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In Memoriam

Linda Rolfe

1952 - 2012

Lecturer in Dance Education 1990-2002
Academic Lead for PGCE in Secondary Dance 2002-2012
Academic Lead for MEd Creative Arts in Education

Linda Rolfe, Senior Lecturer in Dance Education, died on the 19th March 2012.

She had been seriously ill for some months, undergoing treatment for cancer. We have lost a great teacher and advocate for dance; and a warm, supportive and dear friend.

Linda came to Exeter in 1990 to take up a lecturing post in dance education. She worked on the undergraduate and postgraduate primary teacher training programmes, and since 2002, has established and led the PGCE in Secondary Dance. She also led the MEd pathway for Creative Arts in Education.

She has trained many fine teachers, and worked closely with schools and arts organisations in the region and nationally. In the 1990's she set up the very successful Devon Youth Dance Company and the infrastructure of dance activities and performance opportunities for all young people now well established in Devon and recognised for excellence nationally. Linda was a respected and valued contributor to many organisations and initiatives to develop dance for young people.

Linda with her 2006-2007 MEd Dance students, carving themselves spontaneously in a space, while on a field trip in Devon.

Linda was the founding editor of the international refereed research journal Research in Dance Education and author of articles and book chapters as well as two highly influential books for teachers Let's Danceand Let's Look at Dance (both co-authored).

More recently she has been co-researcher on an AHRC funded project looking at creativity in dance education: Close Encounters: Dance Partners for Creativity (Trentham Books) was written with Anna Craft, Kerry Chappell and Veronica Jobbins and published in 2011.

Remembering Linda

We have created a space here for memories, reflections and tributes from anyone who knew Linda. If you would like to add a message, please email us and we will include your message on this page. You are welcome to write in the second or third person, in prose or in poetry - whichever you feel best expresses what you would like to say. Also, please don't feel that it's 'too late' to add a message - we are happy to do so at any time.

If you would like to make a donation in Linda's memory, the charity chosen for this purpose is Cancer Research UK

Linda has played a significant role in achieving the high quality of dance teaching and learning that exists in the South West region. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by many dance teachers in Dorset and she has left a remarkable legacy.

Lyn Paine
Chair of Examiners, GSCE Dance, AQA


I first met Linda in 1980 when she was teaching in London. She was an outstanding dancer and teacher. She was later a valuable and dedicated member of the Board of Dance South West, and in this capacity influenced the development of dance across the region. Linda was a charming, modest and beautiful woman who took delight in seeing others thrive and grow. Most of all, she was a wonderful friend who will be very much missed.

Kate Castle
Former Executive Director Dance South West/ Pavilion Dance


Just heard the sad news today. I knew Linda through her work with Dance Southwest and she always demonstrated a passion for the development of dance in our region. She was especially helpful to me as a “non-dancer” board member to help me understand the industry. This lovely lady will be sadly missed.

Mike Clark
Dance Southwest


So sorry to hear the sad news. Linda was the first person I got to know when I joined Dance South West. She took a lot of trouble helping with my induction, explaining about dance issues in the region and in the higher education sector. Our conversations were always both valuable and thoroughly enjoyable. We will all miss her a lot.

Stephen Godsall
Chair, Dance South West


Linda was a splendid and inspirational woman who gave a tremendous amount to dance development in the South West and beyond. She was always thoughtful and generous with her time and skills and could be relied upon for expert opinion. We have all lost someone very special, she will be missed.

John C. Struthers
Former Chair of Dance South West


I met Linda for the first time in 2008 as she kindly agreed to support the validation process of the BA (Hons.) Dance Education programme at Canterbury Christ Church University and afterwards to become the external examiner for the programme.

Linda was a calm, warm, friendly and truly engaging person. She was so supportive of dance education and my work at Canterbury Christ Church University. She was strong, principled and appropriately critical which I loved. She truly enriched my work and my career for which I am grateful.

I feel so happy to have known her but thought it would be for so much longer. I will miss her.

Dr Angela Pickard


Remembering LINDA:

L - Leaping to supervise and help us with our academic work for we all must succeed
I - Initiating true movements of care and nurture from the inner muscle of the heart
N - Negative space surrendered to your warm spirit and welcoming smile
D - Dance education was your mission and you served and fulfilled it with extraordinary dedication
A - An Attitude of excellence underpinned your world

I will miss you Linda, but that which you imparted continues to dance in and through me!

Lisa Wilson
MEd (Dance) student 2006-2007
Dance lecturer at University of Cape Town


I always think of Linda twirling ribbons and demonstrating dance movements to us on the Creative Arts MEd in 2010. Linda captivated and inspired me. My first dance lesson ever and it was a moving experience watching her - she could make a dancer - and dance pedagogue - out of anyone. A lovely, vibrant lady.

Sue King
Music Teacher/Performer/VocalCoach
MEd, BA (Mus)


Please accept our condolences from the staff at Bishop Fox's School, Somerset, who had the opportunity to work with Linda. I know that Laura Hart, our Head of Dance, held her in very high regard and always enjoyed her visits into school.

Kerry Tonkin


On behalf of Alison Duress (HOD), Laura Hitchens (PST) and the College, we would like to pass on our condolences to the staff Linda worked with at Exeter and to her family.

I met Linda several times on her visits to Bodmin and was always struck by her passion for her subject and for the care that she showed for all of her trainees. All of the Dance Trainees that we have had from Exeter have always spoken highly of Linda and I am sure that she will be sadly missed by all of you.

Jean Harris
ITT Coordinator/Professional Tutor
Bodmin College


I got to know Linda, despite already having her books on my shelves and being very aware of her research, after moving to Exeter seven years ago. Linda leaves a legacy amongst dance teachers that has affected and will continue to influence the dance education of so many young people.

I will miss her knowledgeable, calm and reassuring presence, as will so many others. Having worked closely with many of Linda's past PGCE students, the sentiments that ring through most clearly are that Linda inspired them, guided them, had belief in them and brought out the best in them.

Amy Phillips
Dance Teacher, PST & UVT
Exmouth Community College


I was fortunate to have Linda as a teacher during my M.A. course at Exeter University in 2003-2004 and I have many fond memories of her as a lovely, caring person and a very good and entertaining teacher.

I will always cherish those memories...

May she rest in peace.

Christiana Christou


I am one of those young dancers that Linda made a massive impact on. Without my time in Devon Youth Dance Company, I would never have got my degree in Dance. Without Linda, I would never have thought it possible to dance as a career and then continue to train as a dance teacher on her programme. I owe her an awful lot. As do the PGCE Dance students that now visit my school every year. A true inspiration. L spells legend.

Suzie West
Head of Dance Kingsbridge Community College
SpinDrift Dance Company Director


I was an MEd student in Dance in 2007-2009 and Linda was both my teacher during my time there and my supervisor for my final dissertation. As a mature student, Linda and I were close in age and I admired the way that she approached working with me – always supportive, optimistic, warm and encouraging but giving me that extra push when it was most needed! An approach and attributes that I would like to be able to emulate and bring into my own teaching. I will also remember her for her energy in the classroom and her unfailing advocacy for dance.

Sheila de Val
Head of Dance Partnership/Danseformidler
Skolen for Moderne Dans,


I would not be where I am now without Linda. After accepting me on the course without a dance degree, Linda became my mother figure in my PGCE year. She was the first person I rang to say that I got a job. We had some great times with her on the course and I will never forget the day I received the Ted Wragg award and she was there to support me.

You will be missed Lindyhop! Thank you so much for everything you did for me. Not sure where I would be now without you!

An amazing and talented woman who will never be forgotten.

Jess Giles
PGCE Dance Student 2010-2011
Dance and Drama Teacher at Tavistock College


I was fortunate enough to have been trained by Linda, and I like many others was in awe of Linda’s passion and knowledge of teaching dance. Linda always had a suggestion or tip for anything and her love of the subject was brilliantly contagious. I feel honoured to be known in the teaching profession as a ‘Linda’ and will miss her dearly.

Carly Reader
PGCE Dance Student 2006-7


My training with Linda on the PGCE Dance course had a truly transformative effect on my life giving me a career in dance education which I have loved. Her professionalism, humour and passion for both dance and teaching dance was an inspiration to me and my fellow cohort on the first year of the PGCE Dance course. I know that I am among many on the first year of the PGCE Dance course whose teaching careers have been deeply touched and influenced by Linda.

Richard O’Brien
Curriculum Manager for Performing Arts
City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


Linda gave me the confidence to believe I was a good teacher and her calm professional and caring approach motivated and made me strive to always be better. I was part of her first PGCE Dance cohort-I don't know how she coped or what she thought when we all turned up in her studio but we were like a little family! I remember how she would laugh with our jokes and want to listen to all our gossip and then quickly make us get back to work in silence! I just hope she knew that we are all successful Dance Teachers and have her to thank for getting us the career we all so truly wanted. 2002-2003 - A year that I will never forget!

Jenny Purdy
Head of Dance, Ken Stimpson Community School
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


Linda was a really special person who had a major influence on us all. When we first came together (all of us nervous I'm sure!) I was struck by the diversity of the group. However, Linda had clearly seen in us what was soon to become a group that would support and influence each other making that relatively short period in our lives so very special. Linda gave us the tools to do what we love and enriched our lives by encouraging us to fulfil our potential. I personally am thankful that I was part of that first cohort Linda assembled and hope with all my heart that she was proud of us all and will continue to watch over us as we see out the careers she helped us embark upon.

Rebecca Farish Beaumont
Head of Dance and Drama, Thamesview High School
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


Linda was the ultimate professional - calm, gentle and sincere. I was lucky and very fortunate to be part of the first PGCE Dance cohort and will always look back on my time with Linda and my fellow PGCE students with fondness and happy memories. It is because of her I am the teacher that I am today and feel privileged to have known and worked with her. She is/was an amazing woman.

Nicola King
Head of Dance, Mounts Bay Academy
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


Linda was a truly inspirational teacher and I owe her so much as I have been so grateful to have the privilege to embark upon the career that she helped us to take our first steps upon. I feel so lucky to have been in that first cohort of PGCE students with Linda and I really felt that we all had a special bond that year. I will always cherish the many fantastic memories from that year. Linda was so supportive and helpful throughout. I definitely would not be where I am today without Linda's fantastic teaching. I hope that we will all go on to continue to make Linda proud and I will always honour her memory.

Amy Goodall
Head of Dance , John Masefield High School
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


I am so sad to hear the news. Linda Rolfe had such an impact on my life- She helped to mould me into the professional that I am today. After the PGCE course I travelled around the world teaching dance and have not stopped since. Linda inspired me in such a way that I will never forget. I feel so proud to have been part of our PGCE Dance group- in many ways we was like a family- I will miss her and I miss you all.

Motsamai Tsotetsi
Dance Specialist at Edu-dance, Johannesburg Area, South Africa
PGCE Dance Cohort 2002-2003


As hearing the sad news, what appear in my mind are all the scenes of her demonstration of clown dance, comedy dance, of our discussions about creativity, of the short time we spent together. Linda was dedicated to her work and ideals. She will always have a place in my mind. She is our dance tutor.

Dr Joy Y Lin, Taiwan
MEd in Creative Arts (Drama) 2003-2004


Although I only knew Linda for just a few short weeks as part of her final PGCE cohort, it quickly became very clear to me how incredible she was. I found her passion and knowledge for dance and education both inspiring and refreshing. Her calm and approachable persona pentrated the anxiety surrounding a new educational experience and offered a ray of hope and excitement for the incredibly fulfilling year that I have experienced to date.

A fond memory: I will never forget my first day on the PGCE course - Linda took a photograph of our cohort and planned to take a similar photograph on our final day of the course, joking about how much we would have all aged through a single year of teaching.

It saddens me greatly that I was unable to know her better but even within that few short weeks, Linda inspired me to share my passion for dance with everyone and anyone, and that is what I plan to do!

Alexandra Gordon
PGCE Dance Student 2011-2012


Linda was a fantastic, inspiring person who I remember fondly. I achieved a First for the dance and music aspect of my degree partly due to her great enthusiasm and passion. When I met her, back in the early nineties, I felt that I had met someone to look up to.

Kathryn Armstrong (nee Kathryn Galton)