NSCD AWARDS HONORARY FELLOWSHIP TO JOHN AUTY - Northern School of Contemporary Dance



Recipient of this year's NSCD Honorary Fellowship John Auty (centre) pictured with Darren Carr, Vice Principal of NSCD and Dawn Holgate

We are delighted to announce that John Auty has been conferred as this year's Honorary Fellow.  John has been at the forefront of dance education in Yorkshire, and beyond, for over 40 years.  John's dance education legacy is profound and enduring and it is fitting that NSCD honours his contributions and brings his remarkable achievements to light.

Since 2017, NSCD has awarded Honorary Fellowships to exceptional individuals within the world of dance. Currently the highest award the School is able to bestow, this title is given in recognition of an individual’s exceptional contribution to NSCD, contemporary dance and the cultural ecology at large.  Fellowships are conferred as part of our Graduation ceremonies, and our Honorary Fellows inspire our students through their vision, passion and commitment to shaping the future of dance. For more information, including a list of previous Honorary Fellows, see here

Sharon Watson, MBE, CEO and Principal of NSCD, said:

“With this Honorary Fellowship, we bring into the spotlight John’s exceptional contributions and recognise him as a true advocate for dance education whose efforts may have sometimes been overshadowed or perceived as mere passion. Dance education in Leeds has a remarkable history which is rooted in the inspirational efforts of a relatively small number of dedicated individuals. While we celebrate the significant contributions of our founding Principal, Nadine Senior MBE, it is important to recognise that there are others whose work in the field is equally noteworthy.

Sharon continued:

“Throughout his impactful career, John played a pivotal role in the development and enrichment of dance education both in West Yorkshire and London, contributing significantly to the vibrant dance community we see today. John’s unwavering support for the arts community make him a true beacon of inspiration.

As we honour John, we celebrate not only his contributions to dance education but also his enduring impact on the lives of those he has taught and mentored.  His dedication and innovative approach have left an indelible mark on the field, inspiring countless students and professionals alike.”

John began his career at Charles Walls & Partners, an advertising agency in Bradford, in October 1965.  He then moved to the civil service at GPO House in Leeds in April 1966. By September 1969, he had taken up his first teaching post with the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). In September 1971, John began teaching dance as part of the PE programme to all students at Intake High School in Leeds, arguably the first male teacher in a state secondary school to do so.  John's vision led to the opening of the Dance Factory in 1978, enhancing the capabilities and skill of advanced young dancers.

In March 1986, John became the first Dance Inspector for ILEA, with specialist responsibility for the quality of teaching and learning in dance across various educational settings. His role included establishing training opportunities, performance initiatives, and direct relationships with professional dance institutions and companies.

John retired in August 2009 and took up Ballroom, Latin Dancing and Argentine Tango with Darren Hodgson, who holds the highest licentiate qualification in the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA). John can credit his contributions to the success of a list of creative individuals including:

David Hamilton - Founder and former Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre (Phoenix Dance Company, as it was known)
Philip Taylor - Dancer with London Contemporary Theatre and Nederlands Dans Theatre
Dawn Holgate - First female dancer with Phoenix Dance Company (as it was known)
Glen Wilkinson - Dancer with Rambert Dance Company
Darshan Singh Bhuller - former dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and former Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre
Gurmit Hukam - Former Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance

In addition to his various roles as mentor, facilitator, choreographer, chair, moderator and teacher, John has several published articles including ‘Dance into Schools’ in Action and Balance magazine (1989), ‘A Vision for ILEA’ - an address to the Inner London Dance Teachers’ Association and ‘First and Last in Dance’ in First Glance magazine (1989).

Recently, John has entrusted his archive to NSCD, wishing it to be made available to others with an interest in and a commitment to dance.

Please join us all at NSCD in congratulating John on this well-deserved honour and in celebrating his extraordinary contributions to dance education.