Jacob found his groove through our dance workshops

Now in his second year at Sense College, Jacob is exploring the world of dance through our arts programme. In these sessions, he’s able to build energy, confidence and a love of music and movement. His tutor, Gill, shares his journey.

Jacob is 19 years old and attends the Sense College in Loughborough. He’s an absolute star – a real joy to work with! For Jacob, who has a severe learning disability and ADHD, college is a place for him to start building independence.

Since joining the dance programme, we’ve seen so many positive changes in Jacob. It’s not just that he’s super smiley now, but he’s better able to embrace new experiences. He carries the positive influence of the dance workshop with him throughout the week; he’s just opening up more and more. 

A young man is sitting with his arms raised gently in front of him.
Jacob in a sensory workshop at Loughborough, enjoying the music.

Taking steps at his own pace

He started doing the weekly sessions last year, working with two local dance artists Meera and Amber. At first, Jacob wouldn’t interact or make eye contact them, preferring just to sit quietly. We didn’t put any pressure on him to join in but, over time, he has.

It was a gradual process, taken at his own pace, of relaxing into the movements and letting himself be led by the music, and then by the instructors. 

Now, his eyes light up in every session! He likes to laugh and clap when he’s happy, which we’re seeing much more of now. Jacob’s also becoming more comfortable interacting with the facilitators. They’ve been working with him to explore rhythm in new ways, trying out new movements with his body and allowing himself to take up more space in the dance studio.

A young man with glasses sits quietly.
Jacob sitting enjoying the music in his sensory College class.

He’s no longer an observer, he plays an active role. He makes eye contact with people in the space, mimicking their movements in a shared dance.

He’s found his groove

Outside of the workshop, he’s become a more sociable and open-minded young man. We can see how the group dance compliments his education programme and has given him confidence, in himself and in other people. Now he enjoys interactions with his peers more and is better at engaging with unfamiliar adults around the college and in his day-to-day life.

His parents are so pleased with the progress he’s made. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to join us for another year to keep up the amazing work!

Jacob is a real fan of music and is more ready for music sessions than we’ve seen him before. All of these wonderful improvements stem from the dance sessions – now that he’s found his groove, he won’t lose it.

No matter how you like to move, dance is for everyone! 

Dance helps to improve physical skills such as mobility, balance, flexibility and coordination. It also has a positive impact on interpersonal skills such as trust, confidence and communication.