Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Our Winner: Becky Rich

Category: Sports, arts and entertainment

I love dancing for people and knowing my dance teaching will leave them smiling.

DanceSyndrome

Becky Rich is a 28 years old Dance Leader and Ambassador for Dance Syndrome, an organisation which empowers people, particularly those with a learning disability, through inclusive dance sessions. Becky also happens to have Down’s syndrome.

Becky joined DanceSyndrome in 2014 before taking part in the charity’s unique leadership training course in 2015. She used the skills she learned there to deliver dance workshops in two different community centres, independent of DanceSyndrome.

Becky Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

“I love dancing for the people knowing my dance teaching will leave them smiling, it is very touching for me knowing that they are having a good time.

“I feel great when we perform together with my fellow leaders and we get the job done.

“I am performing in great places with my fellow leaders and we get standing ovations everywhere we go. People leave feeling happy and smiling.

“The joy we bring to their faces everywhere is very touching for me, it will stay with me for the rest of my life. Nothing can stop us now!”


Sarah Calderbank, Project Coordinator at Dance Syndrome, said: “Becky’s wellbeing has clearly increased since she joined.

“She genuinely loves her work with DanceSyndrome and clearly gets a lot of enjoyment from it when you see her leading and performing.”

The young dancer also took on a voluntary role at a local museum and when two of these services ended in 2017, it gave Becky more time to focus on her work with DanceSyndrome.

As a result, she went on to develop a duet piece with her friend Jen, founder of DanceSyndrome who also happens to have Downs Syndrome.

Becky describes this relationship with passion: “I am so lucky to have a heartfelt friendship with the founder of the charity.

“She means everything to me. We love performing together and bringing joy and happiness to people. I want to help her to fulfil her dream of travelling around the world dancing in different countries and educating them about acceptance and to end discrimination once and for all.”

The dancing duo perform in care homes and at community events and conferences, with the aim of demonstrating that we should all focus on ability rather than disability.

Speaking of which

Becky also delivers inspiring speeches about removing barriers to participation for disabled people. Becky is a force to be reckoned with; passionate about dance and inclusion in society, with a steadfast determination to change perceptions about the value of learning-disabled people and their contribution to our world.

She’s a staunch campaigner for disability rights and uses dance to demonstrate not just her own, but her fellow dance leaders’ skills and talents.

In recognition of these abilities, DanceSyndrome recently offered Becky the role of Ambassador. She has written to many organisations and potential patrons to tell them about DanceSyndrome and has received positive responses.

Becky gives regular interviews to film and print journalists to promote DanceSyndrome’s mission to empower people and create a more inclusive society.

Becky plays a key role in a team that is using inclusive dance to challenge perceptions of people with disabilities and her work is fundamental to DanceSyndrome’s success.

This was recognised at the 2016 Learning Disability and Autism Awards where the Dance Leader team won the Sporting Chance Award. Becky also won Volunteer of the Year at the 2016 Lancashire Pride Awards. Take a look at ITV’s coverage of it.

It looks like this is another award in the collection of a very deserving dance leader.

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