Ian Parmel – CEO & Co-founder

Ian co-founded ACE dance and music in 1997 with his wife Gail and has been instrumental in ensuring that the company remains true to its core vision of placing dance at the centre of all they do.

Ian’s role has a number of key responsibilities that drive ACE’s development, ranging from fulfilling the company vision with the help of the board of directors, ensuring sustainability and growth, and working to ensure budgetary control of current projects while fundraising for future core and capital projects. He and his team are responsible for making sure that ACE able to develop their work with audiences throughout the community, ensuring that the quality of this work is exceptional. He also pioneers opportunities for emerging black dancers and choreographers to further talent in the sector. In his previous role as Director of ACE dance and music he led the capital development of ACE Space and oversaw the vision of the company ten-year strategy which secured the companies highest uplift for dance in the UK.

In recognition of his contribution to the art form, Ian was shortlisted for ‘One Dance UK’s Dance of the African Diaspora Lifetime Achievement Award 2018’.

Gail Parmel – Artistic Director & Co-founder

Gail Parmel is Artistic Director of ACE dance and music. Gail was born in Leeds in 1970 and is very proud of her Yorkshire roots, she graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 1996 with a BA Degree. After working for Kokuma Dance Company, Gail founded ACE dance and music with husband Ian Parmel in 1997. Gail’s career in dance and choreography spans two action packed decades, including 16 years as a choreographer, creating 10 successful touring productions with ACE dance and music. One of the UK’s hidden female talents, Gail combines captivating, energetic contemporary movement with African Caribbean dance forms, resulting in ACE dance and music being one of the most exciting, eclectic and resilient dance companies in the UK.

Gail’s approach is one of collaboration. She is unafraid to challenge preconceptions about contemporary dance and enjoys fusing intercultural and interdisciplinary themes and stimulating debate in the dance sector about what it means to engage with contemporary dance in 21st Century. Over the years she has joined forces with world renowned choreographers such as Akiko Kitamura (Japan), Robert Moses (San Francisco), Vincent Mantsoe (South Africa), Andile Sotiya (U.K.), Douglas Thorpe (U.K.), Jose Agudo (Spain) and Barwen Tavaziva (Zimbabwe).

She was identified as one of Cultural Leadership Programme’s (CLP) ‘Top 50 Women to Watch’, an inspiring list of 50 influential women working within the arts and culture sector across the UK. She was also voted one of the 20 Most Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora in Europe, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day by the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) . In recognition of her contribution to the art form, Gail was shortlisted for ‘One Dance UK’s Dance of the African Diaspora Lifetime Achievement Award 2018’.

Ann-Marie Wright – Executive Director

Ann-Marie joins us from Public Health England where she provided project management support for large health transformation projects.  After achieving her first degree in psychology at Staffordshire University she went on to train as a probation officer and completed her second degree in Criminal Justice studies at the University of Birmingham.  Since then she has worked across several public sector organisations, including the Local Authority, NHS and education providers across England.  Ann-Marie also takes a risk management approach to her work to ensure accountability that projects have a full audit trail.  Her experience of management of both people and large teams in these organisations will be advantageous to ACE dance and music and Ann-Marie is looking forward to utilising her skills working in the arts – a new environment for her but a challenge she is excited to accept.

Ann-Marie will be working closely with both Ian, Gail and the senior management team to manage the company and realise the company 10-year plan.  This will involve working to ensure the company delivers its current work commitments, as well as ensuring they are best placed to continue delivering new and exciting projects in the future.  Her attention to detail and meticulous planning skills will be essential as the company embarks on ambitious plans to grow and develop its offer to the world of arts.

Ann-Marie is married with 2 children.  In her spare time Ann-Marie enjoys running a busy family home, playing and coaching netball and reading.

Iona Waite – Education Officer

Iona began attending dance classes at her local community centre at the age of 9; a year later she joined ACE Youth and has been an integral member of the company ever since.

Following a foundation course at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, she went on to achieve a BA Hons at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2011 Iona was awarded a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to become a Dance Fellow (apprentice) with ACE dance and music and on completion of her fellowship Iona was offered a full-time position as Education Officer. She was sortlisted for ‘One Dance UK Community Practitioner Award’ in 2018.

Iona leads on all aspects of education and outreach for the company, delivers ACE’s thriving weekly class programme for children aged 2 – 19 years as well as teaching and managing the rehearsal and tour schedule of ACE Youth.

Kesha Béaupierre – Marketing Assistant

Kesha grew up in Birmingham and was encouraged to join a street dance group in Newtown. In her teenage years she joined ACE dance and music’s youth class and she was invited to join ACE Youth’s touring company, performing on international stages in and around Europe. After leaving college, Kesha took a gap year and completed an Apprenticeship in Business Administration for which she received an NVQ qualification.

Kesha graduated from the University of Worcester with a BA Hons Business, Entrepreneurship and Marketing degree in 2017, Throughout her university life she was very keen to continue dancing and became Chair of the Dance Society and Vice-Captain of the Street Dance and Commercial teams.  They competed against other universities around the UK and won multiple trophies and Varsity in 2015, 2016 and 2017. This helped to enhance her leadership skills by planning, working with budgets and fundraising for the society.

She then returned to ACE as a Marketing Intern. In March 2018, Kesha completed her internship and now works full-time as Marketing Assistant. She manages all digital content creation, social media, marketing materials and communicating with ACE’s many audiences.

Anna Jankowiak – Administration Officer

Anna grew up in Poland where she studied literature and developed an interest in the arts. She then moved to Birmingham, where she has worked in administration and customer service roles for over 10 years. Within that time, she has also graduated from the University of Birmingham with an MA degree in Art History and Curating and she has been working and volunteering for leading arts organisations for the last 2 years. She is especially interested in public engagement and how different people experience art. Anna is passionate about various art forms, especially visual arts and theatre. She is interested in how these disciplines inform and influence each other and that is why she is really excited to join ACE, which produces creative and innovative performances combining dance with ideas from other arts disciplines.

In her spare time, Anna enjoys cooking, travelling, visiting museums and long walks in the countryside.

Juliet Thomas – Development Officer

After studying and training as a dancer at university, Juliet immediately started work in the arts sector, working for the national dance agency and as an artist with education and community organisations. This led to other roles with various leading arts companies in Birmingham and the Black Country.

After joining ACE to market one of their professional productions, the role has expanded, and she is now an integral part of the team that helps the company realise its creative ambitions. Her work covers; tour booking and liaison with venues and artists, fundraising, devising outreach programmes and help with education. The role is one that enables projects to happen. It is an exciting mix and continually changes across the year.

Juliet loves all aspects of dance and working for ACE fulfills her desire to be a part of a company that really makes a difference – it’s remarkable to be in an environment where you actually see the future generation and artists grow!

Alethea Hegney – Freelance Finance Officer

Alethea deals with all of the financial aspects of ACE dance and music’s work. She has worked as an Accountant for 25 years and has been with ACE dance and music since 2014. She is married with 3 children.




Sam Eaves – Freelance Marketing Consultant

Sam has over 25 years experience in arts and education marketing. After working in venues as Marketing Manager at the Palace Theatre and Opera House and then The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, she joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as Marketing Manager for 16 years. She therefore has experience of touring marketing from both sides of the fence. She has spent the last two years marketing in an independent school in Oxford before pursuing a freelance marketing career providing practical support originating and delivering successful marketing campaigns within agreed budgets and objectives. She is working with ACE to drive sales for their upcoming tour, brand and website development and all things marketing.

In her spare time she enjoys open water swimming, trawling round charity shops for bargains and ferrying her family around to their numerous clubs!