Rachel Fullegar - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Lecturer in Dance

1st class BPA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance

Role and responsibilities:

Rachel works across all years, focusing on studies within choreography, teaching, art theory & practice, and dance history.

About me

I grew up in a rural, working-class town in Dorset where I didn’t have a lot of access to the arts. We were, however, lucky to have A level dance at my school, where there were only four people in my class.

Since graduating from NSCD in 2013, I have worked as a freelance artist. I haven’t had the most straightforward career and typically I can shift between running around dressed as an octopus on the side of a cliff in Yorkshire, to leading a dance class for people with dementia, to sitting on a dance advisory group for an organisation all in one day. I love movement for its powerful ability to be a mechanism for play, building empathy and when it can subvert and disrupt our social codes, norms and expectations. I also find movement a rich resource for comedy.

Outside of dance, I’m happiest back in my rural roots with my family, friends and partner.

Sometimes I’m at NSCD a lot and sometimes you won’t see me for a while whilst I go off and tour or work on other projects. I’m quite nomadic, working across the country, but it’s always an amazing feeling to come home to NSCD – I often feel that after my graduation, I never left!”

Career History

Rachel Fullegar graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2013 with a first-class BPA(Hons) degree in Contemporary Dance, as well as the Undergraduate Achievement Award and Kathleen Tattersall Leadership Award.  

She is co-founder of Gracefool Collective, which make “post­-intellectual-­pseudo-­spiritual-feminist-comedy­-dance” for rebel Grannies and bored punks (and everyone in between.) Their performances “delicately balance skilfully crafted verse with impeccably executed physical theatre” – Edinburgh Fringe Festival review. Their first work This Really Is Too Much, a contemporary portrait of womanhood, first toured as double bill Convicts & Lunatics with Red Ladder. It’s since been performed nationally and internationally to critical acclaim including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival gaining the Underbelly Untapped Award for ‘innovative new writing’ in 2017 and the Stockholm Fringe Grand Prix Award for Excellence in Performance Art in 2018. The company’s second work, THIS IS NOT A WEDDING, a surreal re-imagining of rite of passage ceremonies, was selected to open the prestigious national dance showcase Surf the Wave and was invited to be part of the BBC’s first Dance Passion day, celebrating the best of British dance. It was chosen as one of the top 9 moments of the day by the BBC and subsequently went on an 18-date tour in 2019.

Outside of Gracefool Collective, Rachel’s love for making immersive, interactive, interdisciplinary work for intergenerational audiences has led to long-term collaborations as a performer/deviser with companies such as Rusticus Arts, Same Difference, Yorkshire Life Aquatic and Qdos Creates. In 2019, Rachel worked with Filskit Theatre on Stella, a children’s show about a star technician, which undertook two UK tours, culminating in a performance at London’s Southbank Centre. In 2021, she toured nationwide in Filskit’s colourful light and performance show for 6 to 18-month-olds, Kaleidoscope. Most recently, she was the choreographer on The Nutcracker 2021 Christmas experience at Blenheim Palace for Rusticus.

Rachel also works as a Movement Director, most recently on Theatre State’s new musical Say Yes To Tess at Leeds Playhouse and for both Blackout and Black Roses with Bunbury Banter Theatre Company, Scotland, where she is Associate Artist and a mentor for their youth theatre programmes. She’s worked as a lecturer for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance since 2015 and has taught extensively as a community practitioner for Qdos Creates and Yorkshire Dance, where she was co-artistic lead for integrated company Raised between 2016-19.

Professional activity

Previous Independent Board Member for the Leeds Dance Partnership

Previous member of the Yorkshire Dance Advisory Board

Research interests

Collaboration, Play, Physical Theatre, Text and Writing for Performance, Work for Children and Families

Performance and research artefacts

Gracefool Collective (2021) (Do you call that) The End? NSCD

Gracefool Collective (2020) Dance Transports – Re-imagining Liveness. Independent work.

Gracefool Collective (2020) The Show Must Go On. NSCD.

Gracefool Collective (2019) THIS IS NOT A WEDDING. Independent work.

Gracefool Collective (2018) ANIMA. Härnösands Folkhögskola.

Gracefool Collective (2017) This really is too much. Independent Work

Gracefool Collective (2017) Carmina Burana. Folkärna Kyrka

Gracefool Collective (2015) Once More With Feeling. NSCD

Gracefool Collective (2015) Little Drop of Poison. NSCD

Gracefool Collective (2014) Abba, Pastries and the Stiff Upper Lip. NSCD and Yorkshire Dance