AllPlay Dance: two pilot dance projects for children with disability, developed and assessed with a dance studies approach

Olivia Millard, Ebony Lindor, Nicole Papadopoulos, Carmel Sivaratnam, Jane McGillivray, Nicole Rinehart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


AllPlay Dance is founded on a collaborative approach to research between the School of Psychology and the School of Communication of Creative Arts, both of Deakin University. The research is also undertaken in partnership with professional ballet company, Queensland Ballet. This paper describes the development and execution of two pilot projects for children with disability, utilizing a dance studies methodology. The projects were conducted in 2018 and 2019 for children with cerebral palsy (CP) and autism spectrum disorder, as part of the AllPlay Dance program. Participants with disabilities ranged in age from 7 to 12 years. As well as describing the approach to the program development, we discuss the involvement of older and more experienced buddies who were included as a method to support the participation in dance of children with disabilities. We will also describe the diffusion of authorship in the making of group dances as a tool for inclusion and the premise of dance as a social practice in which participants inter-subjectively generate meaning and sense making. The AllPlay Dance projects were developed as a series of dance classes in which participants worked with set or learned movement material, dance improvisation, and tasks for movement generation in order to collectively generate a dance for performance. This paper focuses on the aim of developing inclusive approaches to dance classes that challenge “ableist” notions of dance as spectacle to enable to work toward building transferable programs to allow all children who so desire and to participate in dance in their communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number567055
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2021


  • creative
  • dance
  • disability
  • inclusion
  • participation
  • social

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