Dance, Inclusion

Dancers performing on a stage.

Changing Up The Routine

Hub Dance Team

When you think of dance, what springs to mind?

For a long time, dance fell purely into the ‘classical culture’ category for many. From ballroom to ballet, dance too often translated to a skill that is high-level, elite and extraordinarily competitive. The same could be said for a lot of sports, but that’s just the thing… do you class dance as a sport?

It may well be a subtle difference but for Emma Bouch, Independent Dance Artist, Dance Development Officer and Choreographer on the dance team at the Hub in Sleaford, it is a poignant one which has the potential to change how so many people access dance. And why.

“Over the last year, I’ve realised, people don’t see dance as a sport when really it is very physical,” she said. “It benefits our mental and physical health so much, that dance doesn’t have to be what the majority of people think it is. What it can do for people is so much more than those iconic, traditional dance forms. Providing an environment where people of all ages, living with all abilities can flourish is an incredible part of my job.

“Lincolnshire is quite saturated with dance schools, which is why we try to proactively be more of a community hub. It’s more about having that drive to be creative in the first place but channeling that creativity through dance. People feel so confident in dance, you can see it shining out of them. I want dance to be more, and I continue to push that message.

“The people who take part in our programmes are seeing dance in a whole new light, you can see that in them – that passion, that freedom – it takes hold. They are so invested, not just in learning but in how it emotionally affects them and makes them feel.”

The Hub Where Everyone Can Cut a Rug

photo – Scott Murray

Working with audiences across Lincolnshire, Emma and the dance team – based at the Hub in Sleaford, OneNK and Skellingthorpe Youth Centre – work across schools, the community and in care settings, to provide creative opportunities for participation and performance on a regular basis, ensuring a varied high-quality mix of contemporary offerings that are inclusive, accessible, affordable and always forward thinking.

Offering an incredibly diverse array of classes, accommodating all ages from tiny tots and teens to those with disabilities, Dementia and Parkinson’s, every dance and group class the Hub offers has inclusion, acceptance and celebration of movement – any movement – at its heart.

“The Hub Dance team offers endless encouragement and promotion to ensure their dance groups are inclusive. Every single member of the team works really hard to create safe and inclusive spaces for anyone to give dance a go”

Amy Jones* volunteer with Unify Junior Dance Class

Having seen first-hand the difference that Emma and the dance team have made to the lives of all of the children and young adults who attend classes at the Hub and the group’s other venues, Amy can attest to how each member is made to feel valued, supported, and included in dance decisions, contributing to the bigger picture and how pieces are created. But above all, it is the encouragement that has stuck with Amy, especially with a certain age group.

“Trying to engage teenage girls and boys to participate in anything is a huge task, especially when it comes to physical activity. The fact that the Hub dance team has successfully achieved this in many of their classes is a testament to their dedication and commitment to inclusion. The children and adults who come to the classes are not judged or made to feel in any way that they need to show their worth, they are welcomed and encouraged and praised.”

For around two decades, the Hub team has been working to run these classes, giving everyone within their community a much-needed dose of confidence and encouragement – after all, no matter who you are, how you can move and why you choose to do it, a boost of confidence and encouragement is always welcome.

Hot Footing it into 2024

As for what’s next, well… Watch this space is the message from the Hub. As we look to 2024, there’s the possibility of an even bigger Unify Dance Festival as funding is being explored to grow the legacy. Additional classes and a continued drive to support both freelance teachers and graduates emerging from the groups themselves, retaining talent and feeding the demand for inclusive dance across Lincolnshire. Oh, and a possible award win…

“We recently found out that we’ve been nominated for a One Dance UK Award. As the UK’s dance organisation and agency – our guiding body for dance – it’s a really exciting opportunity to carry through into the new year. We find out in the spring – wish us luck!”

Get Involved

Who: Dance at the Hub

WHERE: The Hub, Sleaford; OneNK; and Skellingthorpe Youth Centre.


*Amy Jones is a pseudonym given to the volunteer in question.