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Dancers with additional needs perform special showcase

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Northern Ballet’s Accessible Dance Sharing took place at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds on Wednesday 16 July. The sharing brought together groups of dancers with mobility issues and learning difficulties giving them a chance to perform on a professional stage for their friends, family and carers.

More than 80 adults and 30 young people performed at the sharing organised by Northern Ballet to allow people who take part in accessible dance activities from all over the North of England to perform together on a professional stage. As well as participants from Northern Ballet’s programmes, representatives from TIN Arts, based in Durham, Yorkshire Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Me2 from Leeds, and Southfield School from Bradford. Five of the performers are participants of Northern Ballet’s Ability dance course, a programme specifically designed for adults with mild to moderate learning difficulties. Northern Ballet also offers an in motion programme, designed for 8 – 19 year old self-propelling wheelchair users, of which one of the participants performed in the sharing.

Northern Ballet’s Director of Learning, Selina McGonagle said: “The Accessible Dance Sharing was a wonderful opportunity for this group of people to come together and showcase what they have learnt from working with Northern Ballet and the other organisations involved.

As well as giving people with additional needs the opportunity to access dance in a way they may not otherwise be able to, these programmes help the participants build their confidence and provide opportunities for them to enjoy dance activities with other like-minded people. The passion that the dancers’ have was evident in their performances and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved for a terrific day.”

Two groups, Mind the Steps and Leaps & Bounds, were brought from Yorkshire Dance by dance artist Zoe Parker who said: “It was an amazing day at Northern Ballet for so many reasons. Being around people who are totally comfortable with themselves, open, kind and spontaneous is inspiring and we all had a beautiful time on stage.

This was an amazing opportunity to perform in such a great space and the standard of the performance just keeps getting higher. The dancers from Mind the Steps and Leaps & Bounds had a fantastic time, enjoying themselves immensely and I have to say a big thank you to the whole Northern Ballet team for putting together such a wonderful event.”

Providing accessible dance opportunities is one of Northern Ballet’s major objectives. The Company’s Learning team work regularly with theatres, children’s centres, schools and colleges providing workshops for families, touch tours and audio-described performances for the visually impaired and open classes for children and adults provided by the Academy of Northern Ballet.  

For more information on Northern Ballet’s accessible dance programmes, please visit northernballet.com/joinin or call 0113 220 8000.

Press release date: 
Thu 17 Jul 2014
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