Our specialism in delivering dance and movement programmes for older audiences has developed from our experience of over 30 years of facilitation, observation and research.
In 2016, we launched the Dance Well programme which has been carefully developed in close collaboration with clinicians, health workers and other specialists. Dance Well workshops take place throughout community settings, including care homes, sheltered housing, day centres and community centres. These participatory workshops serve as a catalyst for the forming of friendships and the growth of community while also enhancing the physical wellbeing of participating older adults. For many participants who are isolated and vulnerable, Dance Well provides a space where they are valued and heard, and where their needs are at the heart of all activity.
Our experienced dance artists have undergone rigorous training, mentorship and monitoring to grow their practice working with older communities, addressing their needs through creative and culturally engaged intervention.
But it’s not just about exercise. Some of our participant groups, such as Holborn Community Association, have worked with our dance artists to co-create their own dance pieces and deliver public performances at venues like the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, The Place and The Queen’s Gallery.
“I joined the group for the first time at the age of 65 with a disability. It’s motivated me; encouraged me to do something for myself, and I’m very proud.”Dance Well participant, Millman Street Community Centre
Who we work with
We are currently delivering Dance Well at Wellesley Road Care Home, Spring Grove Care Home, Holborn Community Association and Third Age Project.
Across the past year, Akademi’s Dance Well programme positively impacted the lives of more than 1000 older participants and 200 clinical staff and carers.
Participants have reported increased levels of physical activity, an improvement of balance, co-ordination, mobility and strength in a fun, creative and friendly atmosphere.
Though the programme has helped improve the physical development and cultural engagement levels of our participants, it is the impact on mental health and wellbeing which has emerged as the most crucial outcome of our work.
If you are from a care home or community centre and would like to have a similar programme, please contact us at email@example.com.
During COVID19 pandemic
Many older participants in the Dance Well communities are vulnerable, living with chronic health conditions including dementia, and many experience anxiety, isolation and loneliness. These issues were amplified by the effects of the COVID19 pandemic, resulting in an even greater need for our work within the communities we serve.
Through regular and close communication with all our partner organisations, we were able to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and fine-tune our methods of delivery. Our dance artists traversed in-person, blended learning and online platforms to deliver weekly South Asian dance and movement workshops within three different community groups.
We also created analogue ‘take-away’ packs, for those unable or unwilling to engage with digital delivery. These packs comprised dance cards, images and inspiring creative objects to encourage them to move at home without the need for technology.
“We have been through a most traumatic period in human history with consequences devastating to older people. This has hit our users very hard. Around 70% report high levels of anxiety and social isolation. Dance Well sessions became a lifeline enabling people to take part at homeTony Bloor, Dance Well Partner, Third Age Project