FOUR dancers and a cello player are the only people on stage for a mesmerising performance that couldn't be more appropriate for Indepen-dance 4.


The piece may challenge the dancers but also showcases perfectly their talent and the work done by the inclusive dance company.

"It is an incredible piece of work, it has some beautiful moments in it," says Indepen-dance artistic director Karen Anderson. "It has been choreographed by Christine Devaney of Curious Seed, one of the best in Scotland, who took on board the dancers' opinions and involved them in the work.

"Having live music on stage, and the cellist interacting with the dancers, is quite special. The dancers have fallen in love with the cello and the two boys call it Cecilia - she is going on tour with them."

Indepen-dance 4 is an ensemble of four young dancers - Hayley Earlam, Adam Sloan, Kelly McCartney and Neil Price - from Glasgow's Briggait-based company. They are touring Scotland with a triple bill of work, including the Some of the Moments We Haven't Forgotten choreographed by Christine with music composed and performed live by cellist Robin Mason.

"Indepen-dance 4 was a bit of an experiment. The root of it came from trying to develop something - and the disabled individuals within the organisation - to really hone their skills," says Karen.

"Because of their disability they would have been excluded from mainstream training. They wouldn't have passed an audition. That might be a big sweeping statement but it probably is quite likely because they wouldn't have had any previous training, so they would have been on the backfoot right away."

Adam and Neil are the two disabled dancers on the tour, which visits Mull and Oban as well as dates, from March 25, at the Scottish Youth Theatre, Platform Easterhouse, Paisley Arts Centre, East Kilbride's Village Theatre and Cumbernauld Theatre.

The work of Lucy Bennett and Chris Pavia of Stopgap Dance Company, choreographers of Goldfish, may prove inspirational to the boys. Just like Chris, one of the longest-standing members of Stopgap, Adam and Neil both have Down's Syndrome.

"Chris was a great role model because he is more experienced than Adam and Neil," says Karen. "They're probably about the same age but has really encouraged the boys now to look at their future in dance and how they want to create their own work.

"I think it gave them some confidence to think, 'One day I want to be like this.

"That piece is really fun, it's very ethereal. When we have shown it and there have been young audience members the kids have really got it."

The other two taking part in the tour are Glasgow-based dancers Kelly and Kayley.

Meanwhile, the final piece Drifting is by deaf director Ramesh Meyyappan and tells the story of how a family is affected when a child slips into a coma.

" For us it was really interesting working with a deaf person who works with a musician, David Paul Jones," explains Karen. "Ramesh can't hear the music but he really trusts David. He can't hear it but he seems to have this innate trust in David to create music for his work."

Making dances accessible to people of all ages and abilities has been a life-long mission for Karen, who set up Indepen-dance 19 years ago.

Just 12 people came along to her first class in Glasgow , now 350 people a week across the country access the company's classes from its core programme.

"I'm not saying it's a human right but I think dance should be available to people with all different abilities just because of the way it makes you feel: it's enjoyable to do, it gives you a feeling of wellbeing, and it can support self-confidence and self-esteem," says Karen.

"If we enable people to access these benefits then we're creating a fairer society and everyone can be part of something.

"Really what Indepen-dance is doing is enabling people with disabilities to be actively part of their own community. It just so happens that they're taking part in a dance activity, but people with that feel much less socially isolated, they can make friends.

"We want people to come and see the tour but we also want to let them know we're here. When you look at these guys you might think, 'I could never do that'. I want people to make sure they know that they can come into us at any age and any ability."

To find out about classes or performances of Indepen-dance 4 around the West of Scotland, from March 25, visit