16 October 2019 10:20

RAD Students act as ‘buddies’ to encourage dance for every body

RAD students from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) have been working on a pilot research project which explores dance for children with Austism Spectrum Disorder.

The research being conducted by AllPlay Dance is a world-first initiative from Deakin University, that aims to create new pathways for children with developmental challenges/disabilities so they can play, learn, dance, and connect with the community. The AllPlay Dance team has undertaken a range of programs including the development of digital dance resources and community dance pilot programs and has developed partnerships with several peak bodies including Queensland Ballet, New York City Ballet, UCLA, Ausdance, Giant Steps, VCASS, MECCA, Emilio and Grace Foundation.

Dr Olivia Millard who has been conducting the research alongside Professor Nicole Reinhart at Deakin University said

“AllPlay Dance practical pilot research projects completed or currently being undertaken are with children with Cerebral Palsy (2018) in partnership with Queensland Ballet, and with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2019). A key part of our program has been working with experienced dance students who have acted as “buddies” for younger children in the program. The buddies have had a significant effect in the program and have also reported personal benefits, particularly including an increased understanding of the experience of living with disability and how dance can be enjoyed by all children.”

Several current and past buddies have been students of the RAD including: Milei Lee (pictured); Lucinda Mann; Morgan Renolds; Jessica Smart; Hannah Lukey (all students at VCASS). We are thrilled to hear these students are putting their RAD training to good use and inspiring others to dance!

Dr Millard and Professor Reinhart will be presenting this research at our 2020 conference “Shaping Bodies, Shaping Minds’ in Melbourne in January.