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> > > Unique Wheelchair Dance project awarded London 2012 Inspire mark

5 March 2012

photo of a line of female wheelchair-users dressed in colourful costumes

(L to R) Mandy Colleran, Julie Newman, Nickie Wildin, Sophie Partridge, Ju Gosling, Taharah Azam, Sonali Shah, Alex Cowan, Janet Bell and fiddler Laurel Swift.

Folk in Motion, a unique new folk dance project for wheelchair users, has been granted the Inspire mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme. The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Working with the support of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), Folk in Motion takes traditional English dances dating back to the 17th century and adapts them for wheelchair users. ‘Playford’ dances are based on intricate geometric patterns, and the dancers follow the motion paths at the heart of the choreography. Participants have named this ‘wolk’.

Project creator Ju Gosling, who is based in the host borough of Newham, said:

“We believe that dance is for everyone. With no body movements required, 'wolk' is open to all wheelchair users including people who need to be pushed. Forming a 'wolk' team is also a great way to have fun and make friends.”

Wheelchair dance sport is recognised by the Paralympic Committee, although it is not included within the 2012 Games. However, there are currently fewer than 15 official wheelchair dance sport clubs in the UK, compared to more than ten times that number in the Netherlands. With no need for a trained teacher, Folk in Motion provides a complete downloadable set of resources for groups and schools to use. 'Wolk' forms a bridge into other wheelchair dance forms too.

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said:

"Folk in Motion is encouraging disabled people to fulfil their potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as Folk in Motion and the English Folk Dance and Song Society, we are delivering our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in wheelchair dance."

In 2012, the Folk in Motion team are available for demonstrations as well as to lead workshops and participatory performances, and in 2013 the company plan a tour of folk festivals. Choreography and calling sheets, music, scores and teaching videos can be downloaded from www.folkinmotion.co.uk where there are also images and more details about the project as well as video footage of the Folk in Motion team.

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