About Us

Established in 2009, DanceSyndrome was the inspiration of founder and Creative Director, Jen Blackwell, who has Down’s syndrome, and wanted to follow her dream of being a dancer and dance leader.

Jen went to mainstream school and whilst there she realised how much she loved to dance and decided that she wanted to become a community dance worker. After leaving school Jen found herself in the frustrating position of not being able to fulfil her ambition because there was no suitable dance training for a person with a learning disability. After 10 years of unsuccessfully searching for training that was appropriate and inclusive it became clear that many others were in the same situation. Something needed to change and Jen and her parents took matters into their own hands. They formed DanceSyndrome in 2009 and it was registered as a charity in 2013.

Our team strives to continue to provide new and exciting opportunities for people who may otherwise be excluded from mainstream dance. We believe that everyone has the right to follow their own interests and passions – whether they have a disability or not. We have an equal number of learning-disabled and non-disabled company members, and we provide inclusive dance and leadership opportunities for people who believe disability need not be a barrier to living life to the full.

All our dance activity is led and informed by people with learning disabilities. DanceSyndrome activities give people confidence, respect, value and self-belief through our philosophy of ‘anything is possible even though you have a learning disability’.

Our Vision is Simple

Empowering learning-disabled individuals through inclusive dance.

Our Charitable Objective is:

To advance education in the art of dance for the public benefit, in particular (but not exclusively) for the learning disabled.

Our Mission

To be a sustainable leading community role model that provides high quality inclusive dance leadership, participation, performance and training opportunities for both learning disabled and non-disabled individuals and our company of dancers.

Our core values are embedded within our mission statement:

  • Respect and value people
  • Fun
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Freedom of expression
  • Partnership
  • Listen and engage local people
  • Drive dance leadership
  • Fairness and equality
  • Clear accountability and transparency
  • Quality and Artistic excellence
  • Innovation
  • Participation

Jen Blackwell

Founder Director

Peter Pamphlett

Dance Leader & Director

Dawn Vickers

Managing Director

Sarah Calderbank

Project Coordinator

Sophie Tickle

Lead Artist & Project Manager

Toni Nel

Director