Opening Doors is pleased to announce a full day of workshops on 08th February 2020 at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, encompassing music, dance and theatre and featuring some of the best practitioners, performers, researchers and academics in the field.

To book your place kindly email us on : [email protected]



 SARA ACCETTURAsara accetura


Born in Italy, where she started her dance career and achieved a Diploma for a Proficiency Course for dance teachers at I.D.A. (Ravenna) and a Master in choreography at European Dance Alliance (Rome), Sara graduated in 2007 with a First Class Degree at the London Contemporary Dance School.

Since then she has danced for several companies in the UK, amongst them the National Dance Company of Wales, Cedar Dance, Diciembre Dance, Combination Dance, Leila Dance and Maddogs Dance, whilst teaching in London at The Place and for several dance schools.

In 2009, Sara achieved a Master of Arts in Performance at the London Contemporary Dance School. In 2011 she founded Junior Dance Company Bari, the first youth company in south of Italy. Sara is still working as a freelance dancer with various choreographers, among them Lucia Piquero, Yoshua Cienfuegos, Dana Raz, Mavin Khoo, Oded Ronen, Francesca Tranter and Moritz Zavan Stoeckle.

Sara is pursuing her PhD in Dance and Autism at the University of Bedfordshire (UK).

She is now artistic director of Junior Dance Company Bari and Malta, artistic director of Dance Master Class Italy, co-director of the inclusive dance project Dance For All (Bari), Assistant Lecturer for the School of Performing Arts Dance Studies Department and guest lecturer for the Department of Disability Studies at the University of Malta.

 Workshop Outline

The seminar will focus on how to set and plan workshops with people on the Autism Spectrum, which can be applied as well to participants with learning and/or cognitive disabilities. When working within an inclusive art project with people with intellectual disabilities usually the main goal is increasing participants’ abilities, such as communication, social skills, coordination and motor skills.

We will be focusing on what is important to do beforehand, e.g.:

  • Getting to know the individual profile of your participants
  • The importance of inclusion: setting a collaborative and supportive environment
  • The role of the occupational therapist and of the parents

We will then move onto setting class goals and benefits, e.g. encouraging emotional development, social interaction, self-confidence, decision making, problem solving, social skills. Therefore, we will discuss the tools and tasks that we can use in class. We will also discuss what comes after, e.g. creating awareness on conditions such as Autism through a dance performance, and creating new artistic languages and forms of aesthetics.

Outcomes of the seminar:

To provide some practical examples on how to better structure dance workshops involving participants with Autism

  • To enhance the lesson plan and artistic performances, by taking into consideration the special interests of the students
  • To set class goals and benefits, taking notice of the main features of Autism.

Suggested Readings

Attwood, Tony (2007) The Complete Guide To Asperger’s Syndrome. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Lara, Joanne and Bowers, Keri (2016) Autism Movement Therapy Method. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pp.41-67 (It’s the second chapter of the book entitled What Does an Autism Movement Therapy Session Look Like?)

Notbohm, Ellen (2005) Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew. Arlington: Future Horizons.

Sher, Barbara (2009) Early Intervention games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorder. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Smith, Barbara (2016) From Flapping to Function: A Parent’s Guide To Autism and Hand Skills. RecylingOT.

Tufnell, Miranda (2010) Dance Health and Wellbeing: Pathway to practice for dance leaders working in health and care settings. Foundation for Community Dance.

This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS).

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