Inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in a popular leisure activity offers the opportunity to gain experience of equality, inclusion and belonging. The aim of this paper is to investigate the application of oriental dance to persons with intellectual disabilities.
The study involved seven adults with intellectual disabilities who have chosen oriental dance as a leisure activity. Data were collected by interviews, focus groups and observations. Dance workshops were carried out three times a week for three months. People with intellectual disabilities could: express personal preferences, raise the awareness of their own body, adopt and practice the skills of oriental dance, achieve better mobility, coordination, posture, lateralization and spatial orientation and make independent decisions.
All users of the program persisted to participate until the end of its implementation and have expressed positive experiences during and after the belly dancing program. Adopted new skills, as well as reducing body weight resulted in a sense of pride that users express at the end of the program.
The oriental dance provides opportunities for the development of personal identity and sense of belonging. Engaging currently popular leisure activity, gives people with disabilities a sense of belonging to the group where they have acquired the oriental dance, to a community engaged in the oriental dance, as well as to the wider community where the activity is positively valued.