‘Create Dance’, sensory friendly programme at Draoícht celebrates 10 years!

by Rose Barrett
0 comment

Running for the last 10 years, ‘Create Dance’ is a core part of Draíocht Blanchardstown’s Sensory Friendly programming. This fun, innovative dance project encourages young dancers, aged 5-18 years, who have a variety of intellectual disabilities and abilities, to dance and move every Saturday afternoon in Draíocht.

Dancers and facilitators, Mark Rogers, Kevin Murphy and Jess Rowell, work together with participants and their parents to explore all types of dance and free movement.  

Going Solo production

Even during Covid, the dancing continued online in weekly workshops over Zoom with Jess Rowell, Draíocht’s then Dance Artist in Residence, using a mixture of pre-recorded classes, video messaging, emails and live workshops. This culminated in a film documentary called ‘Chance of Dance’, available on Draíocht’s YouTube channel. 

“The engagement, the fun, the importance of connection, the importance of access for everyone to be their creative selves is captured in ‘Chance to Dance’. It demonstrates the commitment from all involved to make this project happen against a backdrop of ever-changing circumstances. It is a beautiful thing and a joy to watch.” Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht.

To celebrate 10 years of dancing, and with thanks to funding from the Arts Council’s Young Ensembles Scheme, dancers Jess Rowell, Kevin Murphy and Mark Rogers worked alongside musician Alessandro Zangrando, to support and lead the senior members of Create Dance, to further explore their personal style of dance in response to live music, in a specially constructed weeklong Summer Project in Draíocht.

After 5 days of intense dance practice, and months of work and original choreography, members presented their showcase ‘Going Solo’, to a thrilled audience of family and friends, and special guest Cllr Angela Donnelly. The applause was rapturous! Create Dance Members were presented with a Create Dance hoodie and an end of term pizza party and thrilled parents and grandparents expressed their delight about this first big solo show; 

Dance facilitators above.

“What an absolute joy to watch.” Jenny, parent of Helena, Create Dance troupe Member

“For us to see her so happy is wonderful! To see her on stage expressing herself with such confidence is one of the best feelings in the world. We are so grateful to all involved.” Susan, parent of Naomi

“I am truly grateful for Jason to express himself through the universal language of dance. Inclusivity is imperative to us as a family and Create Dance is the definition of inclusivity. Thank you from our children. Such an amazing platform.” Lisa, parent of Jason

“Daniel really enjoyed the week, spending time with his friends, learning new dance routines and moves. Daniel’s Grandad and Auntie loved the showcase – it was great for them to see Daniel perform.” Christine, parent of Daniel

Create Dancers take a well-earned break until September, when they will return for their weekly Saturday classes to Draíocht’s Workshop Room. To find out more about Create Dance and join the waiting list for new members, please email [email protected] or visit www.draiocht.ie 

Related Articles