Dance City have expanded their current dance programme with plans to improve health and well being in the North East. We have instigated three new initiatives, which include three new classes for those over 55 and work with  people with Parkinson’s and Dementia through unique partnerships with other organisations.

We are running a day of free taster sessions for people aged 55 and over on Saturday 4 October in its building on St James Boulevard, occurring the same week as national older people’s day, which places a special focus on older people during October.

Three new classes have been introduced into the regular dance programme. The over 55’s tap class, which has been running for several years, will be joined by Ballet, Pilates and Salsa. The free taster sessions offer people the chance to try out the new classes. There will be short introductory sessions and the opportunity to chat over tea and cakes and meet like-minded people. No dance experience at all is required.

This new programme has been developed in response to recent customer feedback that dance class attendees would like the opportunity to take part in a class specifically designed to meet the needs of older members of the community.

The free taster day takes place on 4 October. More information is available here.

Two further strands of work are being developed to support people with Dementia and Parkinson’s. Working in partnership with Parkinson’s UK, Dance City is offering a class for people over 50 years with Parkinson’s. The class is suitable for people who simply enjoy moving, takes place every other week and costs just £1.50 per session. It’s offered on a turn up and try basis so no pre-booking is required, held at the dance studio at the Centre for Sport on Westgate Road from 7-8pm. The dates for the rest of the year are: 29 September; 13, 27 October; 10, 24 November and 8, 22 December.

Dance City has collaborated with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), linking into their partnerships with Northumbria Healthcare, National Health Service Foundation Trust (NNHS) and Linskill Park, Housing 21 in North Shields and Helen McCardle Care in Whitley Bay, on the Movement and Dance project.

The project engages older people with Dementia to use movement and dance with museum collections & archives to stimulate memory and life experience. The project is linked to the Platinum Programme which aims to encourage people aged over 55 to engage with the culture and heritage services TWAM has to offer. It is anticipated that a longer-term programme of workshops will be formed following this pilot scheme.

Kath Boodhai, Outreach officer for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said,

“Dance enlivens the process of triggering memory from the museums’ collections and archives. It ‘adds value’ to reminiscence work and encourages sociability amongst older people.”

Sylvia Lowes, Older Person’s Health & Well-being Occupational Therapist from North Tyneside Hospital was full of praise for the project. She said,

“Dance enables people to reconnect with their youth.  It is a way of bringing people together to help overcome feelings of social isolation and low mood.  People have fun together, and dance is the ideal activity to maintain and improve their health and wellbeing.”

Anthony Baker, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Dance City said:

“There is much research to support that dance can significantly improve both the longevity and general health of older people. We are really excited to announce the expansion of our over 55s programme and the introduction of two specific community dance initiatives working with trusted partners to bring enjoyment and health benefits to the lives of more people within the local community.

Dancing is for people of all ages and abilities and is a wonderful way to remain active whilst expanding social networks in a friendly and safe environment.”