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“Who says we can’t dance beautifully?” Goz and Lloyd’s story

An exciting campaign from Activity Alliance is calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport and asks – who says? Today we hear from dancers Goz and Lloyd, who feature in the campaign films.

Goz and Lloyd dancing

For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. Activity Alliance wants to move the conversations on, open people’s minds and shift out-dated views on disability. Who says? gives positive evidence, resources and guidance to replace these negative ideas.

Who says? gives positive evidence, resources and guidance to replace these negative ideas. The campaign films focus on six key perceptions from the charity's recent research. Each film provides upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people.

Goz and Lloyd's story

Who Says we can’t dance beautifully?

Goz and Lloyd have been dancing with each other for three years now. They practise at the Strictly Wheels Foundation in Manchester.

They both recall how they met:

Goz: “Lloyd and I met through work four years ago. Lloyd was my runner on a programme that I worked on. He thought I was scary and apparently thought I wouldn’t like him.”

Lloyd: “Now hang on, we both have quite big personalities so I just thought we wouldn’t get on. Next thing you know we have to travel to Bournemouth for work and stay in hotels – so we started working quite closely together and we have been friends ever since.”

More often than not disabled people are looking for opportunities, which appeal to their non-disabled friends and family. This is why Goz and Lloyd love dancing together.

Lloyd: “After I finished working with Goz, she reached out to me and asked If I would be her dance partner. I love dancing with Goz because of how inclusive it is. Goz and I are very good friends but because of the way the world is there isn’t an awful lot we can do together. With dancing, all we have to do is get Goz in her dance chair and off we go. Dance allows us to do something really fun together, plus it is good for the soul.”

Goz: “We have come across people being surprised that we dance together, and then ask how do we dance together. A few people can’t get their head around that dancing with each other can be done. It’s the perception that things can only be done one way, but there are several ways it can be done.”

Lloyd: “We have also had a few comments from people saying how dance is meant to be beautiful and elegant and that if Goz and I dance together it’s not. That’s one perception that really annoys me. But when people see Goz and I dance together they realise that it is still beautiful.”

Activity Alliance’s who says? campaign empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others’ perceptions. Goz and Lloyd explain why this is so important.

Goz: “In order for society to be more inclusive we need to change people’s perceptions. Disabled people are not just this one dimensional person who’s disabled – we can do anything we want to.”

Lloyd: “I agree, it’s important for people to know that some disabled people do want to be active, and do things at a competitive level. Goz and I have a very good friendship, she doesn’t judge me and she’s there to listen. She’s that rock for me. Focussing on people’s perceptions of disabled people, just being with Goz and spending more time with her has made me realise exactly what she can do. She’s very competitive – we both are – and she’s a great dancer.”

We are proud to be a part of Activity Alliance’s who says? campaign. Please visit the campaign page to watch the films and find out how you can call time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport.

Para Dance UK is a charity and the national governing body for Para Dance Sport in the UK. The aim is to develop and promote dance as a sport and an inclusive leisure activity across the country. Find out more about the Strictly Wheels Foundation, please visit www.strictlywheels.co.uk.