Helen Shepherd completed Dance by Example in 2016. 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. This case study shows how Dance by Example has worked for Helen, who has gone on to lead two weekly workshops, as well as representing DanceSyndrome at lots of special events and taking on an administrative role in the office too!

“Hi my name is Helen and I’m from Darwen, Lancashire. I am a support worker for a charity; I help to run workshops for adults with physical and learning disabilities, encouraging and enabling new skills and independence.

I enjoy going to watch live music and attending festivals. I also enjoy being creative including weaving, knitting, silk painting, tie dying, singing and lots of other ways.

I have always enjoyed dancing. I have explored different sorts of dancing in recent years, I have tried Belly dancing and really enjoyed it and I did ballet and tap when I was young. I had heard of inclusive dance but never looked into it before.

I heard about DanceSyndrome and the Dance By Example course through a friend of my mum’s so Mum & I attended the induction day to find out what it was all about. It was very exciting to find out all about the course and we were really happy to get a place.

The course started in September I was excited to explore inclusive dance further but also a little apprehensive going into something new. There was no need to be nervous as the tutors put me at ease straight away. I had some concerns because I have some health problems and I didn’t know if I would be able to keep up but I didn’t need to worry as the course is inclusive for all and allows me to manage my health issues in any way I need to. The pace and the aim of the course has been really good for me.

The course is fantastic! I have really enjoyed meeting a lovely group of people and learning lots of new skills. We are covering lots of theory at the moment and I am really excited about the next few weeks when we will put all the practical and theory work together and get to try out all we have learned!”

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