SHIFT is a collaboration between Northern Ballet (UK), Psico Ballet Maite Leon Foundation (Spain) and Misiconi Dance Company (Netherlands).

The project aims to:

  • Develop new teaching practice for dancers with learning disabilities, Autism or both that enables them to fulfil their potential and is underpinned by safe practice.
  • Share good practice; initially between the European collaborators, and subsequently the outcomes to an international audience of dance artists and teachers in community, education and professional settings.

Through this we strive to raise the profile and skills of learning disabled dancers across Europe. Input and support from a Dance Science perspective will be provided by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leeds will be evaluating the impact of the project.  This will ensure the new practice developed will be underpinned by academic research.

The project is funded by Erasmus+


The project will consist of five residencies with three focusing on sharing practice and devising new approaches to teaching technical dance skills:

  1. Strength and alignment
  2. Balance and co-ordination
  3. Elevation and locomotion

Between each residency, the activities and approaches will be tried, tested and developed over a 10-week period.  Each partner will work with their dancers and use monitoring and evaluation tools to measure and chart their progress.


The outcomes will be shared through the creation of a website to be launched in July 2020.   The resource will be translated into English, Spanish and Dutch and will provide a toolkit that will include videos of exercises and activities, information on safe practice (with a focus on hypermobility) and other download-able teaching resources. It will also include evaluation and feedback methods that have been developed through the project.

Our findings will be shared at two events:

Side Kick – June 2020, Rotterdam (NL)

Misiconi Foundation will take the lead on this one-day event which focuses on cooperation and interesting debates, with the slogan ‘Sharing, Discussing, and Dreaming’.  They will share the learning from SHIFT through activities, presentations and debates.

Expressions – July 2020, Leeds (UK)

Hosted by Northern Ballet, this European Festival of Disabled Dance will include a one-day event sharing the learning from SHIFT including lecture demonstrations, discussions and performances by all the partner’s performance groups; Ability (Northern Ballet), Misiconi Dance Company and Fritsch Company (PBMLF).

This Blog

Through this blog we hope to share our process and connect with other practitioners.  We welcome comments and observations as these will feed into and enrich our own reflections so please post!