Sue Blackwell is a Trustee at DanceSyndrome and co-founded the charity with her daughter Jen in 2009. The charity was started because Jen, who happens to have Down’s syndrome, was unable to find suitable dance training for a person with a learning disability and many other people were in the same situation. Sue has been there every step of the way as DanceSyndrome has developed and grown and she is incredibly proud of what the charity has achieved in recent years.


Sue wrote the following feedback in response to DanceSyndrome’s second performance of “Orbit” at The Met, Bury on Monday 23rd January:


I’m just back from the second performance of Orbit, DanceSyndrome’s Arts Council funded project and wanted to share my thoughts with you.


I’m no dancer, but it’s amazing in so many ways, not least the way that it has each and every member of the audience mesmerised and engaged in the ebb and flo of the action, from calm to energetic to dynamic or reflective. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop, such was the engagement of every member of the diverse audience.  It was interesting that over half the audience had learning disabilities and all were bound up in the spell of the dance so at no time was I aware of a rustle or sound or movement either voluntary or involuntary.


Orbit has evolved so much since it premiered in November, it’s almost a different piece.  The complexity, the intricacy and connections between every dancer are yet more amazing, more personal, more committed and confident.  The dancers adapted perfectly to the different space, constraining movements where necessary and showing their ability to be adaptable and professional dancers.


So, very, very many thanks to all the dancers.


Through their actions these guys are living proof of their right to be treated as equal citizens and afforded opportunities in the same way the rest of the population takes for granted.  There are not lesser mortals, just different with differing needs and abilities from which all in society can learn, benefit and embrace.  Together the dancers are demonstrably one organic body each entitled to be an individual but equally to converse with any number of others, and always coming together at the end as one complete whole.


To Sophie Tickle, our incredible Lead Artist, I must say this: You are achieving wonders, more than any training, college course, counselling, therapy will ever deliver.


I would love to find a way to portray the enormity of this journey.  It is being filmed, and we are looking forward to having some great quality footage that we can share, but that in itself will never convey the atmosphere and the focus that every dancer brings to their performance in that moment.  We now need more people to see our work and to understand the power in what we do. Our next challenge is to make DanceSyndrome more visible and to start performing at more high profile events – our dancers have proven they are more than capable of achieving this!


The final performance of Orbit is taking place at St Helens Library on Friday 3rd February and tickets are available from


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