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Fact sheets and legal compliance info
LC2. Equality Act 2010
Date Posted: 15 August 2016
In 2010 the UK Government revised the existing legislation on equality of opportunity. The 2010 Act identifies nine ‘protected characteristics’.
In 2010 the UK Government revised the existing legislation on equality of opportunity. The 2010 Act identifies nine ‘protected characteristics’
  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation.
This means that it is illegal to discriminate against anyone or treat them less favourable on the grounds of the characteristics listed above.

The Act requires reasonable steps to be taken to enable disabled people to participate in services or have access to buildings and resources.

The legislation allows for positive action to be taken that will enable anyone identifying with one or more of the protected characteristics to access services. So, for example, the Act allows for the creation of specific groups, such as a group for people with disabilities or a pregnant women’s dance group, in cases where it could be shown that members of these groups would not participate in the activity if an exclusive group was not created specifically for them.

In order to avoid being discriminatory, dance practitioners need to examine their own assumptions and attitudes as prejudice and discrimination are often perpetuated inadvertently. Practitioners should pay particular attention to the way they use descriptive language and the activities they allocate to members of a group. Are the girls in the dance class expected to wear pink and do light, floating actions whilst the boys wear darker colours and do sharp actions with contained energy?

Can adaptions be made to material that enable everyone to contribute and participate? People Dancing have produced a series of films (see ‘film’ selection below) that provide good examples of inclusive practice.

The dance sector has a good track record of inclusive practice, with dance organisations like Salamanda Tandem, Candoco, StopGAP, having developed practice over decades. Thinking about inclusion and the adaption of material may mean that we need to think in new ways. Here is a definition for inclusion and adaption:

“to provide the same or equally positive sensation rather than reproduce the same visual form and aesthetic outcome. Encouraging students to identify what an exercise is for, recognise that the information is the same even if the felt sensation and physical outcome is different for each individual dancer, based as it is on each individual dancer’s body.”
Whatley, S 2007

Further reading

  • Aujula, I & Redding, E, Barriers to Dance Training for Young People With Disabilities; Dance 4 CAT, CandoCo Dance Company, ADAPT, Accessing Dance and Performance Training, unpublished document, Inset for Urdang Academy, January 2008 by Susie Cox (Candoco Course Director for the Foundation Course for Disabled Dancers
  • Hills, P 2003, It’s Your Move! An Inclusive Approach to Dance, Birmingham, The Questions Publishing Company
  • Jones, I, 201, Dance and Disabled People, Pathway to practice for Dance Leaders working with Disabled People, London, People Dancing – the Foundation for Community Dance
  • Sanders, L (Ed) Shaping Practice: Dance Teaching and Learning, London, Youth Dance England
  • Scott, S. (2005) Reflectors: Experiences of co-mentoring within dance and disability, Leicester: Foundation for Community Dance
  • Toole, D. (2002) ‘A personal view’, Animated. Summer, 8-9
  • Whatley, S 2007 Dance and Disability: The Dancer, the Viewer and the Presumption of Difference, Research in Dance Education.



Further information

The Equality and Human Rights Commission website