Coventry University | Simon Ellis

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Simon Ellis

Senior Research Fellow

My Research Vision

My research is fundamentally about how creative practice and performance might help us develop and understand ideas, relationships, politics and people. I do this through a range of practices and activities including performance, improvisation, screendance, dialogue and writing. I’m inspired by working closely with collaborators and students to help reveal and question our limitations and assumptions about how we see the world, and how it might be imagined and described in alternative ways.


Simon Ellis is a choreographer, dancer and film-maker interested in practices and ideas to do with (not necessarily at the same time) power, responsibility, memory, dialogue and screens. He trained as a dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and his choreographies include Full (2001), Indelible (2003), Inert (2006), Gertrud (2008), Desire Lines (2010), and Pause. Listen. (2014). His film projects include Then/Now (2008), Tuesday (2009), and Anamnesis (2010). Simon collaborates with Colin Poole as Colin, Simon & I ( and most recently they presented A Separation (2014) at Lilian Baylis Studio in London. They are currently developing a new performance to première at Independent Dance in London in May 2016.

Simon has a practice-as-research PhD from the University of Melbourne. The research explored liveness, improvisation, documentation and remembering, and was presented as a DVD-ROM. His work as a scholar includes understanding ways of knowing through writing, choreography and film, and in supporting the development of practice-as-research (see

Selected Outputs

  • Ellis, S. (2015) 'Jealousy, Transmission and Recovery'. Performance Research 20 (6), 95-100.
  • Cursio, N., Bott, S., and Ellis, S. (2014) Recovery. Held 2014 at the Substation, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Ellis, S., and Poole, C. (2014) 'Collaboration, violence and difference'. In Žižek and Performance. Ed. by Mangold, A., and Chow, B. London: Palgrave, 209-223
  • Ellis, S., Ohno, C., and Shemesh, J. (2014) Pause. Listen. Held 17-20 September 2014 at The Place, London, UK
  • Poole, C., and Ellis, S. (2014) A Separation. Held 27 March 2014 at Lilian Baylis, London, UK
  • Ellis, S. (2013) 'Dancing with myself, oh oh oh'. Choreographic Practices 4 (2), 245-263.
  • Poole, C., and Ellis, S. (2012) Because We Care. Held 8-9 June 2012 at The Place, London, UK
  • Ellis, S. (2012) 'Through Screens'. International Journal of Screendance 2, 86-88.
  • Hay, D., and Ellis, S. (2012) I Think Not. Held 13 April 2012 at Michaelis Studio, London, UK
  • Ellis, S. (2010) 'Anamnesis' (Remembered)'. 11 (3), 267-280.

Selected Projects

  • Anamnesis. Anamnesis is a practice-as-research screendance work about the volatility of memory. It considers ageing and loss, and the ways in which embodiment is remembered and forgotten. Anamnesis is framed philosophically by Henri Bergson’s thinking about duration and memory in which the human body affords the recollection of pure memories. The film invites questions about the ownership and experience of remembering, the dissolution of memory, and the key role of the imagination in making sense of experience.
  • Because We Care. Because We Care is a practice-as-research work choreographed and performed by Colin Poole and Simon Ellis. Because We Care challenges the nature of risk and difference in collaboration by undermining mutual sharing as the ideal in collaboration. Instead, we adopted an antagonistic approach. Because We Care inhabits a complex performance world – simultaneously ambiguous and direct – that places acute demands on its audience’s imagination. 
  • Recovery. Recovery is dance, ceremony, gathering and living. It is about revelling in the time we have, and in finding a way to keep making things. It premièred at The Substation in Melbourne on Wednesday 3 December 2014.
  • Pause. Listen. Pause. Listen. is a dance by Chisato Ohno (dancer), Simon Ellis (choreographer), and Jackie Shemesh (designer). It is designed to adapt and change each time it is presented. Rather than being a single work it shifts and morphs. These changes are driven by the space where it is presented, and our evolving curiosities and inspirations as individuals and as a team. With this in mind, we encourage audiences not to think of Pause. Listen. as having meanings to unlock. Instead, it is a dance and environment that allows people to simply notice things, or just tune into their own senses and thoughts.
Research breakout image

Senior Research Fellow

Building: ICE
Room: 17