Dancing With a Purpose

August 12, 2013, 20:00 lecture


They teach dance to criminals, to homeless children, to the unemployed, to the disabled – in other words, to the people whom society has written off as hopeless cases. And it works. On August 12th, guests of the Digital October Center had the chance to hear a lecture from Carly Annable-Coop, director of Dance United, a British program that uncovers a person’s potential through rhythm and movement.

In 2010, the program’s work was featured in the documentary film “Destino”, and in 2011, Dance United was one of 26 charitable initiatives from around the world that received sponsorship from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s special wedding fund (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge put the list together personally).

Today, the project is headquartered in London, but its subsidiaries, the Academies, are at work in several regions of England, while its mentors, experienced dancers, also participate in international programs in Europe and Africa.

Their methodology is based on the same principles that are used in preparing professionals for contemporary dance, which means that it requires discipline, concentration, and responsibility. It’s aimed at people who have lost their way in life, and helps them to restore their self-respect, to believe that they have a chance at a normal life, and to find the strength and motivation to study and find honest work.

The program is mainly focused on working with under-age individuals who have committed minor offenses – they’re sent to the Academy as an alternative to punishment. Dance United has achieved excellent results in this regard: more than 60% of those who graduate from their program manage to stay off of the police’s radar (the average statistic for social rehabilitation programs in England is 20%). The students who study there are might be having problems at school, might have fallen in with a bad crowd, or might be considered potential delinquents. 

The intense, 12-week program – which features 6 hours of class every weekday – was created for them. In addition to dance classes, there is a basic educational component, which was created together with London’s Trinity College. At the same time, teenagers are taught how to eat healthy and take care of their bodies. At the end of the program, participants give a graduation recital in a local theater, and sometimes even go on short tours.

Dance United also has experience working with the disabled, female inmates (2001-2007), and homeless children in Ethiopia. It has also participated in programs dealing with reconciliation efforts in Berlin (2003-2005), people torn apart by ideology, and the citizens of Belfast (2007), who are torn apart by religious conflict.



694 show Darya
Moderator, PR Manager of Dushevniy Bazar Festival
698 show Larisa
Director, Upsala Circus
693 show Lilit
Director, Mercy Home Reabilitation Center for children and young people
695 show Tatyana
Director, dance4life, Russia
699 show Leonid
Director, Oduhotvorenie Center

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