Students from Chichester and Westergate join for inclusive Stopgap dance project

The dance project was a new experience for many of the participating students
The dance project was a new experience for many of the participating students

Schools in Westergate and Chichester have teamed up to take part in a new dance adventure.

Ormiston Six Villages Academy, Westergate, and Fordwater School, Chichester, signed up to an inclusive dance project with Stopgap Dance Company, a charitable organisation which focuses on inclusive choreography and encouraging innovative collaborations between disabled and non-disabled artists.

The team at Stopgap are committed to making discoveries about integrating disabled and non-disabled people through dance

The team at Stopgap are committed to making discoveries about integrating disabled and non-disabled people through dance

Students took part in workshop sessions with Stopgap dancers to create their own contemporary dance piece. The sessions and final dance were professionally filmed and made into a short film, screened at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester on December 15 before Stopgap’s relaxed performance of new production The Enormous Room.

Assistant principal at Ormiston Six Villages Academy Josh Case 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.”

Deputy head of Fordwater School Kathryn Crosby 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 that pupils can express themselves without needing to be able to use spoken language.”

The project was facilitated by charity Sussex Arts Academy, which widens access to the best in arts and cultural education to benefit all children and young people in West Sussex.

Sussex Arts Academy spokesperson Katy Lassetter 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.”