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Sonia Rafferty

Programme Leader: BSc Dance Science


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Dance
Laban Building

Tel: +44 (0)20 8691 8600


Area of Work

Dance technique, Dance fitness, Resourcing Performance, Repertory and Performance Projects


Sonia has been a member of the Dance Faculty at Trinity Laban since 1991, contributing to many of the different programmes in a diverse range of roles. She trained at the Laban Centre, gaining a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre, before becoming a member of the first cohort of the Advanced Performance Course, Transitions Dance Company. In 2004, she was also one of the first cohort of the MSc Dance Science at Trinity Laban, graduating with Distinction. 

Describing herself as an ‘academic artist’, Sonia has over thirty years experience as a performer, teacher, choreographer, director, mentor, researcher, consultant and author. She has had a long performing career: As a dancer/singer with the innovative electric voice dance company, La Bouche, she toured extensively with original electronic music and dance works by the company and commissioned choreographers, including Lloyd Newson, Lea Anderson, Ashley Page and Lidy Mouw. La Bouche performed in a wide variety of contexts including televised appearances, the theatre circuit, clubs and festivals, including Glasgow Mayfest, the Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury Festival Pyramid stage. The company also produced several albums, culminating in a record contract with CBS Records. Sonia also performed with V-Tol Dance Company and with several independent choreographers, most recently in site-specific work with Athina Vahla and Lizzi Kew Ross.

Sonia is an established dance technique teacher and has regularly delivered workshops and masterclasses in the UK and internationally. During her teaching career, she has provided professional level classes and company class for many high profile companies including Adventures in Motion Pictures, Balletboyz, Candoco, the Cholmondeleys, Clod Ensemble, DV8, Hofesh Schecter, Protein Dance, Random, Shobana Jeyasingh, Siobhan Davies and Springs Dance Company. She has directed and choreographed for her own company, Blueprint Dance Company, and co-directs Double Vision Dance Company with Amanda Gough, working on several large scale site-specific community commissions.

In her role as a consultant in safe and healthy dance practice, Sonia provides professional development for companies, agencies and training institutions.  She is Co-Founder of Safe in Dance International (SiDI), developing a range of Healthy Dance Certificates for dance practitioners to evidence their knowledge in this area, also working with awarding bodies and universities worldwide to integrate healthy dance principles into teacher training and practice. She is co-author of “Safe Dance Practice: An applied dance science perspective”, which has become a seminal text in the field. Sonia has presented at several conferences, as well as authoring and co-authoring a number of research and Journal articles. Her research interests range from dance specific fitness to the embodied practices of dance technique teachers. These combined interests have led to qualifications as a Personal Trainer, experience as a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Education Committee, an External Examiner role in Dance and Fitness and peer reviews of Journal and book proposals. As a portfolio practitioner herself, Sonia’s main focus is to combine all these fields so that dance science, pedagogical research and an understanding of the conditioning needs of dancers can together inform training, performance and curriculum planning.


  • 2014: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • 2003: MSc Dance Science (Distinction), Laban
  • 1984: Advanced Performance Course Diploma, Laban
  • 1983: BA (Hons) Dance Theatre, Laban
  • 3 A-levels, 11 O-levels, St Joseph’s Comprehensive, Workington


  • 2010-12: Lizzi Kew-Ross – “Without Warning”
  • 2000-08: Athina Vahla – “The Listening Post”, Science Museum site-specific commission 2008, “Wrestling an Angel” 2004, “Sonia Says” 2000 and 2002
  • 1997-2003: Erica Stanton – “Gravity” 2003, Erica Stanton/Marion Gough – “Locus” 1997-8.     
  • 2001:Mothers of Invention – “My Mother, My Daughter, Myself”.
  • 1996: V-TOL – “By Force of Fantasy”.
  • 1994-5: Nikky Smedley and Dancers – “Talking of the Sex of Angels”
  • 1992: Scott Clark – “In the Upper Room”
  • 1991: Julie Blackman – “Anatomy of a Conversation”.
  • 1990-93: Dale Thompson “Monolith” 1990 and “Mandala” 1993.
  • 1986-91: Dancer/singer with  electric voice dance performance group, La Bouche (dance, voice and live sound mixing). Several albums of original songs/music and recording contract with CBS Records 1990. Choreographers: Lloyd Newson, Ashley Page, Lea Anderson, Pete Purdy, Lidy Mauw, the company. Extensive national and international touring and TV appearances: Edinburgh Fringe, Glasgow Mayfest, Glastonbury Festival Pyramid Stage and Theatre Tent, “Harty in Edinburgh”, “Acropolis Now” for Scottish TV, “Celebration” for Granada TV, “01for London”, “Folio” for Anglia TV.
  • 1986: Scott Clark – “Heaven Somewhere”.
  • 1985 : Philip Grosser – “U-Totem”
  • 1984 : Luis Gonzalez – “Night Song”.

Choreography and Direction

  • 2015: “Sphere of Influence” Double Vision (with Amanda Gough) commission for TrinityLaban Centre for Advanced Training students.
  • 2012 – 2015: New works for  TrinityLaban BA1 Performance Project, “Experimental Wings”, “Imprints and Shadows”, “Black Velvet Blanket” and “The Butterfly Effect”.
  • 2011: “ABBVN” for Virginia Rep Touring Company. Commissioned by James Madison University, Virginia, USA.
  • 2011: “The Stone Diaries” Double Vision with Amanda Gough, Laban BA3 Commissioned Work.
  • 1997-present: Co-director of Double Vision Dance Company with Amanda Gough. “After Images”  site specific piece for 50 local children and the Company at Lacock Abbey, commissioned by National Trust/Lacock Education 2003. “Sowing the seeds” site-specific piece for local children and the Company at the Courts Garden, commissioned by National Trust/Lacock Education 2002. “In:site” for Double Vision and “In:sense” for local community dancers, Millenium Project commissioned by the Derngate Theatre, Northhampton 2000. “Double Vision, Second Sight” full length A4E lottery funded work which also commissioned choreographer Fiona Edwards 1998. “Sonnet” choreographed and performed with Amanda Gough 1997.
  • 1996-99: “Slipstitch”, “Satellite”, “Lexicon”, and “Circa ‘74” for Lewisham College Touring Company.
  • 1996-7: Director and choreographer of Arts Council funded Shawbrook Summer school, Co Longford, Ireland. “Prophecy” 1996, “Between wind and water” 1997.
  • 1992-4: Recipient of Arts Council bursary to train as an Artistic Director, Thamesdown  National Dance Agency, Swindon. Artistic Director and choreographer for Blueprint Dance Company, “Dreaming Like a Tall Man” 1992, “Common Denominator” 1993.
  • 1994: Artistic Director of  the “Kaleidoscope” Project, a European Union funded venture initiated by The Council For Dance Education and Training to explore, in a cross-cultural context, the role of Dance in the National Vocational Qualification framework. 

    “Terra Incognita” created in Rotterdam on eight dancers from Great Britain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.                      

  • 1994: Workshops and performance project with South East London schools, including the Brit School, and Blueprint Dance Company.
  • 1992: Collaboration with composer Philip Chambon  – “Shoal”
  • 1984-5: Co-founded Group 6 Dance Company, workshops in schools around the UK, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bath Festival, Chelsea Arts Fair fashion show.   

Interests and Achievements

  • London 2012 Olympic Games Opening and Closing ceremonies volunteer performer -Industrial Revolution Pandemonium Drummer and Marshall.
  • Costume design for Mark Bruce “Angel” 1996 and Mark Bruce/PJ Harvey collaboration “Dance Hall at Louse Point”, Queen Elizabeth Hall 1997.  Costume realisation Erica Stanton/Marion Gough “Locus” 1997. Costume design and realisation Double Vision Dance Company “Double Vision, Second Sight” 1998.
  • University College Union Branch Executive representative (Treasurer) 2011-2014
  • Sports First Aid Certificate – St Johns Ambulance.

Teaching Experience

  • 1991 – present: TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Senior Lecturer: Dance Technique, Dance Fitness, Performance and Repertory modules, Choreography, Dance Science and Well-being modules, Academic Tutor, Undergraduate and Masters Project Tutor, Component and Module Leader, Student Union master classes.

Education/Learning and Participation: Career Days, Teachers Days, CAT Programme, DTAP pilot.

Initiatives and teams: Injury Report, Dancer’s Physique Report, Working Practice sessions, Blue Sky sessions, Health Research team.

  • 2014 – 2019: Bucks New University, External Examiner for BA Dance and Fitness.
  • 2005: University of Roehampton, Anatomy and Kinesiology lecturer.
  • 1999-2004: Lewisham College, External Examiner for Dance Technique.
  • 1997: De Montford University, Dance Technique and Repertory.
  • 1995-96: Lewisham College, Dance Technique teacher.
  • 1985 – present:

Professional/company classes, summer schools, festivals, workshops:  Greenwich Dance, The Place Artist Development, South East Dance, Hampshire Dance, TrinityLaban, James Madison University London summer school.

Company teacher: Adventures in Motion Pictures, Bare Bones, Candoco, The Cholmondeleys, Clod Ensemble, DV8, Hofesh Schechter, Imlata, New Adventures, Protein Dance, Random, RDC Youth, Shobana Jeyasingh, Siobhan Davies, Springs Dance Company, V-Tol.

International master classes: Ireland, Venice Bienalle, Naples, USA.                           

Professional and company development activities and mentoring: BalletBoyz Dancers’ Training Course, Candoco, Maelstrom Dance, Greenwich Dance, University of Roehampton.

Creative Outputs

  • 2015: Co-author of “Safe dance practice: An applied dance science perspective” published by Human Kinetics.
  • 2014: Senior Associate for Safe in Dance International (SiDI). Development of the “Healthy Dance Practice” initiatives.
  • 2009 – 2013: Member of Steering Committee, Lead Assessor and Consultant for Trinity College London “Certificate in Safe and Effective Dance Practice”.
  • 2006 – 2014: Member of Education Committee (including Deputy Chair role), International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).
  • Publications and presentations

Presenter: NIDMS and Dance UK Healthier Dancer Programme, “Strength and Conditioning in Dance” Conference, Elmhurst School of Dance, October 2015.

Resource paper: “Dance Fitness”. Irvine S., Redding, E., Rafferty, S.

IADMS website

2010: “Considerations for the integration of fitness into dance training”.

           Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 14 (2): 45-9.

2009: “Development of a high intensity dance performance fitness test”.  Redding, E., Weller, P., Ehrenberg, S., Irvine, S., Quin, E., Rafferty, S., Wyon, M., Cox, C. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 2009, 13(1): 3-9.

2009: “Dance Specific Fitness class”. Quin, E., Irvine, S., Rafferty, S. Redding, E. IADMS 19th Annual meeting, The Hague, Netherlands.

2007: “The effects of a one year dance specific fitness training programme on undergraduate modern dance students; An experimental study”. Rafferty, S., Redding, E., Irvine, S., Quin, E. Abstract, Journal of Dance Medicine and Science 2007, 11(1):16.

2006: “The effects of a one year dance specific fitness training programme on undergraduate modern dance students; An experimental study”. Redding, E., Rafferty, S., Irvine, S., Morant, R. (2006), Conference proceedings IADMS 16thAnnual Meeting, West Palm Beach, Florida. Recipient of Lisa Ullman Travel Scholarship to attend.

2004: “Leadership in Dance: An application of the Leadership Scale for Sport to dance technique teaching”: Presented IADMS 14th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 2004. Recipient of IADMS Student Travel Award to present. Published, Rafferty, S., Wyon, M. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 2006, 10, (1&2), 6-13.

2004: “Leadership behaviour in dance”. Dance UK Magazine, Issue 53, p. 21.

Other: “Warm-up and Cool Down” presentations, Move It and NDTA conferences