Anjali Dance Company celebrates through dance the creative potential of people with learning disabilities. We are committed to challenging preconceptions about who can dance, and demonstrating new artistic possibilities by creating dance works of excellence which are performed by dancers with learning disabilities. We also provide education and outreach programmes which are taught by our unique education team of teachers with learning disabilities. Through our innovative and pioneering work, we engage the professional dance community in a debate on fundamental issues about aesthetics, form, purpose and inclusion.
Anjali empowers learning-disabled dancers as creative artists by actively supporting and promoting their artistic development. We demonstrate the extraordinary and previously unsuspected talents and creative abilities of people with learning disabilities. Anjali was one of the first dance companies in the world to provide a framework in which people with learning disabilities could train to achieve their highest potential, both as performers and teachers.
Anjali’s artistic work has its roots in contemporary dance, with strong elements of other art forms such as physical theatre and film. Original works by world-class choreographers and in-house pieces are presented with high production values. Anjali’s dancers are central to the choreographic process, and choreographers are chosen who will question their practice and be open to new ways of working. Anjali’s choreographers are committed to pushing the boundaries of dance and the way it is presented.
Nicole Thomson, Anjali’s founder, believed that a powerful new quality could emerge from a company of people with learning disabilities. Anjali’s work questions traditional aesthetics and form in a way that has not happened before, and changes perceptions about what dance is and who can do it. Anjali’s dancers are treated with respect as artists who happen to have learning disabilities, not as people with learning disabilities who happen to dance.
We are privileged to have been able to nurture and develop the extraordinary skill and artistic power of the learning-disabled artists we have worked with. Our dancers have spontaneously developed an entirely new performing style that is unguarded, elegant, humorous, truthful and bold, and they inspire and astonish audiences in the UK and abroad wherever they perform. By devising and touring dance work of the highest standard, we demonstrate an engaging and challenging aesthetic that brings a new dimension to contemporary dance.
Anjali’s aims are:
- To create original dance work of artistic distinction which is performed by dancers with learning disabilities.
- To encourage and enable people with learning disabilities to train and achieve excellence.
- To initiate and develop new possibilities in dance.
- To present exciting, challenging and inspiring new performances of contemporary dance to the widest possible audiences.
- To encourage the integration and inclusion of people with learning disabilities in dance and in society.
- To challenge society’s prejudices and preconceptions.
- To provide positive role models for other people with learning disabilities.
- To advocate, inform and contribute to debates about disability dance.
- To raise the profile of work by dancers with learning disabilities and of Anjali Dance Company by touring nationally and internationally.
- To seek to be a model of good practice in managing, portraying and promoting disabled dance.