Swindon Dance has announced that founder and artistic director Marie McCluskey MBE is to retire in January 2016 following 36 years leading one of the UK’s pioneering dance organisations.
Marie McCluskey, who established Swindon Dance in 1979, has led the organisation from its beginnings in the Community Arts Department of Thamesdown Borough Council (now Swindon Borough Council) through to its transition as an Independent Charitable Trust in 2005.
Marie said “It has been an amazing privilege to have led Swindon Dance and I have been very fortunate to have been supported by outstanding and dedicated staff, teachers and dance artists throughout this time. I have always been continually inspired by the energy and passion of the people of all ages, abilities and interests who have been part of this journey at Swindon Dance, where ‘ordinary people have achieved extraordinary things‘ through the power of dance in their lives.”
Swindon Dance has gained a national reputation as a leading centre of dance development and excellence from its base at the Old Town Hall in Swindon. The organisation which has been supported for over three decades by Swindon Borough Council, was awarded National Dance Agency Status in 1991 by the Arts Council of England and is currently a National Portfolio Organisation of the Arts Council.
Since 2005 Swindon Dance has received support as a Centre of Advanced Training in Dance for exceptionally talented young dancers, through the Department of Education’s Music and Dance Scheme.
During her time with Swindon Dance, Marie has received awards including the Winston Churchill Trvelling Scholarship (1984) to study the training and development of Black dancers in New York at Alvin Ailey and Dance Theatre Harlem; the Digital Dance Award (1993 runner up), an MBE in 1993 for services to dance, and the Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award (2010).
In addition, Marie was founding chair of ADAD (the Association of the Dance of the African Diaspora) as well as thePeople Dancing organisation of which she is currently a patron. Marie is currently a Trustee of Siobhan Davies Dance (London) and Bristol Music Trust/ Colston Hall Bristol.
Lynn Vardy, chair of Swindon Dance, said: “Marie McCluskey’s long and distinguished career in dance is nationally recognised. She has been an asset to not only dance in Swindon, but dance across the country.”
The Board of Swindon Dance is now recruiting a successor, with the vision and experience to lead Swindon Dance into a new chapter of development and achievement.
Pictured: HRH The Duke of Kent and Marie McCluskey MBE centre with Swindon Dance students Paris Crossley, Kit King, Tania Dimbelolo, Claire Peers
Swindon Dance, tel: 01793 601700