Dance by Example is DanceSyndrome’s unique training course which empowers people with learning disabilities to become dance leaders and those without learning disabilities to become support artists.

Dorothy Shepherd completed Dance by Example in 2016. She explains in her own words why taking part in Dance By Example has been a valuable experience for her:

“I have long been retired from a career which spanned office work, teaching adults and social work. In my forties, whilst struggling with depression, I discovered singing which has led to many wonderful experiences and has made me passionate about the power of the arts to benefit people’s physical and mental health.

“About a year ago a great opportunity arose to train with DanceSyndrome to learn the principles of dance and the skills required to co-lead sessions alongside leaders who have learning disabilities. I had always enjoyed ceilidh dancing and watching ballet but had never done contemporary dance. I was accepted on to the course and a very challenging journey commenced.

“During the weekly training sessions I was frequently outside my comfort zone, however, the clear and supportive teaching in a safe space empowered me to continue. It has been inspiring to learn and develop skills alongside the young people who have learning disabilities. I have been thrilled to see participants, including, myself grow in their dance and leadership skills, fitness, team work, confidence, social skills. and awareness of inclusion and equality.

“Observing, for my final weeks of study, young folk who have learning disabilities, co-leading dance sessions and being excellent role models for their peers has been truly heartening. Whatever our age, whatever our physical or mental abilities we can all dance. DanceSyndrome has shown me how help others to access dance and all its side benefits and I am proud to be part of this movement.”

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Dorothys-Story