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Inclusive dance sessions launched for blind and partially sighted people

Dance Dosti is a multi-lingual, dance-on-demand platform for people with sight loss

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A free digital platform of multi-lingual dance sessions has launched, with the aim of encouraging blind and partially sighted people from a South Asian background to be active.

Dance Dosti hopes to promote physical activity and use the benefits of dance to bring people together and improve health and wellbeing.

Dance Dosti digital contains 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 dances, and video and audio formats for different abilities.
 
The Dance Dosti promotional video is available to view on it Facebook page

The digital platform, which is live now, is the first phase of the project. A series of free community-based programmes will be piloted in five London boroughs (Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Newham, and Tower Hamlets) from autumn 2021, with accessible sessions tailored to local communities.

The project also provides advice for dance and fitness providers on inclusive practice, and will monitor the impact of dance on a range of measures including mental and physical health, confidence, friendships, increasing independence and learning new skills, and will use these learnings to inform the development of further inclusive opportunities to be active.

The platform was created by award winning accessible dance studio Step Change Studios and London-based charity Metro Blind Sport, and is funded by the Vision Foundation.

The idea for Dance Dosti came from seeing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people from certain demographics, the founder of Step Change Studios, Rashmi Becker MBE, said.

She added that: “People from a South Asian background and disabled people have reported greater isolation and inactivity” during the pandemic.

“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,” Becker said.

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.”

Olivia Curno, chief executive of the Vision Foundation, added: “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.”

Dance Dosti is available online