1 Million Reasons to Dance - Sean Goldthorpe

INSIDE | 11 Million Reasons to Dance

People Dancing are an organisation that celebrates all those who want to dance. By creating a new exhibition called 11 Million Reasons to Dance, the photography and short film program have been touring the UK and overseas. They feature Sean Goldthorpe’s 20 commissioned images of iconic dance moments from the film, all reimagined by Deaf, sight impaired and disabled dancers.

I spoke to Sean about his photography and the impact he feels it has made in the dance community. “I was really excited by the thought of shooting a series of thought-provoking takes on great cinematic set-pieces,” he told me. “The prospect of creating some stylish, atmospheric scenes that also asked questions, based on a reimagining of classic dance moments from film, was too good to miss. Also, it became an artwork that reconfigured many people’s perceptions of the capabilities or expectations of D/deaf and disabled people who love to dance.”

Sean emphasised his belief that 11 Million Reasons to Dance has real potential to encourage those who see it not to judge disabled people as being in any way different from themselves. “I wanted to show the dancers as artists in their own right and not defined or hemmed in by the fact they happen to be disabled,” he said. Judging from the very positive reaction there’s been to the exhibition all over the world, people really have responded to this and taken the dancers to their hearts. Now this new online initiative will take the images and the whole concept to a global audience of millions.”

The Space are a company that support organisations and artists to develop work and reach audiences online, and they are supporting the project allowing it to have global reach. Sean found the experience really inspiring, he explained: “It wasn’t till afterwards that it really dawned on me just how much the project meant to the dancers, how much they were thrilled to be portrayed, at last, as genuine artists – I found that deeply moving.”

I asked some of the dancers taking part what a dancer looks like to them…


Laura Dajao 

“Someone who lets movement and music takes over their bodies, enjoying and living life through dance. For me there’s no specific shape or form, as long as they wear a smile and have an emotional connection with their movement – that for me is a dancer; defined by happiness and love for what they are doing, whether that’s in their living room, bedroom or on stage.”


Louise Dickson

“Dancers come in all shapes and sizes. If someone can portray a message, a sentiment, a feeling through movement, then that is what a dancer looks like.”


Chris Fonseca

“Dance knows no race, size or disability. Dance is love.”


Kimberley Harvey

“A dancer is someone with the desire to move; someone who is driven to communicate with their body and through movement. To me, a dancer doesn’t look any particular way, it’s what their body does that makes them a dancer!”


I also asked photographer Sean whether taking part in the project changed his idea of what a dancer looks like. “Personally, I think I always felt that the urge to dance is something that everyone has in them. I mean, I wouldn’t call myself a dancer but I dance about all of the time. What I did see, however, was just how much this project meant to the dancers,” he said. “I saw at close hand their enthusiasm, their commitment and the sheer joy they gained from dance. The extent to which they were prepared to extend themselves in the shots, to the very limit in some cases, was a real eye-opener for me.”


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