Posted on Tuesday 30th September, 2014
The first thing you notice when dancing for children in SEN schools is the noise. While elderly people sit silently, we performed in a room where the children wail and shout with excitement. One little girl in the corner, sitting in her special chair, screamed at the top of her voice for the whole of our performance. When I went to talk to her afterwards her carer explained that she only screamed when she was overjoyed with excitement and happiness. I was overwhelmed by our audience, a sea of wheelchairs and children with obvious disabilities.The amazing thing about these children is that despite their disabilities they are happy. One boy jumped up and started dancing with us on our makeshift stage, another hugged Evelyn so tightly she missed her cue and the show and the show had to go on without her. The children grinned and shouted their way through our performance, their jaws must have ached from so much smiling!
We ate our lunch in their staff room reading the children's achievement charts with things like "I can stand up in my frame for almost a whole lesson" and "I can float with minimal support " it seems like small steps but when we met these children we soon realised what huge and important steps they were to them and it made our performance all the more important.
After the show they eagerly stroked our costumes and examined our props with real respect. They shared their playground and seemed excited to have new friends to play with. One older boy, Daniel, showed off his skills on a three wheeled bike, another little girl taught us her signs "wiggly finger and star" and we all lined up and did it back to her before shaking hands with the older children and climbing aboard our bus to loud screams big waves good bye!
On my achievement chart this year is to work hard and hope to return next year with LCB2 and to bring ballet to these children again. I must remember to bring my swimsuit, the hydro therapy pool looked very inviting... maybe that's why Victoria (our ballet mistress) accidentally left Nanny McPhee's magic stick behind (and we had to use a gardening fork!!)
LCB is passionate about developing new ballet audiences and reaching people who would never usually be exposed to the arts. This blog brings you the latest from LCB's outreach frontline.