I’ve always used dance as my own type of therapy, but in the past few weeks, it’s really come into it’s own. On the 21st March I started ‘shielding’. I’m one of 1.5million people who have been highlighted as being clinically ‘extremely vulnerable’ in the UK. One of the conditions of ‘shielding’ is to stay at home for 12 weeks, not even going outside for medication, shopping or exercise. It’s been a big adjustment.
My usual routine is fairly varied as with having a chronic condition I can’t always predict how I’m going to be day to day. However, throughout the week I’d usually have a trip out with my carer and my assistance dog, work some short sessions for the ME Association remotely at home, have a trip to Starbucks (I love a Chai Latte!) and teach ballet at my local dance studio.
As soon as the pandemic hit, I knew I wanted to help. The frustrating thing is, I can’t go out and physically help, so I felt very limited with what I could do. The first week I spent adapting to my new routine which involved no longer having carers come in, teaching my dance classes online and upping my ME Association hours to help out with the increase of people who needed support. It was then I saw some of the dancers I follow on social media were streaming classes online, via Instagram, so I started joining in when I had the energy.
Strictly Online Dancing
It didn’t take me long to decide I would stream my own inclusive dance class which was suitable for both wheelchair users and able bodied. Even though the dance world had suddenly made available a multitude of arts programmes, very little of them are accessible. I couldn’t believe it when 40 people joined in my first class, so planned on making it a weekly session.
Now, I have streamed seven free classes in a range of styles from contemporary to sass. My classes are my way of being able to give back and allows disabled people especially, to exercise and have fun through this difficult time. My efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as I’ve spent the past two weeks filming for an online series which will feature on Channel 4 about my dance classes which I’m very excited about!
If you’d like to join in my sessions, I stream live on a Monday at 5pm from my Instagram @katestanforth. These sessions are mainly for young adults / adults and the choreography is intermediate level. However, I will be doing a beginner child’s session and a beginner adults session live at the Online Disability Show on Facebook on 31st April – 1st May.
If you are interested in other online sessions during lockdown, I have a few links which might be worth exploring!
- ‘Bumble Bee Physio’ has adapted the Joe Wicks workout for disabled children
- ‘Sign Along With Us’ has regular videos on how to sign along to the latest songs
- ‘Twinkl’ is an online SEND teaching site and has a range of free resources for home education
Stay safe, Kate.