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We recently shared the news of a theater group putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet. The special production was carried out thanks to plenty of Zoom sessions and a fantastic performance by its members, all of whom had learning challenges.
More and more companies — including those that promote there arts — are demonstrating that people with Down syndrome, autism, or other developmental or cognitive disabilities are more than capable of wowing crowds and showing off their talents.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet company in England (BRB) is one such group providing opportunities for those with learning disabilities to express themselves creatively.
In 2002, its artistic director, Lee Fisher, saw an “immense beauty in the unique movement” of a group of dancers at Fox Hollies Performing Arts College — a school for those with learning disabilities. He appreciated, however, that there was limited provision for those with special needs to practice and perform.
This led to the creation of the Freefall Dance Group, a company attached to the BRB. The combination of the expertise of Fox Hollies, occupational therapists, sports teachers and the BRB has led to some impressive performances that most of us could only dream of pulling off.
After nearly two decades, Freefall has become an award-winning dance group with some truly beautiful performances in its catalogue. It has “repeatedly challenged and amazed audiences locally, nationally and internationally proving their artistic potential,” as the BRB proudly shared.
Fisher shared in a recent video online that the group aims to train and provide performance opportunities for people with learning disabilities. But it’s also having a much broader impact.
“The dancers have become role models for many currently attending the school as a result of their successes and ‘can-do’ attitudes. They inspire ambition among the young students and motivate audiences to chase dreams,” shared the BRB.
If you’d like to have a look at one of the performances then there are some available online, and this video below provides an insight into the company and how truly impressive these dancers are!