Coventry University | Dr. Sara Reed

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Dr. Sara Reed

Principal Lecturer in Dance and Post Graduate Co-ordinator for the School of Media & Performing Arts in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

My Research Vision

I have had a long interest in somatic practices and their historical and current relationship to dance and in their ability to improve dancers’ resilience and self-awareness. My more recent research expands the reach of somatic practices and their relationship to a number of areas including: pedagogy, training, creativity, medical humanities, spirituality, mindfulness, professional career development and leadership. At Masters’ level I examined eating disorders amongst professional female dancers and, at PhD level, the impact of somatic movement practices on dance higher education and training in the academy. I am currently investigating the theory of Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (Land, 2015) and the application to somatic practice and pedagogy. A key area of concern and development is within Arts and Health.


Dr Sara Reed is a qualified Feldenkrais Practitioner and she trained with Scott Clark and Elizabeth Beringer in London. She is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Dance, Movement & Spiritualities (Intellect Journals) and a reviewer for the Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices.

Sara currently supervises PhD students in the areas of Dance, Somatic Practices, Pedagogy and Arts & Health.  She is team member on the three year, Leverhulme Funded Project, ‘In the Dancer’s Mind’ with colleagues from Plymouth university and Trinity Laban London. Her career has spanned a wide range of dance, performance, arts and education contexts.

She has held senior posts at: University of Surrey, Dartington College of Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Coventry University. Sara has also worked on a consultancy basis, for example with Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Dance East and Youth Dance England. After initial study and training at the Laban Centre she gained an MA in Performing Arts at Middlesex University across the disciplines of theatre, dance and music and a PhD from the University of Surrey. 

Her experience has involved her in interdisciplinary practice across dance, fine art practices, music, choreography and theatre. Sara’s areas of teaching have included: Somatic Practices, Experiential Anatomy, the Feldenkrais Method, Dancers’ Health/Wellness, Dance Pedagogy, Contextual Studies and Professional Practice.


Book chapters and Journals

  • Reed, S. (2017) Dance & Somatics Journal, Intellect. Critical pedagogy and the dancing body in the 21st Century: moving beyond the minimal potential zone through dance-somatic education. (article forthcoming - in editing stage)
  • Whatley, S. & Reed, S. (July 2016) Universities and Somatic Inquiry: The Growth of Somatic Movement Dance Education in Britain chapter in Mindful Movement: The Evolution of Somatic Arts and Conscious Action (Ed) Martha Eddy. Intellect Press (at editing stage)
  • Reed, S. (Summer 2016) Dance Somatics as radical pedagogy:  reflections on somatic-dance practice within UK dance higher education and training in Emerging Practices in Dance: a somatic orientation (Ed) Coogan, J. Logos Verlag (pub) Berlin. Press (at editing stage)
  • Reed, S. (2015) 'Attending to movement: the need to make dance that was different to that which went before'. In Attending to Movement: Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World. Ed.Whatley, S. Garrett-Brown, N.Alexander, K. Axminster: Triarchy Press, 207-219
  • Reed, S. (2010) Developing Dance in Schools in Managing Dance: Current Issues and Future Strategies. Jasper, L.  & Sidall, J.  (ed). Northcote House, Plymouth

Conference Proceedings (Internationally peer reviewed)

  • Childs,C., Holt, D., Preece, K., Pickard, A., Reed, S. (2016) Dance in Higher Education in the United Kingdom. In World Dance Alliance Global Summit Proceedings: Contemporising the Past; Envisaging the Future; Angers, France July 2014. Publisher, WDA (World Dance Alliance) and CNDC (Centre National de Danse Contemporaine) through Ausdance National.

Selected Conferences/Symposia/Papers

  • Reed, S. (2015) The Ethics of Cooperation and Care in a Self-Centred World: Dance-Somatics, care of the student, self and others in a dance higher education context. Paper given at the 3rd Dance and Somatics Practices Conference: Ethics and Repair: Continuing Dialogues within Somatic Informed Practice and Philosophy. Coventry University Centre for Dance Research, 10-12 July 2015
  • Reed, S. (2015) Paper given at (re)storing performance -The Feldenkrais Method and Creative Practice. Bath Spa University, 27/06/15
  • Co-Convenor One day symposium (re)storing performance -The Feldenkrais Method and Creative Practice. Bath Spa University, 27/06/15


In the Dancer’s Mind

The Dancer’s Mind is a 3 year study into creativity, novelty and the imagination, being undertaken by Plymouth University in tandem with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Coventry University. The Dancer’s Mind study investigates the capacity of mental imagery to inspire the creation of original movement material. Forms of mental imagery include visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Funding Agency: Leverhulme
Type of Project: A three year study into creativity and mental imagery in dancers

Start/End Date: 2014-2017
Principal  Investigator: Professor Jon May
Principal Investigator Institution: Plymouth University

Research breakout image

Principal Lecturer in Dance and Post Graduate Co-ordinator for the School of Media & Performing Arts in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

Building: Ellen Terry
Room: ET206
Research Gate