Learning Disabilities & Autism Real Lives Showcase

Local charity announces celebrity ambassador

DanceSyndrome Team and Giovanni Pernice

Lancashire based inclusive Arts charity DanceSyndrome have announced that Italian professional dancer Giovanni Pernice has joined them in an Ambassador role as revealed last night at the charity’s 10th birthday event at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

The DanceSyndrome team first met Giovanni at Plungington Community Centre, Preston, in June 2022 when he surprised them during filming for the Channel 4 TV lifestyle show Steph’s Packed Lunch. Giovanni spent the whole day with the dancers and was impressed by the inclusive dance setting that the charity had created. Later in 2022, he approached them about the possibility of an Ambassador role with DanceSyndrome.

DanceSyndrome is a multi-award-winning dance charity that was founded by Jen Blackwell, who has Down’s syndrome. The charity was formed because Jen found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance that were accessible to people with learning disabilities. DanceSyndrome’s ethos is that disability should never be a barrier to following your dreams. All DanceSyndrome sessions are co-led by people with learning disabilities, who take visible Dance Leader roles to inspire people to see what can be achieved when we all become more inclusive. The charity offers inclusive dance workshops and leadership training both in communities across the North West and online via Zoom.

Giovanni learned about the importance of inclusion in dance while dancing with Rose Ayling-Ellis, who is deaf, in Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 and is determined to do more to raise the profile of inclusive dance through his charitable roles.

The Ambassador role will mean that Giovanni promotes the work of DanceSyndrome on his social media as well as attending events, providing exclusive gifts for fundraising prizes and generating funds for their work through appearances on charitable TV shows.

Giovanni said, “DanceSyndrome’s sessions are exactly what dance is about, having fun and enjoying yourself. Dancing is a way to express yourself using music and everybody has to be allowed to do that, no matter what. DanceSyndrome is a beautiful group. I loved meeting everyone. Together they show that, whatever your ability, anyone can and should share in the passion for dancing. I love this message and am proud to be an Ambassador for their incredible work.”

DanceSyndrome Managing Director Julie Nicholson said “Everyone at DanceSyndrome loved meeting Giovanni last year. He was so supportive and inclusive in the way that he worked with us, everyone felt really valued. The Dance Leader team was thrilled to hear that they had an equally significant impact on Giovanni too, and that he wanted to do more to support our work. Obviously, as a small charity we need a lot of support with fundraising and increasing our profile, but this means so much more to us. Many of our dancers with learning disabilities have faced barriers when trying to access mainstream dance, so it is a real boost for them to meet such a high-profile professional dancer who understands the quality and value of our work. We can’t wait to see where this partnership takes us!”

You can find out more about the work that DanceSyndrome does at www.dancesyndrome.co.uk


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