Jolt Dance


Jolt's vision is to celebrate the unique qualities of our dancers and to challenge perspectives about dance and disability.

We offer:

  • regular, ongoing dance and movement classes for people with disabilities
  • community programmes that engage marginalised groups and build connections
  • innovative and original performance works that engage with diverse audiences
  • genuine pathways for our dancers as teachers and choreographers

Jolt was founded by Artistic Director Lyn Cotton in 2001 with the support of the Christchurch City Council. In 2007 Jolt became a charitable trust supported by a board of trustees.

Jolt work is founded on the principle of individuality and was inspired by the work of Wolfgang Stange and his London-based company Amici. It is based on the belief that what are perceived as limitations are opportunities for unique movements and unique connections between people.

Challenging barriers

Jolt has challenged many of the barriers that exist for people with disabilities. Jolt classes are open to everyone and reflect the diversity of the disability community.  "Move" tutor training offers New Zealand's only dance teacher training for people with disabilities and the Diversity Dance Project takes this work into mainstream primary schools changing the traditional dynamic by having people with disabilities as the teachers. 

Jolt performances are original and innovative - created using the unique voices of the dancers. Jolt Youth Company (est. 2007) produces new work regularly and our biennial show (featuring all of the classes) has become a huge celebration of integrated dance and the creative potential of the disability community.. Jolt Interactive (est. 2012 - current) provides interactive, multi-sensory performances and workshops for diverse audiences. This work, the first of its kind in New Zealand, is based on the belief that everyone has the right to access theatre and performances in ways that are meaningful and genuine.  

Jolt education and community programmes are focused on sharing our work and challenging perspectives about disability. As well as Move, we offer training and specialised workshops. 

Awards and recognition

In 2004, Jolt won the prestigious NZRA outstanding programme award for excellence and was awarded national recognition by Arts Access Aotearoa as the best Creative Space for 2009. In 2014 Artistic Director, Lyn Cotton won the Attitude TV award for “Making a Difference” and received a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2015.

"If anyone is feeling pessimistic about humanity, I challenge them to watch a Jolt performance and not feel reinspired."
Steve Carter, DANZ

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"Jolt's celebration of inclusion and diversity, and its links to the community are inspiring."

Arts Access Aotearoa

"What has left me most impressed is how with such a diverse group of dancers you can only see the ‘can do’ and never the ‘can’t do’." 

Kate Sullivan, theatreview


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