Review of Inclusive Practice is Good Practice

1 Jun 2021

Image: Parable Dance ‘Inclusive Practice is Good Practice’

Do you want to find out more about how to make dance more accessible for participants? Do you want to know how leading dance organisations approach inclusivity?

Parable Dance have released an intriguing film titled, ‘Inclusive Practice is Good Practice,’ that was released on March 10th, 2021. With the aim of starting conversations and igniting new interests in accessible dance practice, Inclusive Practice is Good Practice features 42 experienced dance practitioners and organisations that provide advice and guidance to students, new graduates, and early career dance artists. It is a guide to help make dance accessible to a wider audience of dancers with and without disabilities, voiced by some of the following professional organisations: Adhoc Dance, NYDC, Corali Dance Company, Stop Dance Company, Suzie Birchwood Dance.

Four major questions were asked to the senior dance experts who gave their advice and approaches to inclusive dance.

What advice would they give to someone starting out in inclusive dance? Advice was to take sufficient time to better get to know the needs of those in front of you. It is vital to set goals in order to be creative and keep the dancers in the centre of practice. The idea of letting people participate in dance sessions with their own creativity and not their disability has to be the most genuine advice one could seek from the leading professionals.

What approaches are commonly used by dance inclusive artists? The power of belief that anybody and everyone can dance goes a long way in todays’ society where we as dance artists respond to dancers’ needs, wants and ideas in a way that reflects inclusion and valuing them.

What can we be doing to make sure we are not excluding people? We are advised to consider altering our usual approaches to marketing to make promotional materials about our dance opportunities more accessible and accommodating for a range of needs. For example, using formats such as large prints, audio, video, and other formats that we would not usually gravitate towards. We may find some dance contexts to present language barriers, in which case a good approach would be to incorporate visual resources and props in dance sessions, and explore non-verbal modes of expression, such as improvisation.

The last section of the film consists of tips for teaching inclusive dance. Responses included strategic planning in which we are taught to build friendly and healthy relationships with the dancer by learning more about them and creating an atmosphere that everyone is comfortable with. To allow consistent engagement of the class, we can use smooth transitions that interlink each movement and therefore having no stops.

Inclusive Practice is Good Practice is a highly valuable and recommended resource . The advice given may inform each one of us to integrate such respectable and successful guidance into our dance practice. As we aim to embody values of equality and diversity in our own dance environments, we should keep one thing at the back of our minds – that at any point of needing redirection to our objective, we have Parable Dance that will guide us to ignite the spark for inclusive dance again.

Written by Dipika Chitroda