Older Men Moving

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An interview with lead dance artist Will Palmer

A beach ball goes flying through the air, arcing across the room, before landing in the hands of a smiling older man. He hits it and sends it flying again, this time across the room to another man. Bangladeshi music plays enthusiastically in the background as this collection of older men volley the ball around to warm up. This is one of the OlderMen Moving classes, and it is just getting started.

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Ageing Creatively Through Dance with Diane Amans

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.
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Come Dance With Me

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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 are a great success, 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, possibly the 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.
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