DanceAbility International is an NGO based in Oregon, USA, with affiliate organizations around the world. DanceAbility offers classes, workshops and performances providing integrated experiences of dance and artistic expression for people with and without disabilities. DanceAbility International runs two to three training courses a year for dance teachers, choreographers, therapists, and others who want to incorporate inclusive dance and movement into their work. As of October 2018, over 500 people with and without disabilities have been certified in the DanceAbility method in 35 countries, and a train-the-trainer curriculum has been developed to support further replication.
People with and without disabilities are often separated from each other and there is limited access to activities that support artistic expression and physical activity in integrated settings.
The DanceAbility method uses improvisational dance to promote artistic expression in mixed ability settings. Since 1996, the organization has run a four-week teacher certification course once or twice a year, covering choreography for mixed ability groups, physicality, and the core DanceAbility exercises. Five-day intensive workshops are also available to provide a grounding in the methodology.
DanceAbility International has developed a Masters-level certification, first offered in 2015 and again in 2017, to scale-up the method further. This training was open to certified DanceAbility teachers so they could run the five-day intensive workshops. There are now 21 teachers from 12 countries who are Certified Master Teachers of the DanceAbility method. In 2017, 23,000 people with and without disabilites had access to the methodology, either as a participant or audience member, compared to 14,000 in 2014.
Through the training, dance practitioners’ self-esteem and their exposure to people with different abilities increases. The curriculum supports mutual learning regardless of ability or disability and aims to cultivate cultural and artistic diversity through performance, collaboration and education. Trained teachers and choreographers bring more mixed-abilities dance to communities around the world.
• In 2017, some 23,000 people participated in or watched mixed abilities dance, up from 14,000 in 2014.
• As of 2018, there are 21 teachers from 12 countries who are Certified Master Teachers of the DanceAbility method
The next development is a third level of certification so that Master Teachers can teach the four-week certification course and support further replication. There are detailed manuals of the three training programmes (intensive, teacher certification, and Masters level), including exercises and teaching techniques, designed to support wider distribution and replication.