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Meet the Team

Ashley Brain, PHD, FHEA

Ashley is a visiting lecturer in Dance and Dance Science at the University of Roehampton and a Stott Pilates certified instructor. She holds a BA (hons) degree in Dance with a major in Ballet from the University of Calgary, Canada, an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and a PhD from University of Roehampton.

Ashley has trained and performed in ballet and contemporary techniques. She became interested in theory and research surrounding safe and healthy
dance practices during her BA degree and focused her postgraduate studies in this area. Her teaching in higher education has focused primarily on ballet and topics under the dance science umbrella including anatomy, biomechanics, conditioning, psychology and somatic education.

Ashley’s research has concentrated primarily within the dance for health field, and in particular dance for people with Parkinson’s. She continues to present her research at international conferences and is a published author.

Ashley teaches mat work and reformer-based Pilates. Since joining the team at Roehampton she actively incorporates this material into her teaching and is passionate about the connections between dancer health and Pilates conditioning.

Claire Farmer, MSc PGCHE, FHEA

Claire is a Senior Lecturer in dance science at Middlesex University, and a freelance strength and conditioning coach and researcher. Claire holds a BA (hons) Dance Studies with drama, theatre and performance studies from Roehampton University and an MSc Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

As a freelancer, Claire works with dance and circus companies across the UK delivering lectures and practical workshops, encouraging artists to understand their body’s capability and mitigating injury risk. 

Previously, Claire was a manager of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science and a dance for health practitioner, taking dance into hospitals and community settings across Greater London. Claire’s academic research lies in dance physiology and biomechanics, and dance for health and wellbeing. With a focus on applied practice, this brings the research back into the studio.

Karen Palmer, MSc

Karen is a dance scientist, strength and conditioning coach and researcher. Currently focusing on grassroot community dance schools, Karen works with and trains teachers to help disseminate dance science principles, particularly supplementary training techniques, to maximise their young performers’ potential.

Karen holds a BA (Hons) Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dance and an MSc Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where her research focused on passive heat source benefits as an alternative for a warm-up.

Before undertaking her master’s at Trinity Laban, Karen ran community and charity dance events in partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association
and Cancer Research.