Spotlight on inclusive practice week: Q&A panel
11th February 2023
As part of our spotlight on inclusive practice week, we were delighted to hose a panel to discuss neurodiversity, disability, access and inclusion. The panel talked about ways in which we can facilitate accessible and inclusive dance environments.
A lot of our colleagues within the dance community are neurodivergent or have physical or hidden disabilities that impact their work and acknowledging this is super important. Very often disability is invisible (as is the case with neurodivergence) and there are preconceived notions of ability vs disability within the dance world that often negatively impact the notion of accessibility. Inclusivity and accessibility are necessary in every part of modern society, including in the dance world. Challenging the institutionalised preconceived notions of physical perfection or ideal ways of doing or processing movement or language within the industry brings forward a difficult question: how accessible is accessibility, really?
To discuss this hot topic we were joined by Natasha Britton, Charlotte Edmonds and Jess Lowe, in conversation with Rambert School’s Head of Studies, Phaedra Petsilas. Read more about our panel contributors below.
Natasha Britton BCAa Co-founder of Parable Dance
Natasha is Co-Founder of Parable Dance and Artistic Director of Parable Dance UK, a community interest company providing inclusive dance workshops in the South East of England and training worldwide. Forming in 2019, Natasha and Co-Founder Erica Moshman created an award-winning film resource about inclusive dance teaching. Following on from this they developed bespoke training programmes including a tour of UK universities and a mentoring programme for early career inclusive dancers. Parable Dance also run weekly classes, outreach workshops and monthly networks.
Natasha has worked in inclusive dance since 2000 as a freelance artist and on education teams for organisations including Candoco Dance Company and Magpie Dance. As well as her work with Parable Dance, Natasha is; Education and Training Officer for Spymonkey, on the education teams for Sadler’s Wells and The RAD Step into Dance Programme, a mentor on the MA Research programme at Rambert School and a proud trustee for DanceSyndrome. Natasha is passionate about provision of arts education for all and has dedicated most of her work to the development of inclusive dance. Natasha has received a British Citizen’s Award for her contribution to the arts.
Charlotte Edmonds Dancer Choreographer Filmmaker and co-founder of Move Beyond Words
Charlotte Edmonds is a choreographer, dancer and filmmaker. She studied at The Royal Ballet Lower School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and from 2016- 2018 she was The Royal Ballet’s Inaugural Young Choreographer. In 2021 she completed a Masters Degree in Choreography with Central School of Ballet. Charlotte has created work for a range of companies and organisations internationally including The Royal Ballet, Sotheby’s Auction House, Riff Raff, Nike, BBC Arts, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, Rambert School, The Royal Ballet School, Royal Academy of Dance, Estudios Victor Cordon, Yorke Dance Project, Studio Wayne McGregor, Norwegian National Ballet and Bayerisches Staatsballett. Charlotte is interested in storytelling through movement that allows humankind to imagine and explore different social, emotional and moral perspectives. Her passion lies in nurturing creativity and honouring dance as an important source of expression.
Jess Lowe Administrator of Health, Wellbeing, and Performance
Jess has an extensive background in dance alongside an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She is passionate about dancer health and well being, and has a growing specialised knowledge and research interest in neurodiversity in dance. Jess is particularly proud of leading on One Dance UK’s Considering Difference – Making Dance Accessible project, which was presented at the 2021 International Association of Dance Medicine and Science conference. She would most love to do a workshop with Cirque du Soleil!