Club of the Month
We could all learn a thing or two from DanceSyndrome.
The Lancashire-based group, founded by Jen Blackwell, is not just a dance school but a social hub which focuses on inclusion, regardless of ability.
The weekly dance workshops bring together people from all walks of life who share the same passion and want the chance to express themselves.
These are just a few of the reasons why DanceSyndrome was named Parasport’s inaugural Club of the Month for January, with Jen accepting the award.
“It means the world to me, DanceSyndrome is my whole world and my other family,” the inspirational Jen said.
“The people whose lives that I have touched, they have given me my life in dance, and I am giving them their lives in dance too.
“I give my everything to DanceSyndrome, and to the family I have been working with for a long time.
“We are brave, we are resilient, we are powerful, we are everything! We break down barriers.”
Since its formation in 2009, DanceSyndrome has gone from strength to strength, with participation numbers rising all the time.
2018 even saw them perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their performance Lit aDrift.
The show, which explores one man’s path as he uses light to guide himself to destinations of reflection and connection, was described as ‘inspiring’ and ‘beautiful’ in reviews.
Although moments like that are special, just as important is the impact DanceSyndrome has on those who attend in facilitating friendship, community, and the confidence to grow as a person.
Jen and everyone involved strive to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to not only be included, but to become more visible citizens.
Their work inspires and empowers both dancers and audiences to believe that opportunities are endless for people who refuse to be defined by disability.
“DanceSyndrome is so important because I believe anyone and everyone can dance, and we believe there’s no right or wrong way to move,” said lead dance instructor, Sophie Tickle.
“Everyone can move in their own way and tell stories and express emotion through dance.
“I joined in 2012 as a volunteer in its early stages, and since then it’s grown and strengthened and flourished.
“The confidence of the dancers that have been with us since the beginning is amazing, and how they’ve blossomed and changed in front of our eyes into these confident individuals.
“Small organisations like DanceSyndrome exist and do excellent work but to get the recognition from Parasport is brilliant because it highlights the work the guys do on a regular basis.”
As the dancers continue to perform and put on more and more workshops, word is spreading about DanceSyndrome.
“I think our dance leaders are inspirational and every time we go and speak and perform, we have such a brilliant reaction because it makes people believe that they can do it too,” Sophie said.
“No matter where they come from or their background they think ‘I can do that and stand up and be counted.’”
If you’re interested in getting involved with DanceSyndrome, take a look at the following opportunities:
- DanceSyndrome - Everbody Dance Workshop - Accrington
- DanceSyndrome - Everbody Dance Workshop - Clitheroe
- DanceSyndrome - Everbody Dance Workshop - Chorley
- DanceSyndrome - Everbody Dance Workshop - Hindley
- DanceSyndrome - Everbody Dance Workshop - Preston
- EXTEND: Inclusive Ballet
- EXTEND: Street Dance
- EXTEND: Jazz Dance
- EXTEND: Contemporary Dance
- EXPLORE: Create and Connect (creative dance)