Step Change Studios and Metro Blind Sport launches Dance Dosti, a free digital platform of multi-lingual dance sessions for blind and partially sighted people.
Funded by the Vision Foundation, Dance Dosti is supporting people from a South Asian background with sight loss to be active through dance. The first phase of the project is Dance Dosti digital – a website containing over 100 dance sessions in English, Bengali, Gujarati and Hindi. All sessions are delivered by South Asian dancers, with a choice of seated and standing dance, and video and audio formats for different abilities.
Step Change Studios Founder Rashmi Becker said: “The idea for Dance Dosti came from seeing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people from certain demographics. People from a South Asian background and disabled people have reported greater isolation and inactivity. As an inclusive dance provider, we know the positive difference dance makes to our quality of life, irrespective of age or ability. It benefits both body and mind.
“Our free digital programme is designed as short sessions that can be fitted in to daily life. We want to support people to enjoy learning to dance, to be active at home, and to transition to creative and physical activity outside the home.”
The Dance Dosti project will promote physical activity and use the benefits of dance to bring people together and improve health and wellbeing. The project combines different elements including home and community-based dance, engaging local partners and volunteers to support participation, and providing advice for dance and fitness providers on inclusive practice.
Martin Symcox, CEO of Metro Blind Sport said: “Blind and partially sighted people face barriers in taking part in physical activity and engaging in social activities. I am pleased that this exciting project with Rashmi and her team at Step Change Studios is designed to overcome these barriers and open opportunities up to dance. Within the visually impaired community there are certain groups who can face a “double disadvantage”. This programme aims to empower and target at risk communities through a tailored approach, that will enable people to be active by engaging them in spaces and ways they prefer”.
Olivia Curno, Chief Executive of the Vision Foundation, said: “We couldn’t be more excited about funding this project. While it’s about music, movement and fun, it’s also so much more. Dance Dosti provides opportunities for an underserved community to engage in an activity to boost both physical and mental health. Learning from the programme will inform the development of more diverse, inclusive opportunities to be creative and active.”
A series of free community-based programmes will be piloted in five London boroughs from Autumn 2021: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Newham, and Tower Hamlets. These accessible sessions will be tailored to local communities, supporting blind and partially sighted people to learn to dance and to develop their potential.
Dance Dosti will monitor the impact of dance on a range of measures including mental and physical health, confidence, friendships, increasing independence and learning new skills. Learning from the programme will inform the development of more diverse, inclusive opportunities to be creative and active.
Take part in Dance Dosti digital.
For further information or images please contact Rashmi Becker, Step Change Studios, 07462 895461.
About Step Change Studios
Step Change Studios is an award-winning dance company committed to making dance accessible for everyone. Based in the UK, it offers fun, engaging dance opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. It provides classes in the community; tailors programmes for different settings including education, care, the arts, sport and leisure; produces professional dance performances and productions; shares experience through conferences and workshops; and creates imaginative bespoke dance projects.
Step Change Studios has received numerous accolades including the One Dance UK Award for Innovation, and the London Sport Award for Health and Wellbeing. It’s founder Rashmi Becker was recently recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list with an MBE for services to disabled people.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 07976 363861
About Metro Blind Sport
Metro Blind Sport is a London based charity, creating fun, accessible sport and physical activity opportunities for blind and partially sighted individuals of all ages and abilities. Established in 1973 by a group of passionate blind and partially sighted individuals keen to break down barriers to sports participation, the organisation offers opportunities to get involved in a wide variety of sports, primarily located within Greater London.
Metro Blind Sport has been at the forefront of promoting blind and partially sighted sport since it began, initiating the adaptions to sports, influencing National Governing Bodies, advising on equipment developments and supporting coaches and volunteers to get involved.
About Vision Foundation
The Vision Foundation exists to improve the opportunities, wellbeing and inclusion for blind and partially sighted people across London. This year, 2021, the charity is celebrating its centenary year marking 100 years of support for blind and partially sighted people in London.
The charity has raised more than £30 million over the past 100 years supporting grassroots organisations working at the heart of their communities. It raises funds from the public and uses these to transform the lives of people facing or living with sight loss by funding projects across London which inform, empower and include.