This is the third of four posts relating to the Irreverent Dance Kickstarter. Over the course of the fundraising campaign I will be explaining some of the reasons why this inclusive and welcoming community is so essential – to the people within and those who have yet to discover it – and why dance is far more important than you might first think.
The first things people usually think of when accessibility is mentioned are physical limitations. Is a venue wheelchair accessible? Can someone with mobility issues access this room? Progress has been made to improve the accessibility of many physical spaces for those who find movement difficult, but what about improving access to what’s happening within the space? This is especially important if it’s a dance class where all kinds of injuries, illnesses, disabilities (visible or not) and conditions can affect what you are able to do. Of course, none of this means that you can’t take part at all, it just means that what you do or how you do it might have to be a bit different. This is one of the many reasons why Irreverent Dance is seen as a welcoming and accessible place to learn to dance. As their website states:
We teach adults, and all adults have accumulated a unique and fascinating array of injuries (physical and sometimes psychological) in the numerous decades prior to joining us. We work with our students to accommodate these injuries allowing them to work at their own pace and with their own body – never against it.
Accessibility isn’t just about the physical aspects though. Another key factor is cost. Not just the cost of classes but, in the case of a community like ID, also the cost of socials. Not everyone can afford a course of 8 classes, or the price of a drop in session. Irreverent Dance works with students to provide options for those with limited means, which is really important to help foster an inclusive community. Some people can’t afford to buy food and drink at a pub and so will feel they can’t socialise with their new friends after class… and some people simply do not want to socialise in bars. On the Kickstarter page, founder Amanda Leon-Joyce points out another benefit of Irreverent Dance moving into their own studio: ‘With the advantages of it not being an alcohol or food oriented environment, not being open to strangers who may not share our ideals, and already being accessible with gender-neutral facilities, our studio will allow for social time, too.’ In addition, a dedicated space will mean that ID can make classes more accessible for those with restrictions on their time, as more sessions can be offered in alternative time slots. Irreverent Dance students have been spreading the word for weeks now – have you joined the cause?
Irreverent Dance currently have a Kickstarter campaign to raise money in order to create Europe’s First Gender-Neutral Community Dance Studio. If you can donate anything – even the price of a coffee – it will go towards ensuring even more people can enjoy the safe space that means so much to existing members of the Irreverent Dance community. To see what Irreverent Dance has already achieved, why not come along to the annual Showcase performance on Sunday 9th November. A video of last year’s can be found on the ID blog.