ISTD Directory of Inclusive Dance Organisations, Providers and Publications
Local Councils (UK)
Local councils/authorities usually provide plenty of services and information for families with disabled children (e.g. support groups), or for professionals working with disabled children (e.g. safeguarding). To find a local council's website in a given area, the UK Government website provides a post code / local council finder.
National Disability Organisations (UK)
Downs Syndrome Association
The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) is the only charity in the UK dealing with all aspects of Down’s syndrome. Its aim is to help people with Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.
- Website: https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/
Mencap’s mission is to transform society’s attitudes to learning disability and improve the quality of life of people with a learning disability and their families.
- Website: https://www.mencap.org.uk/
Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Website: https://www.mind.org.uk/
National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society is the UK's largest provider of specialist autism services.
- Website: https://www.autism.org.uk/
National Deaf Children’s Society
- Website: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people.
- Website: https://www.rnib.org.uk
- Website: https://www.scope.org.uk/
Information, courses, guidance and training offered by dance organisations (UK)
ActOne ArtsBase is a charity providing inclusive dance and performance training for disabled and non-disabled people. It provides weekly dance sessions, a trainee programme for aspiring disabled dance professionals, inclusive nightclubs, holiday projects and touring performance companies. Main projects are held in Ware, Watford and Hatfield, but they also offer services across Hertfordshire and London.
- Websites: http://www.artsbase.org.uk, http://silverbirchdance.com/project/dancebase/
- Resources: Dance, Dance, Dance playlist with examples of dance films produced by disabled dancers and companies
AMICI Dance Theatre Company is a unique dance theatre company integrating able-bodied and disabled artists and performers. Founded by Wolfgang Stange in 1980, its productions and workshops have had a major impact world-wide, challenging conventional attitudes about disability and the arts. Based in London.
- Website: https://amicidance.org/
- Resources: ‘The magic of Amici’ Resource Pack - A written practical guide about Amici Dance Theatre Company and their working methods with a foreword by Clement Crisp OBE, anecdotes from Wolfgang Stange and chapters including: The structure of an Amici session, use of music, use of props, words and visual images, from workshop to stage, improvisation and the Amici "Magic". The DVD is a special film celebrating 30 years of Amici, narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley, it shows Amici's amazing history of productions, compiling images from over 250 hours of rarely seen archive footage, including recent interviews with Wolfgang Stange. It also gives a unique insight into the methods that Amici employ in their creation processes and guidelines to workshop practices and works as an accompaniment to the written practical guide.
- Costs: DVD and Guide (including p&p) £32.00 (https://amicidance.org/about/about-amici-menu)
- Resources: ‘Nothing about me, without me’ - A disability equality education teaching and learning resource for PSHE education developed and written in partnership with St Luke’s Primary School. Includes lesson plans, assembly ideas and biographies.
- Costs: Free to download (http://www.carousel.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NothingAboutMeWithoutMe_WebResource.pdf)
Corali is a leading organisation involved in dance created by artists with a learning disability. Based in London. They offer classes and workshop for people with learning disabilities and a youth dance company (Kick Up).
- Website: https://www.corali.org.uk/engagement
Candoco Dance Company
Candodco Youth Dance Company – performance company for young disabled and nondisabled dancers working with different professional choreographers towards performances.
Training courses for teachers – intensive summer schools.
- Website: http://candoco.co.uk/
- Resources: Student Resource Pack: explains about the company and its work
- Costs: PDF free to download from web site (http://candoco.co.uk/learning)
Dance Unstuck is a research and development programme which explores a teaching approach and infrastructure through which dance classes can become more universally accessible to all. Initial research has focused on the ballet genre.
- Website: https://danceunstuck.co.uk/
- Resources: Teaching resources – barre, centre and travelling exercises which reference professional company class material and the RAD Grade 2 syllabus. Teaching Notes and videos available.
- Costs: Free to access and download (https://danceunstuck.co.uk/category/teaching-resources/grade2/)
Disability Arts Online:
Disability Arts Online is an organisation led by disabled people, set up to advance disability arts and culture through the pages of our journal. It gives disabled artists a platform to blog and share thoughts and images describing artistic practice, projects and just the daily stuff of finding inspiration to be creative.
Information about courses, companies and opportunities, get inspiration from stories from professional artists who are disabled. Find out more about some of the people and institutions blazing a trail to open up higher education in the performing arts to talented disabled young people.
- Website: http://diversefutures.org.uk/
- Resources: Map of the UK, signposting training and courses
- Costs: Free to access (http://diversefutures.org.uk/map.html)
icandance was established in September 2006 by Founder and Principal Juliet Diener with the vision to make dance accessible for all. Believing in the power of dance and its ability to support well-being icandance’s mission is to nurture creativity, learning and wellbeing through dance and movement.
- Website: https://www.icandance.org.uk/
Jabadao - National Centre for Movement Play
Jabadao offers training, project delivery and resources for teachers working with children and young people with special needs.
- Website: https://www.jabadao.org/jabadao-special-needs
- Resources and Costs: Their on-line shop has a range of props and resources for sale. (https://www.jabadao.org/jabadao-shop
LINKED is a collaboration between four dance organisations – Candoco Dance Company, Greenwich Dance, Magpie Dance and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, providing support for disabled children, young people and their families in South East London to enjoy dance.
- Website: http://www.linked.dance/
- Resources: Listings of local classes and activities in South East London, which are accessible to disabled children and young people. Dedicated Practitioner Support section with useful web links, videos (Videos of interviews with practitioners: What I Wish I had Known! Insights from Inclusive Dance Artists.) and other resources (e.g. listings of organisations and initiatives focused on inclusive dance.)
- Costs: Free to access (http://www.linked.dance/events, http://www.linked.dance/practitioner-support)
Magpie Dance is the UK’s leading dance charity for people with learning disabilities. We believe that a learning disability should not be a barrier to personal and artistic success. Through dance, our participants gain life, social and communication skills with added health and wellbeing benefits.
- Website: https://www.magpiedance.org.uk/
- Resources: Magpie Dance offers a range of inclusive training opportunities for teachers, fitness instructors and dance professionals. Workshops offered: Inclusive Dance CPD, Mentoring, Inclusive Dance Practice Training Programme, Inclusive exercise class CPD, Inclusive Event Organisation CPD/ mentoring, Dementia and Dance CPD.
- Costs: Workshop prices vary (https://www.magpiedance.org.uk/training-for-teachers-fitness-instructors-dance-professionals/)
North East Inclusive Dance Network
The North East Inclusive Dance Network is currently made up of a group of artists and organisations committed to the development of inclusive dance practice. The network is an open forum allowing any individual or organisation to join and contribute to the aims of the network.
- Website: https://www.neidn.co.uk/the-network
- Resources: List of organisations who are members are on the web site. There is also a page with Useful Links & Documents – including Arts Council guidance documents, links to other organisations delivering the practice and guidelines for venue managers to make venues more accessible etc.
- Costs: Free to join and free access to resources (https://www.neidn.co.uk/useful-links)
One Dance UK
The UK sector support organisation for dance. They are also the subject association for dance representing the interests of dance in the state school sector. The organisation runs national programmes to increase and widen participation and improve progression routes for children and young people in dance, regardless of their backgrounds.
- Website: https://www.onedanceuk.org/
- Resources: U.Dance Inclusion of Disabled Participants, Guidelines for Organisers of Youth Dance Platforms. The guidelines are useful for teachers organising dance performance to ensure inclusion of children and young people with disabilities. They also have a range of teaching resources available on-line – some that can be accessed freely and others that are available to members.
- Costs: Free pdf to download (https://www.onedanceuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Inclusion-Guidelines-for-U.Dance-updated-August-2016.pdf).
Para Dance UK
Para Dance UK is the national governing body for Para Dance Sport in the UK. Its aim is to develop and promote dance as a sport and an inclusive leisure activity across the country for those who would otherwise be excluded.
- Website: https://paradance.org.uk/
- Resources: They are a membership organisation that offer membership benefits, training, a directory of dance groups and instructors, competitions leading to national and international championships. They run training courses in Inclusive Dance Training, Debutante Dance Sport and train Instructors.
- Costs: Once you complete your course, your first year of affiliation with Para Dance UK is free. https://paradance.org.uk/training/affiliation/
People Dancing is the UK development organisation and membership body for those involved in creating opportunities for people to experience and participate in dance. Their membership reaches more than 4,500 dance professionals worldwide. They have more than 30 years’ experience of working to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy dance. They are inspired by a firm belief that everyone has a right to experience dance.
- Website: https://www.communitydance.org.uk/
- Resources: Their internationally toured 11 Million Reasons to Dance, a photography exhibition and short film programme featuring 20 commissioned images of iconic dance moments from film, all reimagined by Deaf, sight impaired and disabled dancers, is an excellent resource for teachers challenging notions of who can dance and what kinds of dance. On their web site there are also many resources available for teachers covering a variety of topics to enhance teaching with differently abled people.
- Costs: 11 Million Reasons to Dance (https://www.communitydance.org.uk/creative-programmes/11-million-reasons-to-dance) and the Knowledgebank (https://www.communitydance.org.uk/developing-practice/knowledge-bank) are both free to access online. Membership fees vary.
Royal Academy of Dance
RADiate provides subsidised dance classes to children on the autism spectrum, including children with moderate to severe and complex learning difficulties, behavioural and emotional difficulties, those on the Child Protection register, and those who are non-verbal.
- Website: https://www.royalacademyofdance.org/
- Classes: Classes are delivered by a small team of highly-experienced teachers on a weekly basis at primary schools in London. (https://www.royalacademyofdance.org/support-us/radiate/)
Stopgap Dance Company
Stopgap Dance Company makes contemporary dance work that integrates disabled and non-disabled dancers. Alongside the professional performances and classes, the company runs a youth dance education programme and community dance workshops.
- Website: https://www.stopgapdance.com
- Resources: They also produce resource packs.
- The Inclusive Dance: a guide to Stopgap Dance Company’s responsive teaching practice – Education Pack and CDpack provides dance facilitators with practical guidance for delivering dance workshops that are inclusive for disabled and non-disabled people. This pack will guide you through the company’s responsive approach step-by-step from how to prepare for workshops through to detailed descriptions and explanations of each example task. Further guidance and practical experience can be gained through workshops offered by the company. Inclusive Dance: a guide to Stopgap Dance Company’s responsive teaching practice – Education Pack and CD. Price £21.60 https://www.stopgapdance.com/creative-learning/publications/inclusive-dance-resource-pack
- Syllabus for disabled children and young people: Stopgap has also developed a talent development syllabus for disabled children and young people – IRIS. It is an inclusive dance syllabus that gives teachers a framework to develop the disabled dancers of tomorrow. IRIS is divided into four levels: Include, Respond, Integrate and Specialise, each having its own set exercises, guidelines and assessments. IRIS aims to give disabled children and young people the same level of structure, balance and rigour of dance education as their non-disabled peers and provide the opportunity to accumulate skills and experiences necessary for the professional industry. The company offer teacher training courses in the IRIS syllabus. https://www.stopgapdance.com/train-with-us/teacher-training/inclusive-teacher-and-iris-training
Touchdown Dance is a company that creates performances and workshops for visually impaired and sighted people. They have worked worldwide for over thirty years, bringing together people of all ages and abilities.
- Website: http://touchdowndance.co.uk/
- Resources: Their education pack is a living handbook they use with students and teachers alike. It as a free e-book to help stimulate discussion among practitioners.
- Costs: Free to download from website (https://katy.gitbooks.io/touchdown-dance-education-pack/)
Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences. Unlimited supports ambitious, creative projects by outstanding disabled artists and companies. The projects include theatre, dance, music, literature, performance, painting, sculpture, public artworks, photography, digital artworks, installations, films and more. Unlimited wants to change perceptions of disabled people by commissioning disabled artists in the UK and internationally to make new, ground-breaking and high quality work. They also do this by building a community of Unlimited Allies who help them embed the work of disabled artists in the mainstream cultural sector and improve access for artists and audiences.
- Website: https://weareunlimited.org.uk/
- Resources: Resources on Marketing, Access, Funding, Professional development and Working internationally’ for artists, cultural workers, creatives and producers provided in blog format
- Costs: Free on website (https://weareunlimited.org.uk/unlimited-resources/)
Trinity Laban (Dance Ability)
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the UK’s only conservatoire of music and contemporary dance. Dance Ability are fun, physical sessions where children and their siblings can dance together. In a safe and fully inclusive environment, children are given the freedom to experience, explore and create movement together. Under the guidance of specialist dance artist, and support artists. Dance Ability is open to children with any physical and/or learning disability or sensory impairment. Wheelchair users are welcome.
- Website: https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/
- Resources: journey into the Laban building https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/sites/default/files/journey_into_laban_building.pdf
- Costs: Free to view as PDF on website
- Classes: Weekly movement, play and creative dance sessions for children with disabilities and their siblings. Resource provided on website to prepare for the class
- Costs: Class fee £5 per family. https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/take-part/for-children-young-people/dance-children-and-youth/regular-classes/dance-ability
YDance (Scottish Youth Dance) is the national dance organisation for children and young people in Scotland, based in Glasgow. They offer a range of classes and projects run with different partners across the country.
- Projects: Moving Forward is a new, two-year dance and disability project run by YDance and Indepen-Dance (an inclusive dance organisation also based in Glasgow), which aims to provide free regular activity for disabled young people in North Ayrshire, the Western isles, Falkirk and North Lanarkshire. CPD sessions will be provided for professional dance artists to enable them to integrate youth dance provision in their communities. (https://www.ydance.org/projects/moving-forward/). Horizons is YDance’s integrated youth dance company for dancers aged 12 to 19, with and without disabilities, and runs free weekly classes in Glasgow. (https://www.ydance.org/projects/horizons-2/)
In 2018, the ISTD undertook a research project with the University of Bedfordshire, investigating accessibility to ISTD syllabi for disabled learners. Three disabled dance specialists were paired with an ISTD teacher and their students, and together, they looked at specific syllabus exercises and how these could be adapted for their learners.
Researcher Dr Imogen Aujla visited the groups throughout the process, capturing video footage and interviews with teachers, students and specialists to track and monitor progress. The project culminated in a seminar event, held at University of Bedfordshire in February 2019, where each of the groups shared their experience and presented her findings.
Changing Perceptions by Dance4
Dance 4 commissioned Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with funds from the Department for Education to conduct a research study to investigate the identification and development of talented young dancers with disabilities.
To conclude the findings two detailed publications were created:
- Barriers to dance training for young people with disabilities
- The identification and development of talented young dancers with disabilities.
Developing Potential Amongst Young Disabled Dancers - Exploring dance artists’ qualities as educators in the context of inclusive dance talent development
Commissioned by Stopgap and conducted by Elsa Urmston MSc and Imogen Aujla PhD from the University of Bedfordshire the aim of this research project was to better understand the values, attributes and practices of dance artists who develop the potential of disabled young dancers, and to explore the range of qualities that these highly experienced dance artists demonstrate in their practice, particularly in the context of dance talent development.
In order to meet these aims, observations and interviews were conducted with six established contemporary dance artists who work in inclusive settings. Analysis revealed common characteristics in how and why artists go about their work with disabled people. Findings are categorised under four main themes, which are summarised below: The dance persona | The values of dance artists | The attributes of dance artists | The practices of dance artists
Creative Movement and Dance in Groupwork (Creative Activities in Groupwork)
Helen, Payne. 1997. Routledge. (Available to purchase via on-line suppliers)
A strong link exists between movement and emotions. This book explores that link and provides 180 practical activities with a clear rationale for the use of dance movement to enrich therapy programmes.
Presents an inspiring range of session ideas and insights.
Session plans divided into warm-ups, introductions to themes, development of themes and warm-downs.
Explores many areas including developmental movement processes, non-verbal communication, and expression communication.
Making An Entrance: Theory and Practice for Disabled and Non-Disabled Dancers
Benjamin, Adam. 2002. Routledge. (Available to purchase via on-line suppliers)
A handbook/text book explaining the philosophy of teaching and practical examples of teaching methods and practical tasks.
Dance, Disability and Law: Invisible Difference
Sarah, Whatley. Charlotte, Waelde. Shawn, Harmon. Abbe, Brown. Karen, Wood. Hetty, Blades. 2018. Routledge. (Available to purchase via on-line suppliers)
This collection is the first book to focus on the intersection of dance, disability, and the law. Bringing together a range of writers from different disciplines, it considers the question of how we value, validate, and speak about diversity in performance practice, with a specific focus on the experience of differently-abled dance artists within the changing world of the arts in the United Kingdom.
The Dancing Dialogue: using the communicative power of movement with young children.
Suzy, Tortora. 2006. Maryland: Paul. H. Brookes Publishing Co. (Available to purchase via on-line suppliers)
The leading UK special educational needs magazine. On-line and published every two months. Delivered free to Special Schools. Includes arts articles. Website: https://senmagazine.co.uk
Various online resources
Understanding Autism: Clip 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDGvquzn2k)
- Understanding learning disabilities: Clip 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yvZYyeWE20)
- Understanding Down Syndrome: Clip 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAPmGW-GDHA)