Everyone at Dance Base was terribly sad to learn that our friend and peer Roanne Dods died last week after a long illness. Roanne was a central figure in the Scottish dance community and a trusted friend to many of us.
Roanne was a charismatic presence at Dance Base in our earlier days at the Assembly Rooms in the 90s and was one of the first dancers Steinvor Palsson choreographed on in Scotland.
Roanne was a beautiful and dancer whose qualities were extended in her movements. Generous and open and with great warmth.
On a larger scale and beyond those Dance Base days, she had an impact on dance and the arts throughout Scotland and the UK. She was the founding director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, and served more recently as Director of PAL Labs, Consulting Deputy Director at the Dovecot Studios, Producer at the International Futures Forum and Research and Projects Co-ordinator for The Mindful Leadership Foundation.
She was also a founding director of The Work Room in Glasgow and we would like to further acknowledge that connection by sharing the Workrooms director Anita Clark’s tribute to Roanne:
‘Roanne has been instrumental to The Work Room throughout its development. She was one of the founding directors and part of the driving force that brought the organisation into being in 2008 with an artist-led ethos and commitment to supporting artistic research. She has always been a resolute champion for The Work Room and our members.
‘Roanne has been hugely influential on dance and the wider cultural sector throughout the UK. She had a passion for people, belief in collaboration, incredible generosity and formidable conviction. She worked tirelessly in many different contexts to advocate for the role of artists and to challenge all of us working in the arts to think boldly about the potential of our work for society.’
Emma Gladstone of Dance Umbrella said of Roanne:
‘Someone special like that - generous, passionate, informed, dedicated, insightful, a true believer in the transformative power of art – leaves their mark. In the best way. As someone who stays in the heart as well as the mind.’
Finally, Rupert Thomson, formerly of Summerhall and currently at the South Bank, wrote:
‘Not only was she highly intelligent and empathetic, but also righteous and willing to face difficult situations to try to achieve the right outcome. She was generous to the greatest degree in all her interactions, and a powerful example of goodness to all those who looked up to her. […] From some of the other posts I have seen following news of her death, it is clear she has had a huge and consistently wonderful role in many lives – something that would be obvious to anyone who had been lucky enough to meet her.’
We grieve for the loss of a friend and colleague to so many, and send our heartfelt sympathies to her family.