I was not at the workshop held by Indepen-dance today….However, I have worked with them in the past and a member of my XL class continues to attend on a regular basis.

The history

I met William (Willis) through Dance House. I attended some of his classes and got talking about the ADHD kids I teach. I was invited to cover a class for Willis.

I was encouraged by the ethos of Indepen-dance who provide weekly social and therapeutic creative movement and dance classes throughout the year, as well as a career in dance and employment opportunities. Participants become lifelong members and join a thriving social network. Indepen-dance nurtures people to experience improved health, wellbeing, confidence and communication skills.

At the time I felt my class went ok. I realise now I was underprepared for teaching the class and have a multitude of activities that I could now draw on to inspire their imagination, develop their listening and verbal skills and to interact kinaesthetically through dance.

I have since had training from Trinity Laban which prepared for inclusion of a spectrum of needs and engaging young people through dance. More importantly, I have more experience in meeting learners needs through dance.

I met Dillon in my XL class: A dance/movement class for young people who are not thriving in mainstream classes due to behaviour, physical ability or understanding.  I hold this class as part of the curriculum and enjoy differentiating dance, and fitness through a theme. Dances are either accompanied by pupil support or attend on their own.  We select a theme from an issue or problem that is bothering someone in the class and then create movement and a routine to match it. Examples are: Feeling of ‘stiff movement’ (solved with floaty movement under a net), ‘anger at ..well everything’ (not so readily solved but we had fun with stamps, running screams and punch comic strip stills) etc. The class has been well accepted and one girl has been accepted into NC Dance an Dillon wants to be a choreographer.

Dillon now also dances with Indepen-dance. He was issued a choreography brief through Indepen-dance. We aim to work within the school XL classes to create choreography for first year dancers. We are hoping to experiment with movement that Dillon can practice on the floor or pathways with his super new wheelchair. We will collaborate to transfer the best movements into a floor based sequence for first year students who do not have Muscular Dystrophy. Dillon has selected the music and we are ready to go.

I have saw Indepen-dance at Go Dance for the last 4 years and have my ticket for Go Dance this year.

I appreciate the challenge Independence et on a daily basis. Though I enjoy their work and have learnt loads from working with them. I am not convinced this is my preferred dance route. I  fully support their artistic approach is to ensure the arts and dance in particular, is inclusive, that children, young people and adults who have physical and/or learning disabilities are fully included in the creative process of making, performing and being an audience for dance.

I feel it is important that it is noticed that all our activities are offered to people with and without disabilities. This in itself is inclusion as it provides everyone with the opportunity to learn from each other and share a creative experience.

I try to adopt a similar inclusive practice in my dance teaching context. I taught blind girls to dance: This required planning for toilet trips, how to let them know what to do and to ensure they could move freely. We learnt together that music, imagery and explicit instructions worked best. I had dancers working freely in a circle of chairs so that they could sense or feel where they were in space.

I very much enjoyed teaching the young girls from Beroluce. They speak no English but on their summer visit we enjoyed finding novel ways to let them experience dance. They bring dedicated ballet technique and we introduce Jazz, contemporary and hip hop through movement and expression. We get loads of giggles!!! …and experiment with sounds, costumes and Scottish themes.

I have also worked with a girl with severe muscular dystrophy. Her parents accompanied her to dance class but although the girls were very accepting her needs were better supported in a class with individual teaching support and peers of similar dance level. Perhaps even at depen-dance.

I believe all individuals should have opportunity to enjoy, express, and fulfil their potential through dance.

I aim like Independence to work in community dance to enable participation in high quality arts provision and improve the health, quality of life and opportunities for all.


Indepen-dance are funded by Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland, The W A Cargill Charitable Trust, Lloyds TSB Foundation and The Commonweal Fund.

Creative Scotland Glasgow Life The National Lottery
The Robertson Trust Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
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