Sunday, November 29, 2009

British program encourages wheelchair users to dance

From The Press and Journal in the UK. You can watch an interview with Caroline Bowditch here.

Perth College UHI hosted an inclusive dance event in Goodlyburn Theatre Nov. 25.

The Let’s Dance project, which is led by the Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT) in collaboration with the college, Perth and Kinross Council and Horsecross, aims to challenge traditional assumptions about who can dance and what dance is.

The project includes a series of dance performances, discussions and workshops in wheelchair-accessible spaces.

SDT dance agent for change Caroline Bowditch said: “The piece I do involves me using my wheelchair in a duet with another dancer.

“Being a disabled dancer in a mainstream dance company challenges people’s perceptions and opens up the possibility of dance to a lot of people – in the last year alone more than 4,500 people have come to see the SDT and seen me perform.

“A lot of disabled people want to dance but they can’t imagine doing it, and we hope to change that.”

The next event is scheduled for 6.30pm in Upper Springlands on Nov. 30, followed by two back-to-back events at Perth Concert Hall the next day.

Social and vocational studies curriculum manager Jo West said: “The performance gave an insight into the creative processes of dance and highlighted that dance can be enjoyed by everybody.

“SDT’s visit has given our students and tutors the enthusiasm to encourage and enable everyone to participate in the workshops that are being organised by Perth and Kinross Council.

“We want our students to feel confident, and offer them the chance to learn more about dance, movement and the way the body moves.”