• Access, inclusion and excellence : evaluating Stopgap Dance Company's IRIS programme

      Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah; Stopgap Dance Company; University of Bedfordshire (Stopgap Dance Company, 2018-12-01)
      Among the numerous barriers to dance for disabled people, one of the key challenges in the UK has been the lack of progressive training routes for diabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.  Stopgap Dance Company sought to address this barrier by creating an inclusive talent development programme called IRIS.  Consisiting of four levels of increasing complexity, IRIS seeks to provide parity with mainstream training routes to help students progress their skills and confidence in dance. The aim of this research project was to evaluate IRIS in its first two years, while it was piloted with five groups.  The evaluation took into consideration the participants' experiences and outcomes of the programme using a longitudinal, mixed methods research design.
    • Development of a performance evaluation tool to track progress in an inclusive dance syllabus

      Needham-Beck, Sarah; Aujla, Imogen (Routledge, 2020-03-30)
      The lack of systematic training available for young dancers with disabilities has previously presented a barrier for those wishing to develop their skills and pursue a career in dance. Recently, a number of initiatives have launched to help bridge this gap; however, currently no established assessment measures exist that are sensitive to the needs of young dancers with disabilities while providing evidence of their competencies. The aim of this study was to develop a performance evaluation tool to allow tracking of progress in technique and performance skills in young dancers with a range of physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The tool allows scoring on a Likert-type scale on eleven criteria, including control of movement, coordination, spatial awareness, timing and rhythm, and surface or partner work. Six dancers were filmed during classes to allow retrospective evaluation of their performance by four judges. Intra-Class Correlation Coefficients (ICCs) for inter-rater and test–retest reliability demonstrated good reliability. Inconsistencies in scoring reduced and ICCs strengthened when trial one was removed from analysis; therefore, a familiarisation trial is recommended for future uses of this tool. Overall, this appears to be a reliable tool for evaluating elements of dance technique and performance in young dancers with disabilities.
    • Subjective wellbeing among young dancers with disabilities

      Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-11)
      Little is known about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of young dancers with disabilities and whether it changes over time. The aim of this study was to assess the SWB of young dancers with disabilities enrolled on an extracurricular inclusive talent development programme in the UK at two time points. Twenty-two young dancers completed the Personal Wellbeing Index for people with intellectual disability at the beginning of the academic year. Thirteen dancers completed the questionnaire a second time towards the end of the academic year. Scores were compared with normative values, and a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was conducted to assess change over time. The participants reported high levels of SWB at both time points in comparison with normative values. There was no significant change in wellbeing scores over time. The study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting that people with disabilities have high levels of SWB. Although causality cannot be assumed, inclusive dance programmes may contribute to SWB and allow young people with disabilities to overcome the barriers associated with physical activity.