Let’s Get Disabled People Dancing

Let’s get disabled people dancing – with Para Dance UK
We’ve had one long year of sitting far too still.


Since the first lockdown in March 2020, and the arrival of a deadly virus, remote working, and Zoom-socialising, we’ve had little reason to leave our homes. With our gyms closed, our commutes shrinking to the few short steps from the kitchen to the sofa, and no office full of colleagues to notice that we’ve gained a few pounds, we’ve also felt little reason to exercise.


But now, with restrictions finally eased, many of us are looking forward to getting moving again: stretching out our stiff muscles at the gym and getting our hearts pumping at our much-missed dance classes. But sadly, this freedom is for some — and not for all.


For disabled people, July 19th’s ‘Freedom Day’ did not signify freedom. In fact, it meant anything but: according to disability equality charity Scope, a tiny 2% of disabled people felt safe about restrictions lifting. This means that regardless of official government guidelines, many people who are disabled, have underlying health conditions, or are considered clinically vulnerable, will continue to ‘shield’ or to exercise significant caution in their daily lives. With masks no longer mandatory, gyms and dance studios have essentially become inaccessible overnight: cases are rising, and for many disabled people, exercising indoors has again become a high- risk activity.


This is concerning. Given the many benefits of exercise on our mental and emotional wellbeing, it is worrying that according to Sport England, disabled people have become increasingly sedentary over the pandemic — exercising even less than their non-disabled counterparts.


But according to Para Dance UK, there is a solution: inclusive dance.


Para Dance UK are an inclusive dance charity in the belief that everyone can dance. They have been supporting the disabled community throughout the pandemic by providing pre-recorded inclusive dance videos for people with disabilities, as well as
online inclusive dance training courses for dance teachers.


Pre-recorded inclusive dance videos
These videos have been especially enjoyed by people who have been shielding and who could not otherwise access opportunities to exercise. To receive access to these sessions, simply sign up for the Para Dance UK newsletter.

Online inclusive dance training courses
Para Dance UK provides two different online inclusive dance training courses for dance teachers keen to develop their practise to include disabled people. Both courses are completed remotely through an interactive E-learning platform:


● Remote Inclusive Dance Training (IDT)


The IDT is a beginner course, suitable for anyone involved with dance and disabled people.
There are no entry requirements: all you need is a passion to learn about inclusive dance and a desire to develop a professional practice.
You will learn about basic physiology, different disabilities and impairments, and mobility aids. You will also learn choreography, fundamental instruction techniques, how to adapt dances in a non-genre specific format, and how to set up and run a
group.


The IDT will equip you with the tools you need to start your journey into Inclusive Dance! Bursaries are available.

● Debutante Dance Sport (DDS)


DDS training builds on knowledge provided by the IDT (or equivalent), but focuses on Para Dance Sport. This course will build on your existing knowledge and introduce the rules and regulations surrounding Para Dance Sport.


The DDS is suitable for dance teachers looking to expand their knowledge, those running or looking to run inclusive dance sessions and who would like to include Dance Sport in their programme, and those looking to instruct or choreograph for Para Dance Sport Competitions.


For more information, or to book onto one’s of Para Dance UK’s online inclusive dance training courses, please visit
www.paradance.org.uk/training/courses/.


Article written by Celestine Fraser.

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