.

 

Veronika grew up in Bulgaria where she trained in Ballet, Contemporary and Hip Hop dance Styles. She arrived in London in 2011 to continue her training at London Metropolitan University and IRIE! dance theatre where she trained for the first time in African and Caribbean dance as well as Ballet and Contemporary. She went on to complete her degree at Kingston University

where she was introduced to dance production and professional practice.

 

From 2011- 2013 Veronika was a member of ConnectingVibes* Dance company, and toured across UK and to Grenada.

Herself and a fellow company member went on to set up their own dance company with a mission to “Promote new age dance theatre, influenced by Afro Caribbean dances and Contemporary physical theatre”. The company, named ‘Bokatialo’ toured various London venues in 2015 and still comes together to create works.

From 2015-2017 Veronika was also a member and dancer for ‘What is written Dance Company, is a present member of ‘Movement Deco’ and is working on an independent choreographic project which uses digital media with live dance performance.

 

She has taught dance, including GCSE and Level 3 courses in many schools and sixth form colleges across London, and currently teaches at WAC Arts College and ‘Imagine Dance’ as a dance teacher and Performing arts specialist.

She is excited to be returning to IRIE! dance theatre to teach Contemporary Dance on the very first BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles in the UK

Nina Haworth-Hurd

Lecturer in Contemporary Dance Technique, Education

Nina teaches the Contemporary and Urban Module and brings extensive experience of teaching dance and leading on Dance curriculum in the higher education sector, to the course. She has a passion for training young artists and currently leads the teaching modules, supervising year 3 students as they engage with teaching with a diverse range of client groups

She has an established reputation for enhancing quality through implementing inspired teaching methods which she has developed through practice as a Contemporary dance artist, teacher and lecturer.

Diverse training in Dance Techniques, a PGCE in Dance and an MA Choreography from Middlesex University make her an invaluable part of the BA (hons) Diverse Dance Styles team!

Nina has a special talent for creating exciting and thought provoking choreography and is skilled in developing and maintaining links with creative industry networks and individuals.

Nii Kwartey Owoo

Lecturer in African Dance

Nii Kwartey Owoo is the director of Miishejeloi Dance Theatre (Accra/London), Miishe African Music and Dance (Leeds), Asasa Ensemble a Creative Associate at The Geraldine Connor Foundation (Leeds).

 

Originally from Accra, Ghana, Nii draws on his Ga heritage, including spiritual beliefs, storytelling and symbolism, creating original choreography that blends tradition with current global dance styles. Nii grew up in a traditional royal household and was given the title Custodian of Culture by his elders at the age of 12; he incorporates this knowledge of West African culture and music in his work.

Dr. 'H' Patten

Lecturer in Caribbean Dance

Dr ‘H’ Patten is an experienced performer, choreographer, filmmaker, and university lecturer. A former principle artist in Adzido Pan-African Dance Ensemble and Artistic Director of Koromanti Arts and ‘H’ Patten Dance Theatre Co. His international reputation in African and Caribbean arts spans 36 years. Patten’s publications include ‘Feel De Riddim, Feel De Vibes’ in Adair, C. and Burt, R. (2016) ‘British Dance: Black Routes’ (Routledge), and ‘Dancehall: A Continuity of Spiritual, Corporeal Practice in Jamaican Dance’ in Akinleye, A. (2018) Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied practices’ (Palgrave McMillan).

 

Dr. Patten recently completed his PhD at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK) entitled The Spirituality of Reggae Dancehall Dance Vocabulary: a Spiritual, Corporeal Practice in Jamaican Dance. Patten’s awards include the Jamaican High Commission 50th Anniversary Award for Arts, Culture and Entertainment (2012).

Dr. Patten is a tutor in Dance of the African Diaspora. Co-developing and delivering classes relating specifically to African and Caribbean contemporary and traditional dance practices, critically grounded in DAD theory, cultural and dance analysis and also an associate Lecturer in Dance of the African Diaspora (Kingston University). 

Leroy 'FX' Dias Dos Santos

Lecturer in Contemporary and Urban Dance Technique

Leroy 'FX' Dias Dos Santos is a passionate dance artist who continues to perfect his craft as a hybrid performer and choreographer. Born in Angola and raised in North London, Leroy was inspired by Michael Jackson and his cousins to pursue dance from a young age.

In 2007, he graduated from Middlesex University studying Dance Performance, where he developed his ballet, contemporary and jazz technique. Throughout his career Leroy has worked with HM The Queen, Prince Charles, Jermaine Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jason Statham, Will.I.AM, Jessie J, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Leona Lewis, Sugababes, Aston Merrygold and choreographers such as Jermaine Brown, Rafael Bonachela, Shobana Jesaysingh, Mavin Khoo as well as The English National Ballet.

Leroy performed in theatre productions 'Carmen Jones' (2007) at The Royal Festival Hall, 'La Travaita' (2007) and 'Aida' (2008) conducted under The Welsh National Opera. He is also a member of the street dance sensation Flawless, who were finalists on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. They featured in movies such as ‘Street Dance 3D’ 1 and 2 by Vertigo films (2009) and have currently been touring their new theatre production ‘Chase the Dream 2’ (2018-2019) across the UK and internationally.

As well as performing, he has also had the opportunity to choreograph and collaborate with Susie Mckenna on ‘Mandem On The Wall’ Live Show at Hackney Empire (2015) and ‘Macbeth’ with Twist Theatre Company (2015-2016), ‘Hosea’s Girl’ (2015) a Hip Hop spoken word play written by Anastasia Osei- Kuffour.

Leroy currently teaches dance technique and choreography across different sectors and has had the opportunity to work with different dance institutions such as Urdang Academy, Middlesex University, IRIE! Dance Theatre, Frantic Assembly, Dance College London, Wac Arts, Springs Dance Company and Hertford Regional College, which has all played a significant role to his teaching. Nurturing the younger generation and mentoring them through dance is a key part of Leroy’s teaching and philosophy

Rosie Wilson-Sidlauskas

Lecturer in Urban Dance

Rosie Wilson-Sidlauskas - a triplet born and raised in Northampton was introduced to dance at an early age to give her and her siblings a creative outlet. Training in Ballet, Tap and Jazz and discovered Hip-hop dance styles in her teens. She went on to represent England at the Hip-hop European Championships in Germany (2008) and Amsterdam (2010) Later that year she moved to London continuing her dance training at IRIE! Dance theatre and received a Dance and Drama Award scholarship funding her studies in Professional Musical Theatre at WAC Arts (2011- 2014).


After graduating Rosie worked as a freelance artist in a number of independent projects involving creative, performance and teaching work across London, New York, France, Denmark, Senegal and The Netherlands. Performing as a hip-hop and contemporary dance artist extensively with Myself UK Dance Company between 2012-2019 and The Locksmiths from 2016 onwards. In 2019 she produced, directed and performed ‘Pramkicker’ a two-hander theatre piece performed at The Hope Theatre, Islington.


Rosie joined the staff at IRIE! dance theatre in 2018 lecturing in Urban Dance specializing in Locking, Popping and Waacking also fusing Horton technique in her classes. She is currently undertaking her Postgraduate Diploma studies in Arts Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and hopes it will lead to an Associate Fellowship.

Credits includes; Breakin’ Convention 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 (Sadler’s Wells), UK Tour with b.Supreme 2013, ‘Roots of Rhythm’ 2014 (Scanner’s Inc, Rich Mix), ICON 2013, 2014 & 2020 (Stratford Circus), Festival Alliances Urbaines 2014 (Paris), Nike London Catwalk 2014 (Assistant Choreographer), Journeys Beyond 2014 (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, WAC/ Eclipse Production), Back to the Lab with Jonzi D 2015 (Lillian Baileys Theatre), Spin Off Festival 2015 (Amsterdam), Dare2Dance UK Tour 2015, SubUrban Dance Festival 2017 & 2018 (Denmark), Mudita School of Thai Massage 2017, Nike Dancer 2018 (Netherlands), Love Supreme Festival 2018, Cleo Sol music video 2018 & 2019 (Assistant Choreographer), Surf the Wave 2019 (Bournemouth)

Dr. Adesola Akinleye

Associate Artist

Currently working in the USA as an Assistant Professor at Texas Woman’s University, IRIE! will be working with Adesola to formulate and build collaborative projects that will enhance and enrich the curriculum

 

Dr Adesola Akinleye, FHEA, FRSA , is a choreographer and artist-scholar. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem Workshop Ensemble (USA) later working in UK dance Companies such as Carol Straker Dance Company and Green Candle as well as running her own dance foundation, Saltare Foundation for the Arts in 2000s. She is founder and currently co-artistic director of DancingStrong Movement Lab. with Dr Helen Kindred. Over the past twenty years she has created dance works ranging from live performance that is often site-specific and involves a cross-section of the community, to dance films, installations, and texts. Akinleye’s work is characterized by an interest in voicing people’s lived-experiences in Place(s) through creative, moving portraiture. A key aspect of her process is the

artistry of opening-up creative practices to everyone from women in low wage employment to architects to ballerinas to performance for young audiences. She has won awards internationally for her choreographic work and is published in the areas of dance and cultural studies. As well as her work with IRIE! she is a Research Fellow with Theatrum Mundi, and Research Affiliate at MIT.

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FUBUNATION

Artists in Residence

Rhys Denis and Waddah Sinada teach regular classes on the BA that challenge the students technically and creatively. FUBUNATION provide an invaluable insight into the industry from their perspective as current artists. In 2020 they created an exciting and innovative piece for year 3 students and as performance opportunities open after COVID, they will create a new piece to be created and performed by the upcoming year 3 students in 2022.

 

Waddah Sinada

Originally born in Sudan, Waddah Sinada is a London Based dance artist and choreographer. Waddah started his journey in dance 11 years ago first integrating himself in street and hip-hop styles alongside his community led collectives. Later he went onto train in contemporary at London Contemporary (The Place) where he obtained a BA (Hons) degree in contemporary dance. Since graduating he has worked with a number of influential choreographers and music artists. It was here that Waddah found his love for working not only in live theatre but in making movement for film. His interests lie in creating honest and authentic work where he draws inspiration from instinctual human nature. Over the course of the last few years Waddah has been working independently teaching , directing, choreographing to further nurture and develop his voice as a young and emerging choreographer.

 

Rhys Denis

Originally born in London Rhys is from a Jamaican & Barbadian heritage. He began dancing at a young age in Hip Hop, went onto study at conservatoire’s Northern School of Contemporary Dance and later graduated from London Contemporary (The Place) Since graduating Rhys has been working as an independent freelance artist, choreographing for FUBUNATION, curating events and artistic platforms for the companies outreach. He has worked with high profile music artists and toured internationally with a range of contemporary dance companies teaching workshops throughout the UK and overseas.

He believes in movement as a form of therapy and thrives on the collaborative approach to making work. He feels it is a great responsibility to create art that can exist strongly with communities as much as it does on a higher scale.

 

‘FUBUNATION: We are so grateful to be a part of the IRIE! dance theatre family, there is a special kind of energy in the building that is so culturally rich for a university experience. All of the young artists there are so talented and eager to learn and progress and we always look forward to sharing our practice with the students on a weekly basis, pushing them in the studio and seeing them grow over time'