Dance helps Becky Rich beat lockdown blues
Ask Becky Rich what dancing means to her and she doesn’t hold back. She said, “It’s everything, absolutely everything.”
The 29-year-old from Preston describes her friends at DanceSyndrome – an inclusive dance company founded in 2009 and funded by The National Lottery – as her ‘dance family’. For a young woman whose life hasn’t always been easy – she has Down’s syndrome and had major surgery at the age of 5 months to correct a serious heart condition – it has helped her stay fit and positive, make friends and build her confidence.
Since joining DanceSyndrome, she has become its ambassador, giving inspiring talks at universities and town halls across the country.
When DanceSyndrome’s weekly Everybody Dance sessions were suspended as a result of the coronavirus, Becky and the rest of the company were faced with the sudden loss of their greatest passion.
Fortunately, DanceSyndrome rose swiftly to the challenge. Its team of Dance Artists began making videos of themselves leading dance classes which were posted on YouTube and the DanceSyndrome website, allowing company members to join a class at home. Within weeks the videos were supplemented by Zoom sessions enabling Becky and the other dancers to collaborate with each other as well as dancers in other parts of the country.
Becky said, “The Zoom sessions have just been fantastic. They allow me to be with my dancing family and many other people as well. We’ve done some brilliant projects.”
They include taking part in a dance project organised by the award-winning choreographer Joss Arnott and creating a video for #MakeItBlue, a campaign thanking NHS workers for their efforts during the lockdown.
She said, “You have to stay strong at times like this and I’m lucky that I’m extremely positive.”
Becky’s father Simon, 64, confirms that his daughter is indefatigable. Indeed she has been helping others cope with the stresses of the lockdown.
Simon said, “On the Zoom sessions, there have been one or two people who have admitted they’re really finding it difficult. It’s great that people like Becky and others in the group are able to offer support and encouragement.”
Becky said, “It’s important that they’re OK. I look out for the people that I love.”
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28th July 2020
Please note, photos featured in this article were taken pre-covid-19 lockdown.
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