Lesley Main PhD is Head of Performing Arts and formerly Principal Lecturer in Dance at Middlesex University, teaching Humphrey-based Technique, Repertoire and Performance. Amongst other roles within the university, she was Chair of the Dance Department from 1999 – 2004 and Acting Head of Performing Arts in 2008.
A leading European exponent of Doris Humphrey's dance tradition, she worked with Ernestine Stodelle in the USA from 1985, performing in and directing a number of Humphrey's major works, including The Call/Breath of Fire, Water Study, Two Ecstatic Themes, The Shakers, New Dance, With My Red Fires and Passacaglia. Lesley is director of the Doris Humphrey Foundation, a charitable foundation that produced the Humphrey Centenary events in 1995 and continues to promote her work throughout the UK. She has also taught extensively throughout Europe.
Publications include articles for a range of dance journals and conference presentations in the UK, Italy and Germany including Congress for Research in Dance (CORD) and the Society for Dance History Scholars (SDHS). Publications also include a book chapter arising out of an AHRC funded project (2011) a sole-authored monograph for the Studies in Dance series published by SDHS/University of Wisconsin (2012) and an edited volume for Palgrave MacMillan (2017).
From 1999 - 2014 Lesley was guest director in Turin, Italy, for the company and school of Arke Compagnia d'Arte. She performed regularly with the company and directed a number of Humphrey's works including Water Study and Passacaglia. She was invited to stage Passacaglia for Momenta Dance Company in Chicago, USA and revived the work for the company's autumn season the following year. She staged Humphrey's signature solo, Two Ecstatic Themes, for Transmissions: A Performance Sympoisum in London, December 2014 and again in 2016 in Chicago, USA.
General teaching and learning interests encompass
Abigail Hoffman (2011) 'Yoga practice in dance training'
Susanne Martin (2014) 'Dance improvisation and aging'
Helen Kindred – 'Nurturing creativity in dance through improvisation'
I welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD projects in a variety of practice-based contexts including dance technique and performance, dance pedagogy, choreographic practice.
Main, Lesley (ed.) 2017 Transmissions in Dance: contemporary staging practices. London/New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 9783319648729
Main, Lesley 2012 Directing the Dance Legacy of Doris Humphrey: the Creative Impulse of Reconstruction. USA: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 978-0299-28584-5; ISBN (e-book) 978-0-299-28583-
Chapters in edited books
Fensham Rachel and Carter, Alexandra (eds.) 2011 'Nature moving naturally in succession' in Dancing Naturally: Nature, neo-classicism and modernity in early twentieth century dance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-230-27844-8
Jordan, Stephanie (ed) 2000 'The Staging of Passacaglia - A Director's Perspective' in Preservation Politics, London: Dance Books pp. 106: 113
'Creative Choice – on whose authority'. Choreographic Practices, Vol. 4.1, 2013, p. 59 – 74
'The Dances of Doris Humphrey: creating a contemporary perspective through directorial interpretation'. Dance Research, Vol. 23.2, Winter, 2005 p.106 – 122
Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, 2014 – Entry on Doris Humphrey. General editor – Stephen Ross; Dance Editor – Susan Manning.
[The REM is a comprehensive online resource that provides essays associated with modernism related to the arts and is the leading peer-reviewed resource in modernist studies to include all of the arts and to consider a wide range of international examples.]
Refereed and published conference proceedings
Pierce, Ken (ed) 2010 'The Spectacle of Silence and Stillness'. Society of Dance History Scholars, Thirty-third Annual Conference, University of Surrey, Guildford and The Place, London, UK.
Randall, Tresa (ed) 2009 'The pedagogic significance of 20th Century modern dance training for the 21st Century dancing body' in Global Perspectives on Dance Pedagogy Research and Practice: Proceedings Congress for Research in Dance, De Montfort University
Rhodes, J. (ed) 2005 'A Narrative Perspective on Doris Humphrey's 'With My Red Fires' – an exploration of the consequences of directorial intervention in the staging of dance'. Proceedings for 2005 Symposium on Systems Research in the Arts. ISBN no. 1894613457 pp. 67 – 71. 17th Annual Conference on Systems Research, Informatics, and Cybernetics, Baden-Baden, Germany
Bennett, Toby (ed) 2005 'A Musical Exploration of Doris Humphrey's Passacaglia', with reference to how musical interpretation can influence directorial interpretation and performance of a dance work' in Proceedings from the Sound Moves Conference – an international conference on music and dance. http://roehampton.ac.uk/soundmoves pp.118 – 124 Co-convened by Roehampton University, Princeton University and the Royal Ballet at Roehampton University. London
Non-published conference contributions (sole-authored)
2009 Reaching 'the natural' through 'nature' – an exploration of Doris Humphrey's Water Study'. University of Surrey/NRCD International Symposium, Moving Naturally, Rethinking Dance 1900s – 1930s AHRC funded project
Main, Lesley (2018) Humphrey, Doris (1895-1958). In: The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Ross, Stephen , ed. Routledge.
Main, Lesley , ed. (2018) Transmissions in dance: contemporary staging practices. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783319648729
Salgado LLopis, Maria (2018) Performing history: Wind Tossed (1936), natural movement and the hyper-historian. In: Transmissions in Dance: Contemporary Staging Practices. Main, Lesley , ed. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 61-83. ISBN 9783319648729
Sachsenmaier, Stefanie (2018) Silent transformations in choreography-making over time: Rosemary Butcher’s practice of 'Looking Back and Ahead'. In: Transmissions in Dance: Contemporary Staging Practices. Main, Lesley , ed. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 163-188. ISBN 9783319648729
Main, Lesley (2017) The transmission-translation-transformation of Doris Humphrey's 'Two ecstatic themes' (1931). In: Transmissions in Dance: Contemporary staging practices. Main, Lesley , ed. Palgrave MacMillan, Cham, London, pp. 85-107. ISBN 9783319648729
Body Talk, an anti-bullying project for young people, designed to raise awareness and provide strategies through combining the language forms of expressive writing and movement. Co-created with Maggie Butt and April Brown; delivered in partnership with Chickenshed in 2012.
Barnet Cultural Education Partnership, 2019 - 2022: MDX lead
Education Committee member, 2019 - present;
Chickenshed Theatre Trust Director/Trustee - 2021
Creative Industries Federation - Creative Education and Careers Working Group, 2020 - present
Access HE Creative Forum, 2020 - present
Department for Education Advisory Group
Periodic book reviewer
Founder/Director – The Doris Humphrey Foundation UK (from 1995)
Board member – The Doris Humphrey Society, USA (from 2007)
Membership of learned society