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Finding The Balance

A collection of images from the 'Finding The Balance' a project with Dance for All in Cape Town. This project worked with people from Khayelitsha, Nyanga & Gugulethu Townships and had a focus of using the body as a creative starting point in making performance work.

Returning to the Body Conference

Return To The Body, 2nd November 2019, Our Dance Democracy Conference, Liverpool Hope University in partnership with Merseyside Dance Initiative.


A presentation that articulated Lucy’s approach to working with those in disconnect.  Lucy spanned her experience of working with young people and adults involved in the criminal justice system and in recovery from addiction to discuss the key aspects of her practice methodology underpinned by an attachment to Laban / Bartenieff Movement Systems (LBMS).

Blue Surface

Dancing at Home

A consultation project by Cheshire Dance, Vivo Care Choices and UCLanDance - supporting adults with profound and multiple learning diffciulties to dance at home. 

Cheshire Dance is a registered charity that exists to ensure everyone has access to dance and can benefit from its transformative power.  They are an award-winning national leader in dance, health and well-being, (One Dance UK ‘Best Dance in Healthcare Practitioner 2019’).   In normal circumstances Cheshire Dance, in partnership with Vivo Care Choices, deliver weekly dance sessions for people with learning disabilities (LD) and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) in Cheshire West.


The recent and ongoing global Covid 19 pandemic has meant that these weekly classes have had to stop.  Social distancing measures are having a huge impact on both the physical and mental health of our nation – and disproportionately on those from vulnerable groups who must self-isolate for longer, with limited access to support, contact and well-being led activities, particularly as carers focus on other basic needs. 


Feedback from service users has suggested they would like to dance at home. Much of Cheshire Dance’s wider community dance provision has shifted online however they recognise that people with LD and PMLD are less likely to be able to access online provision and may not have necessary support to do so.


Cheshire Dance, working in partnership with Ruth Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Dance from the University of Central Lancashire and Vivo Care Choices want to involve and consult with dance group participants to create the best possible Dancing at Home resource/experience for people with PMLD in Cheshire West. They want to ensure that any activities or resources developed meet the individual needs, expectations and preferences of dance group members.

‘People with PMLD are some of the most excluded in society. Most don’t use formal communication such as words and symbols so people often assume they have nothing to say’ (Involve Me, 2011).  At the heart of this project is the ‘nothing about us, without us’ movement and a commitment to involve group members in decisions about their continuing engagement with dance, providing opportunities for their likes, dislikes and preferences to be heard and impact on practice.  

In meeting these needs this project plans to design and employ consultation methods which are inclusive, creative and individualised. The Department of Health and Mencap Guide Communication and people with the most complex needs: What works and why this is essential-Executive Summary states that ‘communication with people with the most complex needs is most successful with familiar, responsive partners who care about the person they communicate with’ (Mencap, 2010, p.1) and as such this project aims to work closely with family, friends and carers to identify appropriate and individualised consultation methods. Methods designed should be multi-sensory, fun, interesting and engaging, involve support staff for consistency and build on a person’s existing communication, consider ethical and cultural implications, offer choice (directly or indirectly) and champion ownership (Mencap, 2011, pp.26-27). 


Mindful of Kate Burns, Creative Communication Practitioner’s observation that a viewpoint or opinion ‘doesn’t become communication until you share it’ (Mencap, 2010) consultation findings will be widely shared and disseminated. 


This consultation process is the beginning stage of the ‘Dancing at Home’ project that aims to develop resources and experiences to enable dance class participants to continue dancing. Outcomes of the consultation will inform the ongoing development of the project including dancing at home activities, project evaluation and a sharing of learning. 


This project has the potential to impact on dance practice not just during a period of lockdown but beyond in:

  • Making visible, and actively involving, people with PMLD in the development and shaping of their own dance experiences.

  • The design and dissemination of training opportunities and guidelines sharing best practice for dance artists who work with, or would like to work with, people with PMLD.

  • Contributing to the wider debate and development of practice in relation to dance and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities.      

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