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In THIS Moment dance project 2016-2019 was created in partnership with Cheshire East Council (Public Health & Cultural Services), and took place at MCHFT Leighton Hospital Crewe before expanding into community venues across Cheshire including; care home setting and dementia support groups.
The project comprised of two main strands; weekly delivery of seated dance on the rehabilitation ward in MCHFT Leighton Hospital and the development and delivery of four open access community dance sessions for Older Adults, particularly welcoming those living with dementia and their loved ones.
Since this time, the project has gone on to encompass CPD for artists and care staff, interactive performance commissions and vast advocacy work.
In THIS Moment is part of Cheshire Dance’s wider programme as a National Portfolio Organisation across Cheshire, supported by Arts Council England.
Aims of the project:
Using dance and person-centred creative practice to:
The sessions are an opportunity for people to reveal or remember themselves, within an environment where they can easily lose a sense of self and where they are most often defined by their ailments. The sessions offer additional space and time for people to be seen, heard and sometimes, rediscovered and to share their stories with others.
The sessions are aimed to support and reinforce the work that the physiotherapists are already delivering – particularly in falls prevention (OTAGO) and using a collaborative approach.
Mobilising joints, stretching muscles and including movements that will enable participants to maintain skills for essential tasks such as getting dressed, bending to pick up objects and gripping things are integral to the session. This combination of mobility, flexibility and strength work is made all the more engaging when accompanied by music and imagery in the sessions.
Mental Health Benefits
With a reflexive approach to the sessions and by following the participants lead and using their suggestions, they are making decisions in the moment and this gives space and time for things to evolve.
“(Participant aged 84yrs) was participating in her third dance session. Previously she had appeared quiet, withdrawn, drifting in and out of sleep. During the session, when she noticed the inflatable globe it was like a light bulb came on – I saw her light up – it was just that little thing that she needed to bring her back in to the room. She began to talk about her travels and her past career as a primary school teacher in Cornwall – the rest of the group then went on to find common threads that brought them together.”In This Moment: Dance & Dementia
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. Cheshire Dance is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.
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