Free Workshop for dance professionals – Supporting people with sight loss in group class
Dance professionals in the West Midlands are to be offered free training in supporting people with sight loss. The training will be delivered by award-winning inclusive dance company Step Change Studios.
The training forms part of a wider initiative supported by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust, which aims to improve public awareness of sight loss and will support people with sight loss in the region to take part in a free community dance programme.
This work builds on the success of the ‘Dance Dosti’ initiative created by Step Change Studios in 2021-2 to support people of South Asian heritage with sight loss to be active. The initiative provided a series of online workshops and examined the confidence of dance and fitness professionals to support people with sight loss. That research showed that out of 128 respondents, only 12.5% felt ‘very confident’ supporting someone with sight loss, and 77% said a lack of training was a barrier to being inclusive.
In the UK, there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss and everyday 250 people begin to lose their sight. Sport England found that disabled adults are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to be physically inactive yet Activity Alliance found 77% of disabled adults want to be more active.
Step Change Studios Founder Rashmi Becker, MBE said: “Our insight and experience from Dance Dosti highlighted a gap in confidence and competence among dance and fitness professionals in supporting people with sight loss to participate in their sessions. With the support of Thomas Pocklington Trust, we are able to expand our efforts to the West Midlands and provide face-to-face training. This training is designed and delivered with our blind students who will share their lived experience of taking part in dance. The focus is on providing practical tips and approaches that people can try out in the workshop. I hope dance professionals in the region will take up the development opportunity.”
The free 2-hour workshop will take place on 27 March from 1.30-3.30pm at FABRIC, Birmingham Hippodrome, Thorp Street, B5 4TB. While the workshop will draw on Bollywood dance to illustrate examples, dance professionals from all backgrounds are welcome as the learning will be transferrable and no specialist dance experience is required. Additional virtual workshops will be offered in late Spring.
How to sign up:
To register for the workshop visit: LINK [https://bit.ly/420dX5t] or email: [email protected]
 RNIB Key Statistics About Sight Loss
 Sport England Active Lives Survey 2020-21
 Activity Alliance Annual Disability and Activity Survey 2021-22