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School Dance Club Supports Active Lives, Confidence and Classroom Learning

Step Change Studios specialises in providing opportunities for Disabled and non-Disabled people to dance. In just one year, the organisation has supported almost 1,000 Disabled people to dance, most for the first time. Recently, they worked with a school in East London to support children with additional needs to participate in a weekly school dance club. Sophie Hughes, a teaching assistant at the school shares the experience of student Ayse, and the impact dance has had on her. Sophie has written this account with Ayse.

Ayse is 11 years old and has a diagnosis of learning difficulties, with Autism Spectrum behavioural traits. She is a caring and helpful individual, who likes to please people and make them laugh. Ayse is always keen to try new experiences, with a curious and enthusiastic nature. Ayse has limited speech but expresses herself through facial expression, body language and movement.

Ayse loves to dance and listen to music; freestyle dancing is her favourite genre. Ayse is very good at listening to instructions and copying movements once she is engaged. Ayse developed a really positive relationship with the dance instructor from Step Change Studios. The organisation understood and took Ayse’s needs and all of our student’s needs into consideration. This enabled Ayse to appreciate the musical theatre dance genre.

Ayse said she enjoyed working with her friends and other pupils in the sessions and liked doing the end of term dance performance to friends, peers and staff. Ayse has gained more confidence and better self-esteem from participating in the dance club. She enjoyed being active and moving at a fast pace. Ayse said she would like to do ‘more sessions of dance’.

According to her class staff: “this dance club increased her learning stamina and focus once she returned to class, Ayse has always been energetic and enthusiastic. Dance has had a real positive contribution into her focus back in class and listening to others around school”.
Overall Ayse had fun whilst learning the dance moves and being creative. Most of all she enjoyed participating in the club with her friends and being given the opportunity to perform.