top of page
Art Gallery

More about Dawn

Dawn supports people in developing their own enquiries in dance as makers, teachers and participants.

She works with people to make relevant, thought provoking dance theatre through leading dynamic sessions to give everyone an absorbing physical experience of movement. Throughout her sessions, Dawn fosters a compassionate environment with a focus on using positive language.


Originally from Ayrshire, Dawn Hartley trained at London Contemporary Dance School and joined Michael Clark and Company on graduating in 1986. After worldwide touring, she relocated to Scotland to explore leading dance activities with communities in rural areas through a Scottish Arts Council initiative as Trainee Dance Artist in Rural Areas, shadowing Vida Hedley in Dumfries and Galloway and Peter Royston in Borders regions. On discovering a passion for teaching, she developed key skills in effective engagement in participatory dance practice.


Based in Edinburgh, Dawn continued to perform, including with Alan Greig’s The X Factor Dance Company and in outdoor spaces with Alex Rigg ( She also choreographed and performed with large scale non-professional casts for Beltane Fire Festivals and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In 1993, she co-founded Incognita with Brigid McCarthy to more fully explore performance in non-theatre spaces (Spectator Sport, Frontier and Alibi).


Working freelance in teaching, movement direction, choreography and performance, Dawn also led dance and physical awareness classes for singers as Part Time Lecturer for RSAMD (now RCS) Vocal Studies Department and for performing arts students at Edinburgh’s Telford College Drama Department.


From 1999 – 2007, as Dance Artist for East Lothian Council Arts Service, she worked from Brunton Theatre to initiate an extensive dance programme for children and young people before joining Scottish Dance Theatre.  

From 2007 - 2019, Dawn worked alongside the company’s Artistic Directors Janet Smith, Fleur Darkin and Joan Clevillé, developing Scottish Dance Theatre’s reputation for offering excellent teaching and relevant Creative Learning engagement opportunities at home in Dundee Rep Theatre and on tour, including in India and China (2014) and Brazil (2016).  She also initiated an Outreach Dance programme in Dundee, further connecting local communities to the company’s work. Dawn created the annual events of Great Big Dance Shows and Dundee Rep Dance Festival (aka ACT (2018) and Fresh Edit (2019)) to offer non-professionals and youth dancers a platform for their work, attract new audiences and celebrate this rich art form through a fuller representation of dance performance.

She created T.I.M Dance Company with young people in Dundee, co creating performances This Is Me, Give\Take and What's Next? for EdFringe, Dundee Rep and Tramway.

Dawn began freelance working in 2019 and worked with Company Chordelia and Barrowland Ballet, prior to working with Lyra then creating online activity during the pandemic. 

bottom of page