Dance of specially-abled kids transforms Cubbon Park

Dance of specially-abled kids transforms Cubbon Park

Best foot forward

HELPING HAND: A dance instructor trains children with disabilities to dance at Cubbon Park.

For a group of specially-abled children, Cubbon Park transforms into a stage every Sunday to display their talents. Matching their steps to the beats of Bhangra and Hip-hop, over 30 children and others with various disabilities dance alongside volunteers to promote inclusiveness.

The dance sessions were started as part of an initiative by two brothers who plan to set up an inclusive dance school for the deaf and the visually impaired. Vishnu and Vishal Soman have also set up India’s only annual inclusive dance festival titled ‘Taandav’ for children and persons with disabilities which is being hosted in the city for the last five years. 

Vishnu, who has been a volunteer with Enable India, wanted to provide an inclusive platform for persons with disabilities to showcase their potential. This inspired him to set up Smileys India that brings together volunteers and persons with disabilities to showcase their talent through the medium of dance, art, culture and sports.

Vishnu said, “When you dance, you set aside your ego and dance without inhibitions. It also helps in bringing people together through their love for dance and thus Taandav was born.”

Vishal, a photographer, says that he was inspired by his brother.

The Soman brothers found through the dance sessions that it also helped in boosting the confidence of the persons with disabilities to a large extent and also helped in improving their coordination skills.

The ‘Attam Inclusive dance troupe’ which meets for practice in Cubbon Park comprises of volunteers with various disabilities who learn and practice various dance forms like Bhangra, Bollywood and Dappan Koothu, a folk dance from Tamil Nadu.

The volunteer dance facilitators of Smileys India also conduct regular dance classes for the visually impaired and the deaf children at various non government organisations in the city.

Vishnu said, “Taandav is the only dance festival in the country where people who cannot see, hear or speak learn and perform various dance forms,”

The Taandav festival which is set to take place on December 16 aims at celebrating the spirit of dance with people from all walks of life.

The participants include children from children homes, persons with hearing disabilities, visual impairment, limited mobility and those with cerebral palsy and autism who will dance alongside their facilitators and volunteers.