Tess Letham (She/Her) is an independent dance artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland, working as a performer, teacher, dance theatre maker and curator.
Graduating from the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance in 2011, my final year included performance in new works by Joan Cleville, Gary Clarke and Tom Dale. I gained a place on the Postgraduate programme at Northern School of Contemporary Dance joining Motionhouse as an apprentice for their large scale project The Voyage. Returning to Scotland in 2012, I was a recipient of the Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme at Dance Base, mentored by Alan Greig.
I have trained extensively in the methods of Flying Low and Passing Through, created by internationally renowned teacher David Zambrano, which is the main focus of my current TEACHING practice. I am an ambassador for sharing this work across Scotland and further afield. This has also become a vital part of my individual movement practice and philosophical understanding of what dance represents in the wider context of COMMUNITY and culture. More recently I have begun to teach improvisation for performance, after participating in 60 DAYS at TicTac Arts Centre. Developing a teaching practice that can cross disciplines and encouraging people to use their own life experiences to express themselves through their chosen form.
My PERFORMANCE work for others has included projects by Shotput, Simon Fildes/Cagoule, Curious Seed, Gracefool Collective, David Zambrano, Anahat Theatre, Rob Heaslip Dance, Alan Greig Dance Theatre, PanicLab, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre and Mairead McClean/The Wapping Project.
Her creations centre on human experiences – constructing both obscure and deeply authentic environments, immersing the audience fully into an intriguing theatrical world. Her work combines passions for multi-disciplinary theatre, dynamic physicality and high quality integrated design.
Her inaugural show, “How to Survive the Future”, was programmed at festivals across the UK. Her latest mid-scale work, “Remedy for Memory” premiered in April 2022 at Assembly Roxy and was presented as part of the Dance Base Fringe Programme 2022, produced by Stories Untold Productions.
She is developing her new creations under the project handle Fair Play. This includes “Where We Used to Wander” a roaming, immersive performance project for Hidden Door 2023, and “What ever happened to Harmony Banks” a darkly comic, mockumentary style solo work.
Tess was recently commissioned as a choreographer by FFIN DANCE to create a new work on the company, premiering in April 2023, titled “Traces : we are just passing by.”
Performing improvisation is at the core of her practice, she is a co-organiser of Something Smashing and was a recipient of the #LoveDanceScotland Recovery Bursary in 2021 for her project “Six for Six”.
Image by A. Ponce Hardy