Step Change Studios
1226. Rashmi Becker
Rashmi Becker, from London, is the founder of ‘Step Change Studios’, a dance company committed to making dance accessible for all.
As a child, Rashmi saw first-hand how dancing helped her older brother, who has autism and learning disabilities, communicate, express himself and improve his coordination. Inspired to help others access the world of dance, Rashmi’s work has supported almost two thousand children and adults with disabilities to dance, many for the first time. The sessions take place in a wide range of locations including social care, healthcare, education and community settings. Although predominantly based in London, Rashmi has also established national programmes and set up innovative projects such as the UK’s first dedicated ballroom dance programme for people with sight loss.
In a personal letter to Rashmi, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Step Change Studios’, you are ensuring that everyone who wants to enjoy dance is able to. Your work, inspired by your brother, is opening up the sport you love.”
“As the guardian to my older brother who has autism, I have long advocated the benefits of physical activity on health and wellbeing. Through Step Change Studios I have been able to bring together my passion for dance and commitment to creating more opportunities for disabled people to be active. It is hugely rewarding to support people in our community to enjoy dance. Working with care homes, hospitals, schools, and a wide range of charities and partners, it is amazing to constantly see the impact of dance on people’s quality of life and their belief in their own abilities. As well as community dance, I also create platforms that showcase professional talent as there are so many disabled dancers who with the right support and opportunity can flourish. Disabled people and their families are often confronted with information about what they cannot do and the risks. We focus on people’s potential and pushing beyond boundaries – real or perceived. It is an honour to be recognised by the Prime Minister for my work through Step Change Studios and efforts to create a more diverse dance sector. I share this award with everyone that has been a part of this effort – students, practitioners, partners, supporters. Change comes through collaboration and I am grateful to have the support and encouragement of such wonderful people. Thank you.”
Watch how Step Change Studios makes a difference in promoting accessibility in dance:
Main picture above: Rashmi (in centre, in black dress) with dancers from a recent inclusive dance production at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (credit Stephen Wright)