12 of our students have had an amazing opportunity to be inspired by students at Fordwater School through an inclusive dance project with Stopgap Dance Company.
The students from both schools have participated in workshop sessions with Stopgap dancers to create their own contemporary dance piece. The sessions and the final dance were professionally filmed as a permanent record of the collaboration and made into a short film which will be screened in the foyer of the Minerva Theatre in Chichester before a relaxed performance of Stopgap’s latest production ’The Enormous Room’ on Saturday 15th December. Relaxed performances welcome individuals, groups and families with children on the autistic spectrum, sensory and communication disorders, a learning disability or anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed theatre environment.
The project was facilitated by Sussex Arts Academy, a registered charity which provides easier access to the very best in arts and cultural education for the benefit of all children and young people in West Sussex.
Mr Josh Case, Assistant Principal said:
"For our students, participating in this project has allowed them to better understand inclusivity in the expressive arts as well as challenge themselves as performers to explore choreography in a new way.”
Kathryn Crosby, Deputy Head of Fordwater School said:
“We were delighted when Ormiston Six Villages Academy School invited Fordwater to participate in this collaborative Dance project. Our pupils, who have severe learning difficulties, often excel in dance and music as this provides a way pupils can express themselves without needing to be able to use spoken language. The chance to work alongside a mainstream school develops both sets of pupils and is a rich experience for inclusion and disability awareness. Stopgap have brought energy, fun and a high quality dance event to both schools, and this has contributed to staff training, pupil engagement and well-being.”
Sussex Arts Academy and Stopgap Dance have previously worked together on a similar, inspirational dance project for children in six special schools in West Sussex. This is the first project involving a mixed group of disabled and non-disabled school-aged children which the charity hope will have an even wider impact than their previous work. It is also the first time that they have introduced the idea of a filmed performance which will provide a lasting source of inspiration to the children and their families and also to the wider community.
David Sword, Operations Manager at Sussex Arts Academy said:
“Doing this kind of work has shown how children’s, teachers’ and parents’ attitudes towards disability can be transformed by working alongside disabled and non-disabled dancers performing at the highest levels. This inspires all of the children involved to raise their aspirations and develop new skills that will help them to lead fulfilled lives in the future. This is good for them as individuals, for their families and for the community of West Sussex.”