On Thursday 16th May ten disabled people will compete in a very special initiative that challenges preconceptions and celebrates the joy that dancing brings – whatever your ability.

Over 100 disabled people ranging in age from 11 to 101 have been taking part in free workshops and auditions as part of Dance Barnet, a pan-disability initiative created by inclusive dance company Step Change Studios in partnership with London Borough of Barnet. Ten finalists have been chosen to train with professional dance partners and will perform in a special grand finals event in London.

Finalists represent a broad range of disabilities and include people who have Autism, physical disabilities, and Dementia. Most will be dancing to a live audience for the first time and have chosen a diverse range of music covering Bollywood, Hip Hop, Ballroom and K-Pop.

The finalists will also perform for a prominent panel of judges including Roxy Milliner aka GB Breaker B-Girl Roxy, Wheelchair Athlete and Advocate Justine Levene, Broadcast Journalist Krupa Padhy, and Amanda Skoog Chair of One Dance UK.

Finalist Nur (22), who is a wheelchair user and has Global Developmental Delay will be dancing a beautiful duet to Oscar-winning song ‘What Was I Made For’ by Billie Eilish. Nur’s mother, who is very proud of her daughter said: “We know how amazing and special Nur is but the doctors have confirmed how unique she is by diagnosing her with ultra-rare genetic condition called Fucosidosis. Nur does not care about her diagnosis because there is music in the world, and dancing is to be done!”

Tino (17) who is of West Indian and Indian heritage and has Down’s Syndrome is dancing to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles. Tino has an ability to memorise dance moves from watching online videos and he also loves singing, which has helped with his speech.

Other finalists include Myrtle who is the oldest participant at 96 and was a professional dancer, will be dancing a seated Charleston; Mylan (20) who has Autism is dancing a Bollywood number. The youngest participant Alexi (12) who also has Autism and will be dancing a disco.

Rashmi Becker MBE, Founder of Step Change Studios said: “Over 16 million people in the country have a disability – that is 1 in 4 people and yet we continue to see too few opportunities for disabled people to be active. Dance is a fantastic way to support mental and physical wellbeing, to connect people who may struggle with social interaction or feel isolated, and to build confidence. We see the impact dance has on the disabled people we work with and hope Dance Barnet will encourage more individuals and organisations involved in the arts and sport to provide opportunities that welcome and support disabled people.

Tickets are free and can be booked through:

Share this: