Inclusive Dance. A blog by Rashmi Becker
I have always had a passion for dance. I trained in different styles of dance as a child and have enjoyed it socially as an adult. As guardian to my older brother who has Autism, dance and music was a wonderful way for us to connect as children. I saw the benefits dance had on managing his anxiety, supporting his coordination, non-verbal communication and just bringing him joy. As an adult, alongside working in social care I continued to dance and regularly volunteered and performed in different social care and healthcare settings. I also found dancing with people with disabilities improved my own dance skills and enjoyment of dance as it developed my creative skills and ability to adapt and transpose dance for different bodies.
The interest in inclusive dance among the dance and disability sector has been encouragingly positive and this has also generated media interest. Just recently I gave an interview with Radio 4 talking about my brother and inclusive dance. Prior to starting my PhD I was a Board member of the English Federation of Disability Sport (now Activity Alliance) and their figures concerning disabled people and physical activity were stark: Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people yet 7 out of 10 disabled people want to be more active. Dance is increasingly being recognised for its benefits to health and wellbeing. I hope to see and support more diversity in dance, and greater opportunities for disabled and non disabled dancers to share the same platform.
Rashmi Becker is undertaking a 3-year PhD studentship, funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East of England