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Louisa Petts

Dance, Coventry University

Thesis title:

The wellbeing of an ageing dancer: an enquiry into the experience of community dance practice in older adult populations

I am phenomenologically exploring the experience of dance for older adults. My research argues that dance classes for older adults differ entirely depending on the genre, style, and pedagogical approach, all of which have the potential to offer entirely unique experiences of belonging, meaning and access for the participants. This study asks whether dance designed for older adults can be an inherently inclusive space, advocates for improved access to dance that is meaningful for older populations whilst highlighting that the specificity of dance genre in the older adult dance experience ought to be more routinely acknowledged both in research and dance practice.

Research Area

  • Dance


Petts, L. & Urmston, E., (2022). An exploration into the experience of family caregivers for people living with dementia in a community dance class, Research in Dance Education, 23:1, 126-141, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2021.1993175

Petts, L.,Artpradid, V., Hayward-Smith, L., Johnson, P. & Wood, K. (2022). The Shape of Sound: An exploration of our moving, felt, embodied hearing technologies, Riffs, 6(1), 27-43.

Petts, L. (2022). Dance Research Matters, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 27 May 2021, Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices. 14, (1) p. 141-146.


October 2022, Presentation, 32nd Annual Conference of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science 2022, Limerick, Ireland

June 2022, The Shape of Sound presentation and practice sharing, Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human* symposium, Dartington Hall

May 2022, The Shape of Sound installation and performance, Coventry Opens City of Culture, Anglican Mortuary Chapel in London Road Cemetery: Paxton’s Arboretum, Coventry

November 2021, Presentation, Age and Inclusion Panel - Inclusion and Intersectionality Symposium, Society for Dance Research with Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University and Candoco Dance Company, Coventry University

November 2021, The Shape of Sound, Installation performance, Being Human Festival, Coventry University

October 2021, Presentation and Q&A panel, 31st Annual Conference of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science 2021, Denver, Colorado, USA

June 2021, Conference Organiser, Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) PGR Symposium, Coventry University

March 2021, Poster Presentation, Doctoral Capability and Development Conference (DCAD21), Coventry University

Public Engagement & Impact

Guest on ResDance podcast, 2022, Season 2, Episode 6: Reflections on a person-centred approach in a PhD process with Louisa Petts

Guest on SciDance podcast, 2021, Episode 18: Recent graduate research with Julie Ferrell-Olson, Louisa Petts, and Sam Beckman' to discuss my research in community dance



2019, Master of Science - MSc, Dance Science, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Distinction

  • Dissertation topic: an exploration into the experience of family caregivers for persons with dementia in community dance classes
  • Module topics: Physiology, Biomechanics, Psychology, Somatic Practice, Statistics and Research Methodologies

2018, Bachelor of Arts - BA, Dance Studies, University of Roehampton, First Class Honours 

  • Dissertation topic: Using dances created under the Nazi Regime 1933-1945 as a case study, what issues arise in relation to ethics?
  • Module topics: Dance History, Dance Philosophy and Aesthetics, Dance Science, Dance Movement Psychotherapy, Dance Culture and Society, Limón technique, Graham technique, Dance Improvisation and Composition
  • Dance Programme Representative for the University of Roehampton Dance Department (2015-2018)
  • Vice President of Roehampton Dance Society (2017-2018)
  • Artistic Director of Dance Platform in aid of The Amici Dance Theatre Company where over £2,000 was raised (2016-2017)


November 2022, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Visiting lecturer, MSc/MFA Dance Science 

November 2022, University of Roehampton, Guest lecturer, BA Dance Studies

June 2022, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Visiting lecturer, MSc/MFA Dance Science

November 2021 - June 2022, De Montfort University, Part-time lecturer

November 2021, University of Roehampton, Guest lecturer, BA Dance Studies

September 2020 - present, bbodance, Dance science lecturer

Awards and Scholarships

2020, Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Studentship Award, Coventry University 

2018, Trinity Laban Dance Award Scholarship, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

2018, Best Dissertation Prize for BA in Dance Studies, University of Roehampton

2014, Grade 6 Reading for Performance, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art 

2013, Grade 8 Speaking Verse and Prose, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art 

Other roles

November 2021 - present, member of The Shape of Sound collective project

September 2020 - present, editorial assistant for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices