Life as a Disabled Dance Teacher

As part of my new 'disability awareness' series on instagram, I thought I would share some of the things I have been told as a disabled dance teacher

'You can't teach in a wheelchair'
Actually, I can. My wheelchair doesn't limit me, it enables me. I have had to adapt my teaching style so I now use more vocal commands and often ask for a demonstrator. That doesn't affect my teaching ability in the slightest.

‘Dance is only for specific people’
I would like to make dance accessible for all who would like to enjoy it, and, who it's safe to participate in. Dance doesn't have to be 2 hours en pointe. It can be putting some music on and moving your wheelchair, your wrists or even just your finger. It's time we rewrite the word 'dance'.

‘It's easy teaching dance’
Absolutely wrong. I teach for 45mins a week and it floors me for days afterwards. I put in a lot of prep work and I always stay to chat at the end of my lessons too. It took me many years to get my qualifications and I have major respect for all dance teachers. It definitely isn't as easy as people think, especially being a disabled teacher.

'Brands choose you because of your disability'
Yes. I am chosen as a disabled dancer. However, I have worked with brands who have chosen me because they are inclusive, and unfortunately, I've worked with some where I've been nothing more than a tick box. I am a talented disabled dancer though who will put in 100% to every collaboration.

'You might not always be able to dance'
I have a genetic condition which won't get better. My condition could deteriorate at any point, and yes, I could lose the ability to dance, or, it could become too dangerous for my health to do so. I have to be extremely careful how much dancing I do and how I do it, but I take every day as it comes.

I fully encourage everyone to get involved in dance and hope that the dance industry will continue to become more accessible. If you'd like to follow my dance journey, or take part in free inclusive sessions, go to my instagram @katestanforth

Kate x

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