Black Country Dance Hub special school project

FRONTLINEdance were invited by The Black Country Dance Hub (BCDH) to deliver a dance performance project for Special Schools and SEN departments in Sandwell, Dudley, Wolverhampton & Walsall. Our dance artists worked in 16 schools to create a short dance piece with the young dancers. We worked with a wide range of ages and disabilities, and film maker Matt Beckett from Rivera Films filmed the work:

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<p><a href=”″>Dance = Limitless Value</a> from <a href=””>River Rea Films</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>


Breakthrou’aDvANCE member’s perform, choreograph, support in the delivery of our workshops, and sometimes perform with our professional performance team. It’s open to disabled and non-disabled people. 

All members are committed to working at an advance level, and dancers must audition for a place in the group. They not only create their own work and perform in each others choreography, but they are taught the health & safety aspects of being a dancer too. Contemporary dance technique classes are taught, and the members create their own warm ups and cool down. Assisting in FRONTLINEdance workshops is part of being a member of this group, and leaderships skills are also introduced. Some members now team-teach parts of our sessions, and some have become paid members of staff.  

FRONTLINEdance regular sign post the group to other possible training opportunities, workshops, job opportunities and to volunteering.

FRONTLINEdance also deliver our successful TRANSCEND programme as an additional / alternative route.

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Access Routes into dance

Elevate funding from Arts Council England and a grant for Esmee Fairbairn has meant that we are now able to stream line our community classes.

We run session for a variety of needs and disabilities and accommodate everyone – making us fully inclusive. This also means that we can encourage those with a natural flare and enthusiasm for dance to train and take their next steps towards developing towards a career in dance.

For more info about our streamlined classes visit COMMUNITY or get in touch.

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Easy Fundraising

Sign up to Easy Fundraising – at no cost to you, and every time you shop online you will raise funds for FRONTLINEdance

Past fundraising:

Help us reach our target: A NEW ARTS FESTIVAL FOR STOKE-on-TRENT

We’re busy trying to fundraise for a new Disability Arts Festival that FRONTLINEdance will programme and lead, to take place in October 2019. It will have two strands: work made or performed by professional disabled artists, and bringing specially created art work and performances for hard to reach disabled communities (those who struggle with access, suitability, desire in attending).

We have already attracted some great partners, but would love for more to join us. If you are an organisation, venue, support group or charity who are wanting to support us, have your voice heard, or just want to take part then please get in touch 

Thanks to Appetite and Stoke-on-Trent City Council via their Community Arts Festival and Event Fund we’ve secured £3,000 so far. FRONTLINEdance are applying to grant giving bodies for the majority, but are looking at securing an addition £2,000 from other sources. This is to make sure our festival reaches PMLD groups: people with ‘Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties’ (PMLD) have complex learning needs. In addition to their severe learning difficulties, they may have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition.

More info to follow, but you can make a donation to this exciting and special cause here:


Find out what it’s like to be a member of Breakthrou’dance in a series of interviews with our Breakthrou’ community dancers and please contact us for more information. First up we hear from Alice who attends our Youth Group.

Why do you come to Breakthrou’dance?
I enjoy the dance routines and Rachael’s choreography. I love seeing my friends.

What is your favourite thing about it?
Seeing all my friends and getting together. I like learning new dance routines and like contemporary dance.

What type of things do you do?
We work as partners or in a group and do a warm up. We learn dances and sometimes do our own choreography.

How long have you been coming?
Two years

How would you describe it to others?
It’s great! It gets you going, it’s good fun and good exercise. It motivates you and you learn your style of dance.

Can you talk about how you feel when you perform?
It makes me happy. I feel comfortable performing in front of people and I find it enjoyable.

What have others said about your performances?
They say that naturally I’m a really good dancer.

Mike King

Mike King co-founded FRONTLINEdance alongside Rachael. He started dancing in the Yorkshire Dales back in the early 80’s but chose a career as an Outdoor Pursuits instructor and cave explorer. A climbing accident meant a big change. Now a wheelchair user, Mike re-evaluated his values and priorities. After a year of doing this, Mike attended a summer school with Candoco in which he loved, and shortly afterwards secured a Grant from Arts Council England for work shadowing the company. He later joined Candoco’s education team as an assistant.

During the summer residency Mike also met Rachael and shortly afterwards FRONTLINEdance began. During this time, Mike also enrolled on a PGCE at Aberystwyth to start a teaching career.

He later worked as a performer with Blue Eyed Soul on Frankenstein, directed by Liam Steel (formally DV8), Ariel projects with the Flying Piglets in New Zealand, an inclusive performance project with Scottish Dance Theatre, directed a show for Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and created a duet with Michal Popper.

Graeae Theatre in conjunction with London Metropolitan University offered Mike a place on their Missing Piece Project – an acting course with a mini- tour at the end. This led to a TIE piece with Graeae around East-End of London Schools. When that tour finished he combined working as a drama teacher in a secondary school and work with FRONTLINEdance.

Mike is currently a full time Drama teacher in a mainstream State Secondary in Kent delivering GCSE and A Level. When not working, Mike can usually be found on, in, or around water; Canoeing /Fishing / Swimming / Sailing.

Mike believes that FRONTLINEdance gave him the foundation – confidence / knowledge/ professional work ethic /artistic integrity to allow him to re-invent myself (find his true calling as a teacher).

Paul Henshall

Paul trained at Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre and works in Theatre, Radio and TV.

His TV credits include; Dr Dean West: Holby City, Paul Ball: I’m With Stupid, Michael Scant: A Thing Called Love, Ollie Beresford: Casualty, David Hobbs: Playing the Field, all for BBC. Prankster: Off Their Rockers – Blue Badge Special, ITV

Paul was the first disabled person in the country to gain a qualification in stage combat from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat, and in 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Staffordshire University for services to acting and the promotion of disabled actors.

Paul is also a trained and registered Hypnotist, specialising in confidence, stage fright and phobias, and also performs comedy stage hypnosis shows. Find out more at

Paul joined FRONTLINEdance as a trainee back in 2001 for our IGNITE! Project. He then joined the main cast for ‘A Table for One Please’ and danced for us on our INCLUSION education tours.