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One Dance UK, Yorkshire Dance and Darts to launch Dance On

Fri 29 June 2018
Part of: Dance On
Dancing in Time - Belle Isle Launch - 14 Feb 2018 © Yorkshire Dance

One Dance UK has been awarded National Lottery funding of £328,500 from Sport England Active Ageing for a £495,500 dance programme to tackle inactivity in areas of Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster, working closely with Yorkshire Dance and darts (Doncaster Community Arts).

Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy Towards An Active Nation, and launched the Active Ageing fund to address inactivity among people over 55.

The funding will support the development, implementation and evaluation of Dance On; delivering a wide and varied dance offer to engage inactive older people in disadvantaged areas to improve their activity levels and wider health and well-being.

Three Dance Development Artists will be appointed to work with a wider freelance delivery team, to create and lead 45 dance groups across Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster. The programme will include regular dance sessions in communities that focus on fun and enjoyment. All sessions will be inclusive of people with disabilities or health conditions.

The aim is to build sustainability throughout the programme; establishing self-funded dance programmes where communities have the capacity to pay, and building partnerships with public and voluntary sector organisations to support ongoing activity in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

Jan Burkhardt, Strategic Lead for the Dance in Health & Well-being partnership, describes the Dance On approach:

“The Dance On programme is based on well-established community dance models used over the last 40 years in the dance sector, redesigned by applying learning from the Sport England insight and design tools, to meet the Active Ageing agenda. It will also draw on the Dancing in Time model funded by Leeds City Council; a creative contemporary dance intervention that research by Leeds University showed significantly improved levels of moderate physical activity, mental well-being, and reduced social isolation in women aged 60 to 85 years. We will take a community-centered approach, with older people playing an active part as volunteers, advisors and champions and bringing communities together to reduce social isolation.”

Hannah Robertshaw, Programmes Director for Yorkshire Dance says: “We learnt so much in the pilot phase for Dance On, taking a co-design approach to help us shape the programme with older adults in Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster. One of the groups we worked with has already become self-sustaining which is incredibly exciting. There is a real appetite for this work, both with participants and with independent artists who are keen to work with us on the programme. We are looking forward to the future of Dance On and delighted that this important piece of work can take place in the Yorkshire region.”

Read about the nationwide project here.


The Dance Activator programme is funded through the National Lottery by Sport England’s Active Ageing fund as part of One Dance UK and People Dancing’s Dance in Health & Well-being partnership.

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