During her Churchill Fellowship travels, internationally renowned dance practitioner and, author Diane Amans, very generously led two workshops, I organised to take place at Expressions Dance Studio. 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 dementia, to ensure she or he can attend dance classes without any concern about “getting it wrong. On the second occasion, Diane repeated some of that work but focussed more on encouraging participants to see dance as a wonderful opportunity to age creatively, whilst having a huge amount of fun dancing and moving, for the joy of it.
The following video, features a dance class, happening on a regular basis in a retirement village. It is an excellent example of participants engaging in a failure free joyful occasion where they are encouraged to express themselves through movement. Continue reading →
I have the enormous privilege of announcing that the one and only Lizzie Vilmanis, dancer extraordinaire and one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, will be our teacher at Come Dance With Me classes, from Tuesday 22nd January, 2019. At last, our dancers will have the very best person as their teacher. No more making do. From Tuesday 22nd January, 2019, with the incomparable Lizzie leading them, who knows what our Come Dance With Me dancers will be able to achieve, enjoy and generally look forward to.
Below, a photograph of Lizzie with Brian Lucas when they performed together, last year in Natalie Weir’s Everyday Requiem. And, Lizzie in rehearsal for that role. She infused the sensitive role with such emotional power, I reckon there was not a dry eye in the house. That capacity for empathy is essential to this teaching role and Lizzie has it in bucketfuls.
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 friendships, moments of fun and truly inspiring creativity, and exciting, heart warming improvements in cognitive function. This is most obvious in the domains of communication, increased ability to focus, pay attention, concentrate and stay in the moment, orientation to time place and person and a very rewarding decrease in periods of anxiety. For me (Beverley Giles), as coordinator, possibly best of all, is the strength of the friendships developed and the wonderful way participants support each other through down times and boost each other ‘s self esteem as they achieve milestones together. When Lizzie said yes to teach our class my heart leapt for joy. Her enthusiasm for the role was such a delight and she is brimming over with ideas to ensure fun and achievement. Last Tuesday, I could not wait to tell our beautiful people what joyful times are ahead. At last this class has a teacher with ALL the gifts I know will give them the opportunities they deserve. Continue reading →