Meet two of our Dance by Example trainees Jonathan and Kelly. Both came to the training programme through other DanceSyndrome workshops, read about their experiences below.
Jonathan Rodman aged 35 from Chorley loves to attend DanceSyndrome’s community dance workshop in Hindley. He often leads the dancing along with Dance Leader Jen and Dance Artist Donna and as such has enrolled this year on DanceSyndrome’s Dance By Example training course in Preston, to learn how to co-deliver community dance workshops. Jonathan has Down’s syndrome and is supported by Carole.
“I have been attending DanceSyndrome for a while now and I love going. I have grown in confidence and love being asked to help out with Donna and Jen. I enjoy myself so much that I am now training to be a Dance Leader.
I have made new friends, I am good friends with Jen, I look forward to going every week. I think it is fun and a good way to do exercise and I have stayed the same weight even though I can eat more. I have also got muscles on my legs now through exercise”. – Jonathan
“When Jonathan first went to DanceSyndrome, me and other staff had concerns that Jonathan would just do his own thing and not follow the Dance Leaders. When we arrived for the first time, Jonathan saw Jen and said I know Jen from school, she is the same as me. Because of Jen, Jonathan relaxed and to our surprise he followed the dance routines and it wasn’t long before he had learnt them. Jonathan looks forward to dance every week and he really enjoys himself, his confidence has grown and he has been given the opportunity to train as a Dance Leader. This makes him feel important. DanceSyndrome offers an opportunity for people with and without learning disabilities to learn a variety of dances and also a social environment to meet different people with different abilities and to make new friends. Jonathan’s parents said they looked for years for dance classes but could never find anything suitable and are really pleased that Jonathan is now following his dream. Without DanceSyndrome Jonathan wouldn’t have the opportunity to do something he loves to do. From my point of view, I have been a Support Worker for over 20 years and it’s the best activity I have ever seen. It’s exercise, but it’s also a lot of fun. I love watching everyone having fun, some take longer to learn routines but that is what is so good, there is no pressure on anyone and we all have fun learning. DanceSyndrome is a true asset, and you should be so proud of your achievement, keep up the good work and thank you.” – Carole
Kelly, aged 36 from Chorley, has been interested in dance from a young age. She received an A grade for GCSE Dance and decided she would like to go on to Winstanley college with her friends, however she did not get all of the grades needed to secure a place and instead followed a fitness path, taking a place at Wigan Technology college. After several jobs where targets, high stress and long hours were the norm, her health deteriorated until Christmas 2013 when she was hospitalised for her stress related illness.
During the first 2 months after leaving the hospital, the Mental Health Crisis Team were on hand with home visits to ensure that Kelly was keeping on track with her recovery. It was at this point that Nicola Lockley (Occupational Therapist from the Community Support Team for Mental Health at Chorley Hospital) informed her about DanceSyndrome’s HealthZone and TimeOut sessions running every Tuesday at The Masonic Hall in Chorley. The TimeOut sessions are aimed at giving extra support to people trying to work through difficulties around both mental and physical health. She attended her first workshop in April 2014 and was immediately hooked. She loved the creative, relaxed style and started to feel as if she could move through her problems, she left feeling as though she could see a route to recovery. She returned the following week and was encouraged to have a go at co-delivering the session with DanceSyndrome’s Dance Leader Jen. They shared solos, moved through creative ideas and most importantly had a lot of fun. Kelly said “the session felt very therapeutic and gave me lots of ideas for a future career path”.
It was at this point that she was informed of DanceSyndrome’s training course entitled Dance By Example. This fit with Kelly’s ideas about a route back into work, and re-ignited her passion for dance as an alternative career to her previous fitness instructor experience.
A few months into the course and Kelly can see a future for herself, she will soon be moving to Morecambe and aims to attend the A Level Dance course at Morecambe and Lancaster College. She also hopes to use her Dance By Example training to deliver dance workshops while she completes her studies.
Kelly said “I feel brilliant on Dance By Example and I look forward to every Wednesday. It is opening my eyes to work possibilities and while it’s not all easy working with so many different people, with different needs and different ways it has re-ignited my passion for dance again. The discipline of dance is wonderful for my recovery and life at the moment is really good and positive.”