Daily dance uplifts the soul and so effectively gives outward form to our inner experience. There is a joy felt and expressed through moving to music that transcends language and cognitive understanding. Through dance and movement we can forget our barriers and express something unique about ourselves to the world.
Anwar is always on the move but rarely engages with anything for very long. He lights up when music is playing often performing the same repetitive movement over and over.
He’s often asked to sit down, as staff are concerned about him knocking other people over. He seems to have a sixth sense for spacial awareness, I’ve never seem him hit anyone but he comes very very close… all the time.
He’s shown slow but steady improvements throughout the dance sessions he’s taken part in and is remembering movements and linking them to the specific music we’ve been working with, showing noticeable improvements in his memory and his awareness of what’s happening in the room.
He’s started to join in with the basic routines and is taking part as a valued member of the group now. He’s buzzing with the positive praise and encouragement he’s receiving on his achievements.
The development of the brain including pattern recognition and increased memory function, increased skill in communicating ideas, being part of a team working towards a common goal, performing and being part of an audience, self expression of feelings and emotions, empathy, development of muscular strength and bone density, increased balance and spatial awareness, development of co-ordination, a deeper understanding of the parts of the human body and how they work together.
All adults regardless of physical or mental disabilities can be supported to move and develop their ideas and express themselves through creative movement. Participants can be supported to move in whatever capacity they are able to and contribute their ideas in a meaningful way.
Sessions will be tailored to the individuals in the group taking into account the abilities of the participant. Support worker participation is essential and we pride ourselves in being able to get everybody in the room feeling comfortable, involved and thoroughly enjoying our dance sessions. Support staff will be trained to adapt moves for individuals and assist in a supportive and encouraging way, as well as fully benefiting from the joy of dancing as part of the group!
Typically our dance sessions last for an hour. We start with a gentle physical warm up benefiting both our bodies and our minds. Our facilitator might then move on to some movement games, using devices such as mirroring each other, copying a “leader” or flocking together in the space as birds or shoals of fish might move.
We might then a introduce a short movement phrase, a sequence of simple moves, before seeing it in context with the music it was created for. Once the participants have taken part in learning and performing the phrase we often ask for ideas of what to add next. We might listen to the music and talk about the feelings it brings up or one of the participants might have a movement that they feel is a progression from where we began.
We often use props such as scarves and ribbons to encourage a wider range of motion, costume and mask to help with shedding our inhibitions and exploring “alter egos”. We use assistive technology where appropriate to enable everyone to contribute their opinions and ideas.
We always finish with a cool down and a stretch with calming music and check in with each participant in the group to make sure that everyone is feeling positive and supported with any feelings, thoughts or emotions that came up during the session.