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Ageing Creatively

Creativity can be expressed in many different ways,  through dance, art, music, and writing, planting a garden, cooking and sewing. How we do  ordinary, everyday things, and how we feel about them, speaks to every aspect of our lives. We live our choices.  If we want to change the course of our lives and/or ourselves, how we relate to self-expression is one key.  Creativity can become a process of self-discovery, providing a safe, experimental place for exploration, risk-taking, and change

 Ageing Creatively Through Dance

Now for the good news: we are born with a 100 billion neurons and one of those is capable of making 10,000 connections. Every one of us continues to produce new brain cells until the day we die.

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to constantly lay down new pathways for neural communication and to rearrange existing ones throughout life.

Use it or lose it. Use it and grow some more.

Since the 1960’s, there has been a growing body of evidence that new nerve cells are born in particular regions of the brain throughout your life.

This natural birth of new cells in your brain is called neurogenesis.

Physical exercise, as little as three brisk walks a week, increases the size of the hippocampus, a key brain region important for learning and memory.

Aerobic exercise produces neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin, a natural feel good substance, with no side effects.
  • Dopamine for learning, reward and motivation.
  • Norepinephrine, increases alertness, concentration and energy.

In many ways the brain benefits from the same things we know are good for the body. It is just not as visible when your brain gets flabby!

Exercise reduces flab and the best exercise to reduce the risk of dementia, is dance.

Professor Joe Verghese and colleagues, studies 469 individuals, participating in 19 activities, for 5 years. Their research concluded, dance is the only physical activity demonstrated to reduce the risk of dementia.

Three factors are known to reduce the risk of dementia:

  • Physical activity,
  • Social engagement and
  • New Learning

Dance has them all and importantly it can add creativity.

Sustained creative challenges can positively contribute to maintaining mental functioning, supporting the brain reserve hypothesis (Goldberg 2005; Staff et al 2004; Stern 2002).

We are not all artists but all of us have the potential to be creative, the first step is to begin. Embrace the concept, use imagination, seek opportunities to engage yourself with others in doing or making something new.

The brain is not hard wired, it can and does change itself, every single day until the end of life, even if a person is living with dementia, her/his brain will make new cells.

Youth is a gift of nature… Age is a work of art.

We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

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2014 – whilst in the UK –  having fun dancing in the North Sea

See below – first, feeling good after a heartwarming response to our performance at the DanSCIENce Festival in Brisbane 2015.

Second, together at QPAC supporting the fabulous dancers from EDC. Third, us taken when we were given the enormous privilege of participating in Everyday Requiem (Natalie Weir’s last show with Expressions Dance Company) and The Australian Voices, at QPAC no less. May I say we were star struck for a month.

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Come Dance With Me Recall old steps from memory, choose to create new ones, no matter, there is no wrong way, only your way. Designed to engage people living with dementia, these dance events offer lots of fun, exercise and joyful expression through movement. We have seen some inspiring results both in increased sociability, sustained […]

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During her Churchill Fellowship travels, internationally renowned dance practitioner and, author Diane Amans, very generously responded to my request and led two workshops for interested people.  On the first day, Diane shared her experience in training dance practitioners (as you can see her doing in the  DVD featured below) and facilitating classes for people with […]

Come Dance With Me Recall old steps from memory, choose to create new ones, no matter, there is no wrong way, only your way. Designed to engage people living with dementia, these dance events offer lots of fun, exercise and joyful expression through movement. We have seen some inspiring results both in increased sociability, sustained […]