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Blog - Step Change Studios

Staying Active Has Been the Key to Staying Sane


My name is Grace Roach I have had sight loss and multiple disabilities since my late teens following an accident.

I have never let this hold me back from what I have wanted to achieve in life. Sometimes my disabilities have had an impact on me doubting myself and asking: “Am I good enough”? I often hide because of this fear within.

I work as an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO). In my role I provide emotional and practical support for patients who are struggling with their vision. I also provide information, advice and sign post them to appropriate agencies to support their needs. I will always tell my patients that there is nothing that they cannot do.

During this period of coronavirus I have been shielding myself because of my pre-existing illnesses. I have stop counting the number of weeks I have been inside my house and not outside among the world. Shielding was very difficult at first as I really had to rely on others for what was happening beyond my front door. Once I accepted this fact, I was able to get on with working from home and trying to get some sort of schedule in place for myself.

Dancing has become part of me now

When I heard that Step Change Studios were running online dance sessions I just knew I had to sign up for them. I enjoyed the classes we were having in real life and by this time I was really missing them. Dancing has become part of me now.

When I first started dancing I used to be very hard on myself but I have learned to just enjoy myself, to listen, and flow with the music. I did find the first two weeks of the online classes challenging as I was not able to physically dance with people or to feel my way into the dance.

I do enjoy the online classes as I find that I am not putting so much pressure on myself. I get to connect with everyone and feel that precious warmth and kindness as if we were still face to face with each other – even for a brief time. It also gives me a routine to build into my week. My favourite dance is definitely the Samba I just love everything about this dance, the timing, the moments and the steps.

Dance is helping me through exercise, having fun and at this time of lockdown keeping positive. I have also realised that over the time I have been dancing my commitment to being punctual has grown for the dance classes – and not just for me but for the other members also.

You are never alone

portrait photo of three dancers posing at award ceremony

Grace with her dance teachers from Step Change Studios

If I were to give another visually impaired person advice about trying dance classes but might be nervous, I would say just have a go you are never alone! This is a really nice group to be involved with. It really does not matter what stage you join the group at. The dance teachers are always supportive and don’t worry – no one is looking at you.

I do believe staying active has been the key to staying sane during this pandemic. I get up every morning and do the same routine as if I were going to work; I have a lay in on a Sunday. On Saturday mornings I look forward to dance.

We have achieved so much within our group: performing at a festival, passing an exam, developing friendships, and encouraging and being there for each other. As long as I can dance, whether online or in a class I will be there!

For further details about inclusive dance company Step Change Studios visit: or follow @Step_Change (Twitter), @stepchangstudios (Instagram).

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Joe Turnbull
1 year ago

Comment from Sam Shakes: ‘Dear Grace. Thank you for sharing your challenges and achievements. Your ability to rise above so-called barriers are praiseworthy! May you continue to enjoy dancing and being an inspiration for us all. Best wishes, Sam Shakes.

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