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UAE Dance Troupe to Compete in Paris, Celebrating Inclusivity

UAE Dance Troupe to Compete in Paris, Celebrating Inclusivity

A vibrant UAE dance squad is set to dazzle audiences in Paris this week, bringing together performers from across the globe in a celebration of ballet and performing arts.

Comprising 19 talented individuals, including dancers hailing from 11 different countries, the team will grace the stage at the International Festival of Dance and Performing Arts from Thursday to Monday.

The Special Olympics UAE Unified Dance Team, boasting 12 members with intellectual disabilities, finds its home at Dubai’s Dream It Possible Ballet and Performing Arts academy, supported by the Dubai Sports Council and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Inclusive Mission

The brainchild of the academy’s founder, Vicky Lovering, the troupe’s journey to Paris represents the UAE’s steadfast commitment to inclusivity.

“Since 2019, when Abu Dhabi hosted the Special Olympics, the UAE has made it one of their missions to become an all-inclusive country,” stated Ms. Lovering. “It’s mixing people of determination with mainstream people, so everyone is all-inclusive. We’ve got a unified team.”

Global Stage

The UAE contingent, spanning ages six to 29, boasts a wealth of experience, with seasoned performers and gymnasts among its ranks. Notably, 18-year-old Josie McIntyre, a member of the unified dance troupe, clinched three medals, including a gold, in rhythmic gymnastics at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi five years ago.

Josie’s mother, Clare McIntyre, emphasized the incredible opportunities that have opened up for individuals with special needs. “Josie joined a dance group eight years ago when there were few opportunities for people of determination to express themselves,” she shared. “It is testimony to the aspiration of the UAE.”

Excitement and Anticipation

As the team gears up for their Parisian debut, anticipation is running high. “Our troupe have their own designated 20-minute stage show inside Disneyland on one of its stages,” revealed Ms. Lovering. “We will be competing against 18 other dance schools from around the world and the pre-parade, which will feature about 350 other performers.”

Josie, brimming with enthusiasm for the upcoming event, expressed her eagerness, albeit with a touch of humor. “Josie can’t wait to go, although she did say she would prefer to go to Hollywood – she is obsessed with Kevin Hart.”

From Dubai to Paris, the UAE dance troupe’s journey exemplifies the nation’s unwavering dedication to inclusivity and its commitment to providing diverse opportunities for all members of society.

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