Rashmi Becker, Founding Director
I was born in London and started out as a competitive ice skater and began dancing to help my skating. As the younger
sister of a brother with Autism and learning disabilities, I became aware of the benefits of dance from an early age as music and movement were a fantastic way for us to connect and for my brother to
communicate, mange his anxiety, to develop coordination and to just feel free.
As an adult I began working with people with learning disabilities and continued to see the benefits of dance as well as recognise hidden talent. I became involved in various advocacy activities to support disabled people to have a voice and to have the same opportunities to participate in society as everyone else. I continued to dance socially throughout my adult life, developing a love of Latin and Ballroom dance. In 2012 I performed in the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games which was an amazing experience that drew a diverse community together in celebration.
In 2013 I became a Board Member of the English Federation for Disability Sport, and patron of a wheelchair dance charity. Both roles reaffirmed my commitment to improving opportunities for disabled people to be active, included and able to dance, compete and perform alongside their non-disabled peers. I also began performing at community and charity events and saw how much people enjoyed dancing or wanted to dance but had few opportunities to do so. The turning point came when I enabled two ladies with disabilities to realise their dream to dance by performing at a black-tie ball and I knew this needed to be the norm not the exception. In 2018 I was appointed to the Board of Sport England, a further reflection of my commitment to improve participation for all. In the same year Step Change Studios won the One Dance UK Award for Innovation and the Westminster City Active Award for Inclusion - positive recognition for inclusive dance and our efforts to make a lasting impact. I received the Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister for services to making dance accessible (2019) and am shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (2020). I hold a PhD in Psychiatry, and MPhil Education, both from the University of Cambridge.
A dancer, teacher and choreographer, I have been dancing since I was three years old studying the Royal Ballet method. I developed my education in the performing arts through youth theatre groups and then continued my dance education with D.N.I Tango in Buenos Aires. I went on to study contemporary dance at the Faculatade de Danca Ange Vianna in Rigo de Janeiro, followed by an apprentice with Cia de Danca Deborah Colker.
I specialise in Latin Dance, and Argentine Tango. I have extensive international experience and have performed in musical theatre and was part of the teaching team for the BBC Strictly dance professionals. I accredit all I love about dance to Tango and Samba, my 'first loves'. I have supported people with different needs and abilities to dance and have set up a project which uses the communication and connection qualities of Tango to enable people with Autism.
I trained at London Studio Centre graduating in contemporary dance. I have expanded my professional dance career in a range of genres including Latin, hip hop and tap dance, having represented England at the Tap Dance World Championships. I have performed at major arts events and venues in the UK and internationally.
I have been able to draw on my experience working in social care to develop inclusive dance for children and adults, including participants with learning disabilities, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, and older people with dementia. I led an inclusive dance programme under Time 2 Shine at Stoke Mandeville working and co-created an intergenerational inclusive dance project. I also taught and choreographed ballroom performances for inclusive dance competitions in England and Wales.
I am a dance Movement Psychotherapist with an MA from Goldsmiths University of London and a BA in Social Work. My work
focuses on the educational, artistic and therapeutic value of movement and dance. I have a background as a dance artist having studies in a variety of dance styles including ballet (Royal Academcy of
Dance), Jazz, Contemporary, physical theatre and imrpovisation, and I have performed across Europe.
I am experienced in working with people of all ages in educational, healthcare and social care settings, most recently providing creative dance for older people, adults and young people with mental health challenges and people with learning disabilities. I believe in nurturing a supportive and collaborative environment and in fostering potential through activities that encourage creativity, imagination, active thinking and curiosity.
My passion for dance started at the age of 3 where I began training in Ballet, and progressed onto learning Tap, Jazz, Contemporary dance and took part in local musical shows as a teenager. I went on to study a Dance BA (Hons) at Kingston University, where I trained in a variety of styles from Hip hop to Odissi to African dance. It was Bollywood dance that I completely fell in love with, and became my specialism. I regularly perform, compete and teach in a range of settings and ages - from 2 to 102 years old!
Since 2017, I have been leading and assisting inclusive dance sessions. I have been working on Akademi’s ‘Dance Well Project’ which focuses on getting older people moving to music. I work with a variety of participants, including people with dementia, respiratory diseases, and sensory impairments. Inclusive dance has shown me how powerful dance and music can be and how providing accessible dance can impact someone’s wellbeing and bring joy to those who participate.
I discovered swing dance in 2005 and have been teaching and performing since 2012 across the UK and Europe. I teach all levels and ages. Having completed a Dance for the Older Generation course at Trinity Laban, I have supported people to dance in a range of residential care home, and day centres. I also provide inclusive dance in educational settings.
I also provide community dance classes in my home city of Liverpool and support a local care provider with their annual fundraising event. I am also trained in physical theatre and improvised comedy and like to bring this experience into my teaching, offering a fun and playful approach to dance. In 2012 I was awarded the ‘Spirit of Lindy Hop’ at the European Swing Dance Championships and strive to live up to this name by sharing the joy of swing dance with as many people as I can.
I started dancing at the age of 3 in Ballet and then expanded into competitive Ballroom Dancing, competing nationally and
internationally for several years, becoming ‘London 10 Dance Champion’.
I developed my inclusive dance experience with Step Change Studios performing in 'Fairy Tales' at Sadler's Wells, choreographing and performing in Dance Westminster - a grassroots pan-disability dance competition, and leading dance classes for people with sight loss.
I am a performance and visual artist working across different disciplines including dance, performance, film, and photography. In 2008 I graduated with a Professional Dance Diploma from the Laban Institute of Contemporary Dance, followed by accreditation as a Community Dance Practitioner with East London Dance. I also have a Masters in Performance Making from Goldsmiths University.
I have extensive experience delivering inclusive dance for disabled and disadvantaged people in education and community settings and teach a variety of styles including contemporary, jazz, flamenco, African, and physical theatre. I have worked with a number of respected dance companies in the UK and internationally. For example I was awarded a choreographer’s residency with the Seoul Dance Centre, South Korea and an artist’s residency with Hospitalfield in Scotland.
Lindy hop has captured my imagination for more than 12 years. Originally from Canada, I have won numerous international titles, and regularly teach and perform in North America, the UK and Europe.
Since moving to the UK in 2013, I have taught over 15,000 people to dance, and participated in major events such as the London Swing Festival, and the International Lindy Hop Championships. Nothing gives me greater joy then bringing people together to enjoy swing dance, Lindy Hop, jazz and Charleston. In 2015, I curated a series of lectures around the topics of health, wellness and community building for the European Swing Dance Championships and have been invited to speak at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
I have been dancing since I was 3 years old in a wide range of styles, from ballet and tap to hip hop and musical theatre. I teach in all these styles and have worked extensively both with children and with young adults with learning difficulties in a performing arts context.
As a dancer, I have performed at the World of Dance in Los Angeles, Lake Garda in Italy, and at a variety of London venues including Sadler's Wells, the Barbican, Stratford Circus, Rich Mix and the Olympic Stadium. I have also acted regularly at the South London Theatre, and have sung in the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and in many other venues across London and the South East. I am also part of an all-female UK hip-hop group.
My interest in dance began at a young age with a particular interest in contemporary dance. It was during my BA in Dance Studies that my interest in the psychotherapeutic use and healing potential of movement developed and led me to pursue an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy at Roehampton University.
My practice utilises the therapeutic aspects of dance, movement and sensory awareness to help people to express themselves, explore feelings and connect with others. I am experienced in working with children and adults with a variety of physical, learning and behavioural needs within community, educational, NHS and care settings.
I started dancing at an early age, training in Ballet, Tap and Modern. Having sustained a Spinal Cord Injury aged 16, I continued with my dance training using a wheelchair and became a professional dancer in 2001. Since then I have accumulated a wealth of experience, working with numerous choreographers and performing globally in both traditional and non-traditional settings.
My extensive teaching experience ranges across all ages and abilities. I am particularly passionate about bringing quality dance experience to those who would not normally be able to access it, through my inclusive teaching approach, incorporating both skill development and fun. I choreographed the Heritage Flame Ceremony, at Stoke Mandeville for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and as Dance Captain for the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, I assisted with the choreography and teaching the 3500 volunteers.
I was born into a Ballroom dancing family and competed in Ballroom and Latin Dance in Germany for 10 years and became a Junior and Amateur Champion in both Ballroom and Latin American Dance. Moving to London to study Contemporary Dance Theatre at the Laban Centre, I graduated with a First Class Degree and have been a professional dancer, choreographer and dance teacher ever since. I am a Fellow with the ISTD.
I have worked for TV including Dancing With The Stars in the Middle East for 4 Seasons, So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice internationally and Strictly in the UK. I also recently choreographed inclusive dance pieces for ‘Fusion’ at Sadler’s Wells, which was produced by Step Change Studios. I very much enjoy teaching and supporting people with different needs and abilities to learn to dance and to experience the joy that dancing brings.
I began dancing at the age of six at my parents’ dancing school. My parents appeared on the original TV series of “Come Dancing” which sparked my interest in ballroom and Latin dance. At the age of 18 I was awarded a grant to attend the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts where I trained in ballet, pas de deux, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre and choreography.
I have danced and taught extensively working in pop videos, commercials, tours, musicals, film, and television. Credits include: "Fame" in London's West End, "Oliver!" on BBC1, the "Royal Variety Performance", "Britain's Got Talent", and “The Brit Awards”. Film credits include "Finding Neverland", "Kinky Boots” and "Pride and Prejudice". I regularly teach, lecture and adjudicate dance in the UK and overseas. I work with children and adults with a range of abilities and am committed to promoting respect and wellbeing for everyone who participates in dance.
After studying musical theatre and completing my BA Hons at London Contemporary Dance School, I have gained extensive experience in the UK and abroad, working consistently with a range of respected inclusive dance companies. I have created my own works which I have performed in the UK and internationally, and collaborated with Only Gili in Indonesia on an untitled dance film.
I am experienced supporting people with a range of disabilities to dance including children and adults with sensory impairments, physical disabilities, autism and learning disabilities, and I am experienced in a breadth of styles covering musical theatre, contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap and folk dance.