IRIS - Inclusive Teaching Syllabus

To nurture the disabled dancers of tomorrow

IRIS is an inclusive dance syllabus that gives teachers a framework to develop the disabled dancers of tomorrow. It is a consolidation of Stopgap's experience of training professional disabled dancers, and it contains tried and tested methods that the company has been developing since 1995.

IRIS is divided into four levels: Include, Respond, Integrate and Specialise, each having its own set exercises, guidelines and assessments. IRIS will give disabled children and young people the same level of structure, balance and rigour of dance education as their non-disabled peers and provide the opportunity to accumulate skills and experiences necessary for the professional industry.

A flow diagram of IRIS from Include to Specialise

Stopgap's teacher training courses and shadowing opportunities will support IRIS teachers to build their series of high quality and progressive dance classes. Please visit our teacher training page for more details.

Stopgap Dance Company will conduct assessments at each level at the student's own pace of progress.

IRIS uses a student-centred approach to learning. The syllabus enables teachers to respond to their students' aspirations, learning styles and physicality by having flexibility within set exercises. Within this flexibility, IRIS encourages dialogue between teachers and students to identify the students' needs and potential.

Although IRIS is designed with disabled children and young people in mind, its content is suitable for anyone who is pursuing dance seriously.

Stopgap and its partners have successfully completed a pilot of IRIS in November 2018, with the University of Bedfordshire publishing the evaluation report:

The results of this research project suggest that IRIS is an effective talent development programme for young disabled dancers. 

Download the full report here

Shorter version of the report will be launched soon

Stopgap would like to thank Paul Hamlyn Foundation for enabling the pilot phase and its evaluation and Artswork, Arts Council England and all the trusts and foundations who enabled us to run our youth companies to trial the syllabus. And thanks to all the teachers and practitioners who have supported us in articulating IRIS so far.