Arts Derbyshire

Artist profile

Debi Hedderwick

I am a dancer / choreographer / educator (PG Diploma, London School of Contemporary Dance; BA Hons, Music) whose artistic focus is on i) developing contemporary and creative dance as a personal and expressive tool for personalised learning, communication and interpersonal interaction, and ii) creating powerful and relevant dance theatre. I work with people of all ages, from early years to old age, people with different needs (e.g. those with learning difficulties, complex needs, autism, ADHD, sensory impairment), performers moving towards dance careers, emerging and professional artists. I work in schools and non-statutory youth settings, and specialise in creative and kinaesthetic learning.

I have developed a unique programme for people with complex needs, Dance Interaction, in which individually tailored one-to-one practise is used to develop communication, interaction and confidence for people with additional needs and those with mental health issues. I run a youth dance company, Wirksworth INdependDANCE, that works collaboratively with young people to create innovative dance theatre and has performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the International Youth Arts Festival; and a professional dance collective, The Secret Dance Club, that has performed at Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe Festivals, Wirksworth Festival and Deda. As a choreographer I create innovative (often multi-media/site specific) large-scale pieces and enjoy exploring new ways of expressing ideas and staging work. I enjoy working in collaboration with other artists – artists, designers, composers, film-makers, writers.

I am a co-founder and Creative Director of Learning Through Arts, a participatory and learning arts organisation based in Derbyshire that works with people of all ages in education and in the community, in partnership with artists and organisations. Our work is currently concerned with creating work with people who may experience barriers to inclusion and participation in the arts (people with additional and complex needs, mental health issues, young asylum seeker sand refugees), and reflects our core values of inclusion, imagination, inspiration, innovation, co-creation, connection, communication and empathy.

Artist residencies and posts include London Contemporary Dance Theatre Educational Team, Attenborough Arts Centre, Middlesex University, Bedford College, Derby College, Creative Partnerships, Islington Arts Factory, Wells Arts Centre, Suffolk Youth Dance, Cambridge Community Dance, Wirksworth Festival, Usuthu Arts in Mamelodi, Hong Kong City Ballet Company, Toyota City Council, and many UK County Councils.


Creative Genre

  • Dance: Contemporary
  • Additional work: Disability Arts, Participatory Arts, Young people,

Work Undertaken

  • Commissions
  • Workshops
  • Performances
  • Teaching
  • Facilitation

Work in Education

  • Special educational needs
  • mainstream all key stages
  • further and higher education
  • creative and cross curriculum learning.



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