Yorkshire Dance

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Yorkshire Dance celebrates International Day of Older Persons

Mon 1 October 2018
Part of: Dance On | In Mature Company
Dance On - South Seacroft © Daniel Phung

Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people – over 20 per cent of the world’s population – will be 60 or older.

The United Nations is calling for enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by older people through its International Day of Older Persons, on Monday 1 October.

Yorkshire Dance, the Leeds-based dance development organisation, has for many years specialised in dance activities with older adults. The company is celebrating International Day of Older Persons by announcing the appointment of a number of dance artists to several new projects which will engage many hundreds of older adults in the coming years.

In Mature Company is a three-year project, part of Time to Shine, a six-year programme delivered by Leeds Older People’s Forum and funded through Big Lottery Fund Ageing Better.

The project will take place in nine care homes between September 2018 and March 2021 to explore the impact of dance and music in reducing the loneliness and isolation of residents living with dementia.

Four dance artists – Kirsty Arnold, Rachel Clarke, Tora Hed, Ellen Turner – started working with two musicians – Joe Reeves and Will Fletcher – in care homes in Hyde Park, Pudsey and Morley at the end of September and will deliver up to 180 sessions per year.

They are joined in the care homes by Lauren Clarke and Lily Craig, two newly-trained users of a technique called Dementia Care Mapping™, which will look specifically at the impact of touch in the sessions and measure the effects of the sessions on the well-being and engagement of the residents.

Another new programme launched this autumn is Dance On, designed to tackle inactivity among older adults, delivered by a partnership of One Dance UK, Yorkshire Dance and darts (Doncaster Community Arts) and funded by Sport England.

Each programme will be led by another newly-appointed Dance Development Artist – Charlotte Armitage in Doncaster, Laura Liddon in Bradford and Ella Mesma in Leeds.

Hannah Robertshaw, Programmes Director at Yorkshire Dance, says, “We are so delighted to welcome a new team of artists and volunteers to work with us on these exciting new projects. It’s a rare moment when you can create such a huge wave of new activity which will have such a positive impact on older people in the region. The artists working on these programmes are passionate, committed and highly creative. Collectively we are dedicated to bringing the most artistic and joyful experiences to the communities we work with.”

Yorkshire Dance continues to work as the regional partner of arts charity and social enterprise, Aesop, for a falls-prevention programme called Dance to Health in Sheffield. The company has also, earlier this year, trained a number of dance artists from across the region to lead dance sessions for adults living with Parkinson’s disease.

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