With dancers making a foray into the fitness realm, dance classes are gaining popularity not only among dance enthusiasts but also among fitness-conscious people. While dancing can be fun, it can prove to be difficult for people with limited mobility or any other sort of restrictions.
Regardless of ability, everyone should be able to participate in dance classes – they're an excellent way to stay fit, catch up with old friends and meet new people. With this in mind, Disability Horizons' Tom Housden spoke to Rashmi Becker, Founding Director of Step Change Studios, which is a dance company that helps people with different abilities dance.
This one-of-a-kind dance studio accommodates people regardless of their age and ability.
"I established Step Change Studios in response to a lack of inclusive dance opportunities for disabled people," Becker told DisabilityHorizons.
"Having worked in social care, and being guardian to my older brother who has autism, I was acutely aware of the limited opportunities for disabled people to be active, especially in Latin and Ballroom dance," she added.
British television dance contest, "Strictly Come Dancing" has an impressive viewership of about 10.7 million, and it's worth noting that there are 11.2 million differently-abled people in the U.K. In other words, 1 in 5 of every person is dealing with some sort of physical limitation.
"So I wanted to enable more disabled people to dance," Becker explained.
Within a span of just one year, Step Change Studios managed to change lives of almost 900 people with disabilities by helping them to dance. The studio has set up platforms for inclusive dance performances with over 5,000 live audiences and has delivered a whopping 220 hours of inclusive dance.
With participants of ages ranging from 4 to 90 years old, the studio has provided dance for people of all abilities and ages. Individuals with learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, autism, Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, dementia, sensory impairments, paraplegia and other life-limiting conditions have participated in these dance performances.
Despite dealing with different challenges, participants have one thing in common - their desire to dance. The participants express their happiness and pleasure in the form of feedbacks.
Apart from enjoying the dance, participants make new friends and gain more self-confidence, other benefits include improved balance and concentration, and considerably improved fitness. Check out the video below to learn more about Step Change Studios.
Image credit: Step Change Studios/YouTube Screencap