DanceSyndrome Launches “Select Team”
DanceSyndrome is a charity that focuses on ability rather than disability. We work with a lot of talented individuals, with and without disabilities, who have lots of amazing ideas for driving the charity forward and lots of skills that we want to enable them to develop.
As part of our Spirit of 2012 funded project “Everybody Dance” we committed to running focus groups with the participants, but we decided to take this a step further a set up a regular forum for the dancers to share information, ideas and feedback. We know it is important for people to have their voices heard and we wanted to make sure that all of our dancers had that opportunity.
Dance Leader Becky Rich suggested the name of “Select Team” for this group and the group agreed on it. Becky also took the role of Co-Chairperson for the first meeting and for future meetings the role of Co-Chairperson will be shared between any group members who would like to take a turn. This group was formed to help inform the decisions made by the charity trustees but the group also wanted to publicly celebrate and share their ideas, so we will be blogging about each of their meetings.
First of all, lets meet the group members:
From left to right, top to bottom:
The group are supported by:
Sophie Tickle (Lead Artist)
Dawn Vickers (Managing Director)
Nicole McKenna (Dance Artist)
Donna Harrison (Dance Artist)
The group meetings are also attended by the dancers’ family members and support workers.
The first meeting:
The Select Team held their first meeting on Wednesday 28th June 2017 at Plungington Community Centre, Preston. They talked a lot about what they felt were the biggest successes of the year and the feelings that they reported are truly a testament to the importance of the work that DanceSyndrome does.
In early June, the dancers gave a performance in Manchester with Centre Pointe Dance and they talked about how much they loved performing and the audience clapping and cheering. It made them feel happy, fantastic and included. They met new friends and learned new dance skills. Everyone was looking forward to performing in Birmingham and in Edinburgh and they agreed that it’s important to have something to look forward to and to work towards. They all said they’d smash Edinburgh and make people sit up and take notice!
They talked about other ideas for the future like going on “Britains Got Talent” and this lead to a discussion about how important the audience are to the dancers. Some of them feel that applause and cheering are important to encourage them, while others are so engrossed in their performance that they don’t notice at all. One thing that they all agreed on was that they wanted to carry on dancing because it made them feel happy, they looked forward to it and that they felt like part of a dancing family which was really important to them.
The group also had a discussion about what concerns them. Everyone said they felt happy and secure in the dance space and to continue this, they had a brief discussion about things that they want to avoid talking about in those sessions so that everyone remained comfortable in the dance space. They also talked about whether everyone felt included in Society or not and how this made them feel, as well as how they were involved within their own local communities and social groups.
As part of the discussion about involvement, Society and community everyone said they refused to be defined by disability and everyone agreed the dancers are all amazing role models!
The professional Dance Artists said that never in their careers had they been enabled to work in such an inclusive way and, in their opinion, it is the best way to work. Everyone makes an active contribution to the dance content and the Dance Leaders’ have been seen to grow not only artistically but also in self-efficacy and agency. Parents and carers said they’d seen positive development in the team, as well as with individuals, over the past 2 years.
Everybody feels that DanceSyndrome is unique in the way that it offers high quality opportunities and wonderful opportunities for close relationships to form. This is something really valuable to them that they really don’t want to change.
This is all really great feedback for us and helps us to know that we are doing things right and how we can take things forward in the future. We love to hear feedback from everyone, regardless of how they are involved with DanceSyndrome, so if you would like to share something with us, please get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07597 942494.
If you’d like to read more feedback from our dancers, participants and professionals that we have worked with, you can visit the testimonials page on our website.