About Us

Curious Motion is based in Elland and the lower valley of Calderdale, West Yorkshire. We were founded in 2019 in response to conversations and relationships with local people, who told us of their frustrations and difficulties regarding access, wellbeing, and community cohesion.

We particularly focus on working with people of any age who:

– Have limited or no access to creative wellbeing opportunities

– Are at risk of discrimination, isolation, and/or loneliness

– Are living with one or more chronic health conditions or are at risk of declining health

– Have complex social needs that affect their wellbeing

We facilitate togetherness, connecting people to themselves and each other, and are advocating for a world where social connection, creativity, and play are available to everyone.

A person holding a dance position is surrounded by blurred people as they dance

“The future belongs to the curious.

Those who are not afraid to try it, 

explore it, poke at it,

and turn it inside out.”


Our Values

Our ‘Why’

An overarching issue that is common amongst our community, and around the world, is loneliness. Despite the variety of ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences of the people who connect with us, loneliness is common. The pandemic has increased this, but we know from experience that loneliness has a long history in the communities we work with.

Research shows that loneliness poses a serious risk of early death (45%), exceeding the risks posed by more commonly recognised issues such as obesity (20%) and excessive alcohol consumption (30%). People who have stronger social relationships are 50% more likely to recover from health issues. (J. Holt-Lunstad, T. B. Smith and J. Bradley Layton, 2010)

Therefore, we are advocating for:

Why dance and creativity?

Dancing naturally fosters empathy and connection with others – we see this in communities and cultures around the world, from Hawaii to Scotland and South Africa to Australia. Celebratory human experiences rarely exist without some form of dancing.

The body and movement are integral to our wellbeing as human beings. The physiological aspects of dance and creativity are hugely beneficial, and science tells us that important things are happening in our bodies when we dance, including:

  • Mirror neurons, sensory-motor cells in the brain that help us to understand and communicate with each other, are activated when we perform a movement or watch another person perform a movement.
  • Dance is proven to release the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin in our brain, which lowers stress levels and helps with memory, decision-making, and communication.
  • The combination of cognitive effort and social interaction that dancing involves can improve brain health, for example for people with Dementia.
  • Dancing is of course great for physical health too, including co-ordination, balance, strength, and endurance!

We also combine our dance practice with other creative experiences to foster curiosity and increase access – ensuring people have choice over how they’d like to engage with us and promoting a culture of collaboration, learning, experimentation, and wonder. The arts sector makes a vital contribution to the health and wellbeing of society in many ways, and we celebrate this.

‘Curiosity’s reason for existing is not simply to be a tool for acquiring knowledge; it reminds us that we are alive.
Researchers are finding evidence that curiosity is correlated with creativity, intelligence, improved learning and memory, and problem solving.’

(Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart, 2021)

The Curious Motion Team

Board of Directors:

Samantha McCormick
Samantha McCormickArtistic Director / Co-Founder
Sam (she/her) is a dance artist with over 15 years of professional experience, primarily focused on facilitation, dance for health, and positive social change. She has a wealth of experience working with disabled people, children and young people, and people who are new to dance.
Susan Burns
Susan BurnsDirector / Co-Founder
Susan (she/her) is a freelance creative with a background in theatre and literature, with an incredible track record in organising participatory projects in communities.
Emily Tucker
Emily TuckerDirector
Emily (she/her) is an arts management professional with over 10 years of experience working across venues and festivals. Her background is in dance but she has a passion and interest in all art forms.
Theo Clinkard
Theo ClinkardDirector
Theo (he/him) is an artist whose current practice spans choreography, theatre design and performing. He founded his own company in 2012 and has built an international reputation for his contemporary work across a wide variety of settings.

Artists & Collaborators:

Matt Lackford
Matt LackfordDance Artist & Digital Support
Matt (he/him) has been working professionally in dance for over ten years, as a facilitator, performer, and choreographer. He has a wealth of experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds. Matt is also a Patient Representative for the Macmillan Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax as he lives with a rare form of blood cancer and supports many people living with illness and disability.
Isla Hurst
Isla HurstIntern and Dance Artist
Isla (she/her) is a dance artist who loves to explore activism and social justice in her work. She has recently graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and joined Curious Motion in July 2021 as our first intern!
Jess Woodhead
Jess WoodheadDance/Drama Artist
Jess (she/her) has a background in dance and drama and has accumulated a wealth of experience in the creative industry. Jess works on Curious Motion’s workshops with children and young people. She grew up in Calderdale and is also a director of Chol Theatre and a member of the ‘Chol-operative’ in Huddersfield.
Maisha Kungu
Maisha KunguDance Artist
Maisha (she/her) is a dance artist, originally from Hebden Bridge and now based in Manchester. Her practice includes a variety of styles, including contemporary, tap, physical theatre, clowning, jazz, improvisation, West African dance, pop, funk, and soul!
Abi Austin
Abi AustinMusician
Abi (she/her) is a local Community Music Group leader. She runs the Hipperholme Community Choir and the Ripponden, Stainland and Greetland Community Choir, as well as the Brighouse Beginner Ukulele Group and also music classes for babies and toddlers. It is her baby and toddler classes where her name, ‘Abi Ukulele’, came from! Abi works on our Rhythm & Brews workshops programme.
Rosie Doonan
Rosie DoonanMusician
Rosie (she/her) hails from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. She has forged a musical career as a solo artist – releasing many critically acclaimed folk albums and as one half of the Rosie Doonan and Ben Murray duo, who were nominated for a BBC folk award. Her most recent project “The Lullaby Sessions” is album of atmospheric, relaxing original lullabies for adults and children. Rosie provides her beautiful music for our Rhythm & Brews workshop programme.