Leonard Cheshire Disability is inviting disabled dancers to take part in dance competition ‘Strictly Cymru’. This innovative project will provide a unique opportunity for disabled people to dance, perform and compete in the first ever national inclusive dance project of its kind.
‘Strictly Cymru’ is open to keen disabled dancers, between 16 and 65 years old. The competition started in the first of five regional heats this weekend, with the grand final taking place in Cardiff on 7 April 2018.
The first regional heat was held in Barry where competitors battled it out for a place in the grand final. In attendance was Vale MP and Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, who met the participants and learned more about the project.
Mr Cairns commented: “I was hugely impressed by the skills being learnt and demonstrated here in the regional heat stages. Strictly Cymru taught the dancers confidence, fitness and motivation, all of which are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle and are vital to an individual's well being.
"It was a pleasure to witness how much the dancers were enjoying the competition on Saturday and I wish the best of luck to all who are going forward to the final."
Many participants will come from Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Welsh care homes or inclusive volunteering programme Can Do, as well as participants from local dance groups. The regional heat winners were Rob Pugh, 48, from Danybryn Cheshire Home and Chloe and Reece, students from Motion Control Dance Barry.
Rob commented that he “had a great time, meeting new people and learning new things- it was the first time I had danced for many years, and I’m really looking forward to the final.” Chloe said that she was “thrilled to be part of the Strictly Cymru event, it’s really good exercise,” while Reece said that “the dance was really fun to do.”
Leonard Cheshire Disability are working in partnership with inclusive dance company Stepchange Studios to deliver Strictly Cymru. Stepchange Studios will provide dance instructors and a professional dance performance at each of the regional heats.
Rashmi Becker, founder and director of Stepchange Studios said: “One in five people in Wales has a disability. I set up Step Change Studios as a response to the lack of opportunities for disabled people to participate in dance. A key barrier to participation is the lack of engagement from organisations that can enable more and better access and inclusion. So I am thrilled to be supporting Leonard Cheshire to present 'Strictly Cymru'”
Emma Mallam, director of Motion Control Dance said: “we were delighted to be involved in this event- the motto of Motion Control Dance is to give everyone the chance to dance, to enable to people to lead better, healthy, happier lives through the joy of motion. We look forward to working with Leonard Cheshire Disability at the grand final in April 2018.”
Leonard Cheshire research shows as much appetite for sport and exercise among disabled people as there is in the wider population, but there are barriers to participation. ‘Strictly Cymru’ is one of many projects Leonard Cheshire is running to get more disabled people into sport.
For more information, visit https://www.leonardcheshire.org/