Menu

DanceSyndrome

DanceSyndrome is an inclusive dance charity, founded by Jen Blackwell, now aged 34 from Chorley Lancashire. Jen, who has Down Syndrome, founded DanceSyndrome in 2009 because there were no alternatives available that met her needs, despite a 10 year search. 

In 2013 DanceSyndrome gained charitable status and in 2016 are delivering regular inclusive dance workshops each week to 100 participants, dance leadership training (in Preston) to 10 to 15 trainees annually, dance performance in venues across the UK and outreach dance activity, inspiring over 2000 people each year. 

In summary DanceSyndrome provides:

  • 6 weekly inclusive dance workshops, co-led by dance leaders with learning disabilities, in community centre hubs in Accrington, Chorley, Preston, Clitheroe, Haigh and Hindley
  • Dance By Example - an annual dance leadership training qualification accredited at Level 1 by Sports Leaders UK
  • Dance performance in venues across the UK
  • 30 outreach mass-participation dance workshops at events throughout the year

In 2015, Jen Blackwell won Inspirational Woman of the Year in the Enterprise Vision Awards, beating hundreds of business women across the North West.In 2016, the Dance Leader Team won The Sporting Chance Award in the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards.

We aim to continue our work through grant funding and fundraising activity, giving the charity stability over the next 3 years to test other streams of income generation in order to meet rising demand for more regular inclusive dance workshops and dance leader training in other venues across the North West.

Watch this film to see DanceSyndrome in action:

More About DanceSyndrome

In addition to performing on stage at events and conferences across the UK, DanceSyndrome provides community workshops that are all fully inclusive, suitable for anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or disability, to come along and join in at a pace that suits them in a supportive environment. 

The workshops are designed and co-led by a learning-disabled Dance Leader and a supporting Dance Artist and many participants have described it as inspirational to see a dance activity that is led by a person with a disability. 

Feedback from participants and partners tell us that dancing each week improves health and well-being, improves coordination, reduces social isolation, improves communication, creates opportunities to gain skills for independent living and creates an environment for an enormous amount of fun and laughter.

DanceSyndrome workshops are all truly unique. Each workshop is different and designed specifically by the individual Dance Leader to share their own passions with their participants. From stimulating dance routines, to creative explorations our Dance Leaders share their own unique journey through dance and take participants on a unique journey of skill development, confidence boosting, relationship building, social interaction, wellbeing and fun!

Their passion and determination is un-rivalled but over the last two years we have also witnessed each Dance Leader blossom in terms of their understanding and execution of professionalism and leadership. They have worked so hard to develop their skills absorbing and embedding the training that they have undertaken and exercising a level of professionalism in their delivery that has surpassed all our expectations. With each workshop they deliver, they grow, and become more confident as individuals, they support and encourage other participants and are true role models for the participants to aspire to and proof that people with Learning Disabilities can achieve their true potential.

DanceSyndrome believe everyone has a right to a life of their own choosing, to be respected, valued and have their voice heard. The social model of disability states that society creates disability and with the right support and barrier removal everyone can make a contribution, no matter what their ability. DanceSyndrome demonstrates this contribution using the vehicle of dance.

Get in touch with DanceSyndrome: 

Email: info@dancesyndrome.co.uk

Visit the website: http://dancesyndrome.co.uk

Find them on facebook

Follow them on twitter


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

DanceSyndrome © Dawn Vickers 2016.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.