Dance Blast who run the dance programme DiverseAbility have been awarded insport Club of the Month for their continued work towards inclusion and for achieving insport Ribbon standard.
Dance blast provide disabled members of the community with the opportunity to participate in dance activities in a safe and creative environment. The club provide opportunities for those who would like to develop their dance skills and perform. Dance Blast has four DiverseAbility groups, one of which is Monmouthshire Connected Dance Company (MCDC); an inclusive Dance Company formed in 2016. This autumn, MCDC selected a professional choreographer to help create a dance piece as part of their Arts Council Funded 'Ignite' project 2018.
We spoke to Kathy young a dance leader at Dance Blast about their involvement with the insport process, she said: “First and foremost, we are involved because of the advice and support we receive from the supportive and enthusiastic Mark Foster, the Disability Sport Wales Development officer for Monmouthshire. insport has supported Dance Blast to set up and develop our DiverseAbility dance groups. We have been provided advice, support and training as well as assistance to source sports wheelchairs for those dancers who need them. Being part of insport has helped to ensure our participants can dance in a safe and fun environment.”
Mark Foster, Disability Sport Wales Development Officer for Monmouthshire said “Over the last 3 years the club has gone from strength to strength originally starting a Disability Dance class in Abergavenny for Adults with a Physical Disability. Following the success of this session, the coaches and volunteers completed their UK-DIT and have since started classes in Monmouth, Chepstow and a further 2 classes in Abergavenny. They have held 2 annual disability performances, as well as integrating their final year performances with dancers with disabilities. Dance Blast have truly embraced inclusion and are great ambassadors for the insport programme and being innovative. They have built a fantastic programme of inclusive, disability specific, fitness and performance based dance classes and they are a pleasure to work with.”
Kathy explains that training for club leaders in inclusive practice is essential: “Our dance leaders are trained to lead a dance class that can be accessed and enjoyed by all bodies. It gives group members the opportunity to participate in their own way whatever their abilities. It also allows group members to have a say in what the club stands for and how you want to develop. We have dancers with diverse abilities some who want to perform and those who don't. We manage our classes in a way to cater for these differences providing extra support when needed but ensuring those providing the support are assisting the club member to access the club as much as he/she can. In our Danceability classes we choreograph dances so that dancers can enjoy participating in the class but opt out of performance. Our Dance Company, however, involves a commitment to perform and the classes are led in a way that reflects that commitment while providing dancers with the support they need. The same commitment we expect from our flagship youth dance company MYDC.”
In the future Dance Blast want to extend their provision to younger age groups and a wider regional area, “it is our hope that with the support of insport we can provide opportunities for disabled people who live across Monmouthshire to participate in dance; whether that be for the pure enjoyment of dance, to improve their dance skills or because they have ambitions to perform. The skills of our MCDC company dancers have improved markedly since their first performance in 2016. We hope to work closely with insport to further improve their dance abilities, provide them with more opportunities to perform and raise their profile as a performing dance company.”
Michelle Daltry, Partnership Manager at Disability Sport Wales said “Innovative and proactive clubs like Dance Blast are a real positive showcase of how inclusive activities can be delivered. This club provides disabled people with the opportunity to develop their dance skills but perhaps more
importantly also develop confidence, social skills, and improve their health and wellbeing. Congratulations to all involved in the club on winning this month’s insport Club of the Month award.”
If you are interested in getting involved with Dance blast please visit their website www.dance-blast.org/ or contact Kathy Young on or 07443 530127 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monmouthshire Connected Dance Company (MCDC)
Mondays 7.30 to 9pm The Dance Centre, Abergavenny (A performance company)
Tuesdays 6.30pm to 7.30pm, The Dance Centre, Abergavenny
Thursdays 11.30am to 12.30, The Dance Centre, Abergavenny
Thursdays 7pm to 8pm, Bulwark Community Centre