NZ Disability and Dance Strategy

“If you can breathe you can dance” said Bronwyn Hayward at the launch of the strategy “Would you like this dance?”

Hard to believe in my case since I have never been well- coordinated or graceful, but the strategy reveals that dance can be surprising and make a real difference:

“Expect to be amazed! Expect to laugh a lot, look at the world differently, spend every minute thinking about how to engage, interact and communicate more effectively. Expect to love your job more than you thought was possible!!!”
Survey respondent commenting on the effect of dance on their life.

Then why would a visually challenged person such as me who knows zilch about it have the temerity to write about dance? I have been able to see enough dance to appreciate some of the beauty and expressiveness it brings, and I applaud any initiative which brings inclusion and such obvious joy to the lives of disabled people. As the song says we need roses as well as bread.

That is the point Bronwyn and DANZ are making. Dance is for everyone, and many people were dancing very enthusiastically at the launch at Te Papa on December 4 celebrating the International Day of Disabled People.

Integrated, or mixed ability dance is not new to New Zealand. Bronwyn Hayward, researcher and author of the strategy is herself a disabled dancer and filmmaker. She and groups like Touch Compass Dance have vigorously promoted it for some time.

The recommendations form the report cover the visibility of integrated dance, the employment of champions to promote it, development of school resources, identification of accessible teaching and performance spaces around NZ and the establishment of a reference group to progress the strategy. Recommendations also cover funding, and the development of enabling partnerships

My only quibbles are with the document itself. It could do with a contents list and an executive summary, and the binding could be more robust.

It was good to see that accessibility has not been forgotten. The strategy is available in standard print, online in html, large print, text only, Word and plain English. To order copies email

I hope this important document will not be left to gather dust on shelves. I suspect Bronwyn won’t let it!


Filed under Disability Issues, Disability Rights, Information Accessibility, The Arts

2 Responses to NZ Disability and Dance Strategy

  1. Robyn Smith

    Dance has moved forward (thank goodness) from the stiff, dessicated movements of ballet I learnt 45 years ago. I love the thought that everyone can do it, as it’s liberating, creative and great exercise.
    Right on, I say.

  2. Thanks Robyn. Yes Dance in NZ has certainly come a long way since we were young!

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