Inspiring the next generation of dancers

At only 21 years of age, Paul is a talented and inspiring dancer, artist, teacher and filmmaker on a national scale. Paul also happens to be autistic and attended a special educational needs school in London.

We could tell you what Paul Davidson does, but we thought it might be easier to show you:

Paul started dancing when he was 14 after seeing ‘Got to Dance’; a dance competition programme on TV. He loves to dance because he likes the quality of movement and how everyone has the potential to express different things.

He thinks having autism complicates things for him and is frustrated by communication. He wants to be seen as a human being. His dancing has given him the confidence to know that he doesn’t have to be limited by his autism, and can achieve more than he first thought was possible.

His dancing has changed him so he can see the positives in life. In secondary school and college he did not have any friends and he was scared. But his dancing has given him friends, the ability to express things through dance, to be creative and to have ideas.

Asked what it feels like to be a Leaders’ List 2018 winner, Paul said: “I am very proud – I felt emotional when I found out.

“It hasn’t been easy but I feel since the summer, I have changed, I have developed. I am pleased to have worked with other people with disabilities across the country.”

Paul Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

Paul joined Corali Dance Company in 2015, a company that creates original performances made by dancers with a learning disability and autism. He is also a dancer with the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC).

Sarah Archdeacon, Artistic Director at Corali Dance Company, said: “I am constantly amazed by what a great dancer Paul is! He was brilliant the first time I saw him dance, and he really does just get better and better. He has so many ideas and is so confident in the studio, he is a true talent – he really deserves to go far.”

Paul wants his dancing to be new and different and to inspire the next generation. In 2017, Paul had the idea to make a new dance film, Escape the Nowhere, with dancers from NYDC and Corali.

Paul created and directed the film; managing everything from initial idea through to every last detail of choreography.

So far, 1215 people have seen the film. He wants to inspire other people to dance and show the talent of people with a learning disability and autism. There is also a documentary about the making of the film.

Stop press

Since writing Paul has progressed to the second round of BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2019. He said: “I can’t believe it! I am very happy and surprised. I’m a bit nervous because it is a competition and I have to do two solos – but I am very pleased to do it.”