Community dance tutor Victoria Jacobs is working with a group of young people from Easton & Otley College, delivering a weekly dance session.

The seven students are from the college’s Future Choices programme which is designed for students who require a small, quieter learning environment with enhanced support. The students have a variety of complex needs including learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

As well as boosting confidence and improving team work and communication skills, the dance sessions are an opportunity to get some exercise. College staff join in and everyone has lots of fun keeping fit while having a go at freeform dance to music.

Victoria starts each session with warm up exercises to mobilise joints and stretch muscles. Each half term they explore a new theme. Last half term was water, so they created a dance using rivers, waterfalls and raindrops as inspiration.

This half term the theme is birds. Victoria brings in photos of different birds and everyone talks about the physical qualities of the various birds and how they move. There is lots of laughter over chicken impressions before they try more graceful swan-like movements. They use these movements as a starting point to create their own new dance piece which they’ll work on in the coming weeks.

Each session ends with a cool down and time to allow students to relax and prepare for the next activity on their timetable.

Becki Jordison, Future Choices Lecturer at Easton & Otley, says: “Victoria is super, she really knows her stuff and we’re all having so much fun. The students gain a sense of belonging, but also develop their fine motor skills, listening and responding.”

This session is just for Future Choices students at Easton & Otley, but The Garage also runs a weekly inclusive dance session open to people aged 12yrs+ who have learning disabilities. Contemporary SEND takes place on Thursdays 5.30-6.30pm at The Garage, costing £66 for a 12 week term. Please call 01603 283382 for more information or to book your place.

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