- Around 10.7 million people watch the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing
- There are 11.2 million disabled people in the UK (that’s 1 in 5 of us)
- Wheelchair Latin and Ballroom dance is recognised by the International Paralympic Committee and disabled and non-disabled couples compete together around the world.
Why in a city of 8.7 million people, isn’t there a single place in London to regularly participate in inclusive ballroom?
This is about to change with the establishment of the pioneering Step Change Studios – London’s first ever dedicated inclusive Latin and Ballroom dance company, which has just received backing through the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund.
Established by Rashmi Becker, who has a background in disability advocacy and is guardian to her older disabled brother, and Nuno Sabroso, a respected and seasoned dance professional who was top two in the world wheelchair dance rankings, Step Change Studios will provide opportunities for everyone, from beginners wanting to dance for fun and wellbeing, to more advanced dancers wanting to compete at the highest levels or to perform.
Rashmi Becker said: “What started as a wishful conversation with Nuno about creating opportunities for inclusive Latin and Ballroom has become a reality. Step Change Studios is a response to the ongoing calls for dedicated, regular opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to dance together. Our personal experience of dance and disability made us determined that Latin and Ballroom dance must be inclusive not exclusive. I am heartened by the engagement from the dance, sport and disability sectors and the wider public for Step Change Studios and its vision.
“In backing Step Change Studios, the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund demonstrates a positive commitment to inclusive dance. We want Step Change Studios to be transformative, challenging perceptions of what’s possible as we create more opportunities for people to participate and achieve their potential. I am certain this early, start-up support will be a catalyst for change and enable Step Change Studios to make a positive impact.”
Polly Risbridger, Director of East London Dance and Chair of the Dance Enterprise Ideas Summit said: “The Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund panel are delighted to have awarded Rashmi and Step Change Studios funding to help launch London’s first dance company dedicated to inclusive Latin and ballroom dance. Along with the other award recipients this project is testament to the creativity, entrepreneurialism, and generosity of the UK independent dance sector and we were impressed by Rashmi’s passion about the impact she wants to make.”
Step Change Studios will deliver: regular dance classes and lessons for all levels; bespoke programmes and projects in healthcare, social care education and community settings; and professional performance works that showcase inclusive Latin and Ballroom. Established in London, Step Change Studios will also deliver tailored opportunities nationally.
Step Change Studios is supported by the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund – an East London Dance initiative funded by Foundation for FutureLondon, English National Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, Dancers’ Career Development, Discover Young Hackney & Hackney Council, Redbridge Drama Centre and Theatre Royal Stratford East and supported by One Dance UK.
Rashmi would like to hear from experienced disabled dancers interested in taking part in the showcase, and from disabled and non-disabled people, and organisations working with disabled people of all abilities and levels interested in dancing.
For more information, visit www.stepchangestudios.com.