Deborah Norris


Upon graduating from Elmhurst Ballet School, Deborah continued her academic studies, gaining a BA Hons Communication Studies – Dance from the University of Leeds, and an MA in Dance Studies at De Montfort University and then received a scholarship to pursue her contemporary dance training at the Jose Limón Institute in New York. Debbie is currently a PhD candidate at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is researching contemporary narrative ballet works through a feminist narratological lens.

As a choreographer Deborah has presented works internationally in both educational and professional settings. Her work has a narrative focus and is embedded in folk traditions and music from the British Isles. 

As a dance educator Deborah has taught internationally at conservatoires in Taiwan, Slovakia, Lithuania, and America. With a focus on Contemporary Ballet and Limón-based technique she has taught across the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and as a guest lecturer at Edge Hill University, Elmhurst Ballet School, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Rambert School for Ballet and Contemporary Dance. 

Teaching commitments

Teaching Ethos

As a Dance Lecturer I specialise in Limón Technique, Ballet for Contemporary Dancers, Choreography, Multi- disciplinary Performance Making, Dance Analysis, Dance History and Research Methods. I work to meet academic, technical and artistic needs of today’s dance artists using a holistic approach. As a musician I create a rhythmically informed environment in my technique lessons and ensure that performance and interpretative skills are continually present and challenged within the creative dance space.

I embed research informed teaching into my practice using a liberationist pedagogical approach. Centring the students voice within their learning journey enables a democratic environment from which they can research and develop knowledge and understanding through their practical and theoretical modules. I advocate for an inclusive and accessible programme design, from the audition process through the learning journey.

I have embedded strategic methods to ensure reflective processing time into my lectures. I have experience with supporting disabled artists including wheelchair users in a practical dance space and work hard to support all learners needs and work closely with learning support specialists to enable accessible provision.

Professional highlights

Professional Choreographic Practice

As a choreographer I am interested in exploring traditional and contemporary folklore. Working with a contemporary ballet language I work with multi-faceted artists to create inter-disciplinary works. 

My company Ballet Folk is a vehicle to develop my professional choreographic portfolio. As a narrative choreographer, I am being mentored by Kate Flatt, and my aim is to explore the rich tradition of storytelling, combining contemporary ballet, traditional folk dance and music to create theatrical works for non-traditional stages. Collaborating with artists from across the folk community I research and create productions that explore both traditional and contemporary folk tales working with multi-faceted artists.



  • MA, De Montfort University

    Dance Studies

  • BA, York St John University

    Communication Studies - Dance

    20 Sept 1997 - 30 Jul 2000