“Building Back Better” is the theme for this year’s International Day of People with Disability, celebrated on Thursday December 3rd. The ultimate focus is for a “disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World.”
Bellingen’s Kylie Selig (pictured above on right) has spent the bulk of her adult life advocating for just that- inclusion and a fair go for everyone. Kylie has worked for years on a volunteer basis with a vast array of community services and groups. “I’ve been volunteering for ever,” says Kylie. This has exposed her to the injustices in traditional disability support, often resulting in undue stress for those in the system.
“The system can be too difficult to navigate for those with a disability. Insufficient government funding to disability services has resulted in too few workers. It is the users who suffer,” says Kylie.
This realisation motivated Kylie to establish ‘North Coast CARE Support’- Community Access To Recreational Engagement. “This business now allows me to formally advocate on behalf of those living with a disability. Inclusivity can only be achieved through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability.”
It was the ethos of inclusivity that attracted Kylie to volunteer her time at Bellingen’s ‘All 4 Dance’ more than five years ago. “I was looking for a non competitive, fun and affordable dance class for my daughter Sophiea,” says Kylie.
The original ‘All 4 Dance’ was established in Queensland many years ago by dance teacher Michelle Warman (pictured above on left) as a means of providing affordable dance classes within the financial reach of most families. Her sister Rebecca then established an ‘All 4 Dance’ in Bellingen more than six years ago.
Today Kylie actually runs the dance school each Wednesday afternoon at the Bello Youth Hub and Michelle, (also a disability support worker), is the dance teacher. As expected, Kylie has expanded the very definition of ‘All 4 Dance’ to literally be for every child, including those with a disability. “Everybody should be able to dance and have fun doing it,” says Kylie.
“The classes are very open and organic, with an absence of the strict discipline that is often associated with dance schools. We incorporate talk about how we want to be in the world and how we treat others. I see my role as holding the space and being familiar with all of the kids involved. In this way I’m able to pick up on each child’s needs and moods on any particular day and steer the children toward true mutual acceptance,” says Kylie.
Older students, including Sophiea now 11 years old, are encouraged to help with choreography. Children who would traditionally be unable to join a dance class due to behavioural or intellectual issues are welcomed with open arms. “We are all great here, we are all a part of this. There is no room for competitiveness,” says Kylie.
Despite the official name remaining ‘All 4 Dance’, Kylie affectionately refers to the dance school as “Dance 4 Life”. “In a perfect world the ethos and philosophy underpinning what we are doing in these classes would be mirrored throughout all of life. That is my dream,” she says.
For more information about All 4 Dance contact Kylie at…. Phone: 0408178585
Email: [email protected]