Dancers with learning disabilities choreograph their own work for public performance

To read on the Magpie Dance website:

Note: Learning disability in UK is the same thing than intellectual disability elsewhere.

Mentoring Programme

Our ground-breaking mentoring programme supports dancers with learning disabilities to choreograph their own work for public performance.  To date, nine adult Magpie dancers have participated in Magpie’s mentoring scheme.

David Smith is the latest Magpie dancer to complete a piece, entitled ‘On/Off line’, and have it performed on stage as part of  this exciting choreographic scheme.

David Nurse, mentor for this programme commented:

 « When working on the final section of the piece DS began to give ideas and directions to the dancers. It seemed, for the first time, that DS was choreographing in 3D. He was moving all of the dancers around at the same time, creating complex patterns for them to follow and, crucially, giving each dancer a complimentary movement/shape to the others rather than the same movement/shape. DS also generated a clear climax to the piece with all 3 dancers holding an end pose ».

Previous mentoring performance pieces have included ‘Reflections’ (2003) by Linda McCarthy, ‘Winds of Change’ (2003) by Karen Grandison, ‘Peter’s Hands’ (2005) by Peter Taylor, ‘Pathways’ (2006) by Linda McCarthy and Karen Grandison, ‘Passion’ (2009) by Hugh Willoughby and ‘Acquaintance’ (2009) by Kate Rosie, ‘Heaven‘ (2010) by Zoe Pearce.

As far as we know, Magpie Dance is the only company enabling people with learning disabilities to choreograph work for non-disabled dancers in the UK.

If you would like to help fund this inspiring scheme, please contact Jo Easingwood by emailing for details.


Participation, Performance, Training

Unlocking individual potential, at the forefront of dance for learning disabled people.

Bookings open for the next  term, beginning January 2014: Term Dates for the Youth Group, Adult Group, and Open adult community classes.



  • Performances across the region from Sadlers Wells to the Churchill Theatre.


Founded in 1986 by Artistic Director, Avril Hitman, Magpie Dance is a contemporary dance company for learning disabled people.

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