Hayley Matthews Biography

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Hayley J S Matthews Biography

Matthews is a contemporary dancer, Rolfer (Structural Integration Practitioner) and founder of ENSEMBLE. Her parents tell her she first started dancing at 1 years old, as she climbed and tumbled while her identical twin sister sat and read books.  

After early studies in dance Hayley studied Fine Art at London Guildhall in 2000, received a 1st class degree in Curatorship and Art History at Leeds University and a final year award winning essay in 2005. She returned to dance with a fierce need in 2006; with a desire to stay outside of conservtoires she embarked on a rich independent training, beginning with two mentorships 2006-2009 with Adam Benjamin (UK Founder of Candoco) and with the late fierce Francis Nii Yartey and Noyam Dance Company on polished stone floors in Accra, Ghana.

Hayley’s independent training continued through the contact impro and pro class scene in London, and with workshops and projects across Germany, Croatia, Ireland, Brussels, France, Ghana and the UK . In 2015 she founded ENSEMBLE, an international collection of dance, visual and sound artists contributing to active, intimate, graceful citizenship through performance.

She has since danced, choreographed and taught at and for CoDa Dance (London/Essex), Cando2 (London), Sadlers Wells (London), East London Dance (London), Out There Festival (Great Yarmouth), Tanzfabrik (Berlin), English National Ballet, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Dance Umbrella (London) P.A.L/Stressfree (London/Paris), Norwich Arts Centre, National Theatre Ghana (Accra), The Cockpit (London), Brighton Fringe Festival, The People’s Forest – Waltham Forest Borough of Culture (London), The House of St Barnabas (London), ActOne with Suzie Birchwood (Hertfordshire), Norwich Puppet Theatre. And made 3 full length shows for ENSEMBLE, with 2 further in development. 

Her current artistic work focuses on how dance can offer society examples of expressing a true self, and how Rolfing techniques can help performers do this. She is interested in health, function and movement, in the vital role of creative expression in our lives and in curating experiences that give the public a bridge into contemporary dance and time to contemplate. And in how we can learn to be vulnerable, intimate, fierce, graceful, functional, resilient and courageous through performance and through our lives and actions. Ensuring performers  are well is also key to her practice.


Hayley trained and continues to train with many other artists alongside Rolfing, making and performing including Russel Malipant (UK), Rosas (Brussels), Kirsty Simpson (UK), Ben Duke (UK), Chisato Ohno (UK/Israel), Tere O’Connor (US), Anton Lachky (Slovakia), Jordi Cortes (Spain), Miranda Tufnell (UK), Deborah Hay (UK), Lauren Potter (UK), Yael Flexor, Charles Linehan (UK), Gary Carter (UK), Matinacola (Germany), Rick Nodine (US/UK), Rosalind Crisp (Australia), Siobhan Davies (UK).