Rashmi Becker, Founder & 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 in 2016 a Patron for a wheelchair dance charity. Both roles reaffirmed my commitment to improving opportunities for disabled people to be active, included and to be 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.

 

Dance Practitioners: Ballroom & Latin

 

Anna Alvarez
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 onto study contemporary dance at The Faculatade de Dança Angel Vianna in Rio de Janeiro, followed by an apprentice with Cia de Dança 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 Tango-Autism project which uses the communication and connection qualities of Tango to engage people with Autism.

 

Sergio Brilhante
I am a Ballroom and Latin professional with over 20 years’ experience. I am qualified at Licentiate level with the ISTD and Associate level with the IDTA. Originally from Portugal, I began dancing at the age of 11 and soon fell in love with the many rhythms that Ballroom and Latin have to offer. I began my competitive career at the age of 15 and was three-time Portuguese amateur champion and professional Latin vice champion. 
 

In 2008, after graduating in Clinical Psychology, I moved to London as a competitor and full time dance teacher. I love teaching people of all levels and abilities from social dancers and wedding couples to people wanting to take exams and compete. I am passionate about inclusive dance and made history by becoming the first ever same sex partnership to dance in a professional UK competition. 
 

Nuno Sabroso
Born in Lisbon, I began ballroom and Latin dancing at the age of 9 when I also entered my first competition. I continued to train and compete until the age of 18 when I became interested in the broader performing arts and completed a BA in Dance. For my final year project I created a performance with disabled dancers which included wheelchair users and people with learning disabilities.


In 2009 I was approached by Daniele Oliveira, a wheelchair dancer who wanted to compete. I had not had any experience of competitive wheelchair dancing, however after just a few years of dedicated training, we were in the world top three rankings, competing and performing all over the world. In 2013 I was ready for a new challenge and moved to London as a teacher performer and choreographer. In 2015 I was invited to be a judge and choreographer for the TV show Dancing with the Stars in Panama. This was an amazing experience and allowed me to experiment with different styles and ideas. When the season ended I returned to London, committed to enabling people of all abilities to enjoy Latin and Ballroom dance.

 

Roswitha Wetschka
Originally from Vienna, Austria I am a Latin and Ballroom teacher and choreographer with more than 20 years’ experience supporting children and adults to dance. I am committed to inclusive dance having supported people with different needs to enjoy dance whatever their goal – whether social, to perform, pass exams and compete. I love interacting with people and my knowledge of dance technique, body, mind and movement informs my creative and fun-focused teaching approach.
 

 

I have a Master degree in Psychology and am a Licentiate member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, UK. I am also former European Champion in Latin American Dances, Women Seniors.

 

Dance Practitioners: Beyond Ballroom
We know people enjoy learning a range of styles and different dances compliment each other. We have talented professionals in other dance forms including contemporary, street, jazz and musical theatre.

 

Laura Chiabolotti

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.

 

Shakti Gomez

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.
 

Ellen Hunter
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 the all-female hip-hop group Myself UK Dance Company.

 

Laura Jones
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. 

M
y 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.
  

Laura Powney

From a young age I have always been passionate about dance and the joy it brings to others. I began training in modern and classical styles from the age of three. I then went on to study at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where I trained in dance and musical theatre. As a teenager I discovered Hip Hop Dance which motivated me to study a BA (Hons) degree in Dance. In my final year I volunteered in Ghana and studied the impact of community dance. This is when I first experienced the importance of making dance accessible to everyone and this inspired me to pursue a career in teaching.

 

I have been involved in a number of different inclusive dance projects, supporting people with different physical and intellectual disabilities.  As a dance professional I have performed at a variety of high profile events including the Queen’s Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, Breakin’ Convention at Sadlers Wells, ITV Olivier Awards, and Britain’s Got Talent. 

 

Freya Spencer
After studying musica theathre 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 including Illuminate Freedom, ActOne ArtsBase, Stopgap Dance Company and Young Dancers Foundation.  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. 

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