Northern Ballet’s Ability

Ability is a course for adults with additional learning support needs run by Northern Ballet’s Learning department since 2012. The group perform at platforms regionally and nationally. Sophie Alder, Artistic Learning Manager, and Mia Nielsen, Ability Support Artist, represented the company on this project.

There are nine dancers in the group who meet one day a week. Six dancers have Down syndrome and one has Autism spectrum disorder. Their ages range from 18 – 28 yrs. Most of the group had some dance experience through school or private dance schools before joining Ability. Their experience with Ability ranges from 1 to 6 years.

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Psico Ballet Maite Leon Foundation

PBMLF is a non-profit foundation that was founded in 1986. They deliver performing arts programmes for people with disabilities, social inclusion projects and teacher training. Fritsch Company is their professional performance company who tour internationally in theatres and at festivals. Gabriela Martin, Artistic Director, and Ramon Marcos, choreographer and teacher, represented the company on this project.

There are eight dancers with additional learning support needs, mainly Down syndrome, who worked on the project. They meet three times a week. Ages range from 20 – 27yrs. The level of dance experience ranges from 7 to 23 yrs with PBMLF.

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Stichting Misiconi

Misiconi Company is part of Stichting Misiconi and is a professional inclusive dance company based in Rotterdam. Since 2013 the company has steadily grown and performed nationally and internationally at festivals including D-Caf Cairo, Gathered Together Festival in Glasgow and KIADA Festival in Seoul. Joop Oonk, Artistic Director, and Manouk Schrauwen, freelance dance artist, represented the company on this project.

There are 8 dancers in the company who meet two days a week. Three dancers have Down syndrome and one has Cerabral Palsy. Ages range between 18 and 54 yrs. The level of dance experience within the company ranges greatly; from 4 years training with Misiconi DC to several years of professional dance training and performance experience.

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Associate Partners

External Evaluator:

University of Leeds, UK – Dr Louise McDowall, Research Fellow in Exercise and Health Psychology and Dr Andrea Utley, Reader in Motor Control and Development and Dr Shaunna Burke, Associate Professor in Exercise and Health Psychology


University of Edinburgh, UK – Wendy Timmons, Programme Director MSc Dance Science & Education and Mark Pace, Teaching Fellow, Programme of Dance Science & Education


We would like to thank Eileen Burns, Wieke Eringa and Albert González for their help in ensuring accuracy and consistency across the English, Dutch and Spanish versions of the text, and our dancers and freelance staff who have supported this project.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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