Creative pursuits: Dancing
Dance is an artform that can easily be adapted for any age and skill, which is why it is a great activity to continue with or take up in later life. There are classes around the UK with a range of different styles to choose from, and it’s also a good social activity too.
There are many benefits to dancing. For a start it requires no special kit – all you need is a hall, a teacher, some good music and a comfortable pair of shoes. It is easy to adapt to meet individual needs and there are so many forms of dance that you can explore the right one for you.
It is a brilliant way to up your exercise levels, which will help to keep you fit and healthy, reducing your risk of some age-related illnesses. Learning and remembering a sequence of steps, challenges the mind as well, keeping it active.
Finally, as dancing is done with a partner or as a group, it is a good way to meet new people and make friends with similar interests. If you are married or in a relationship, then it’s also an activity that you can do as a couple.
Interview with... Emma Breeze
Embody Dance was created in 2009 by Emma Breeze and it describes itself as an ‘inclusive dance school’ giving everybody the chance to dance. It offers classes for disabled adults and older adults, with a range of sessions to suit all abilities. We caught up with Emma to find out more.
You’re the Boss: Can you tell us a bit about your company, in particular the classes that you run for older people? Why did you set them up?
Emma Breeze: Embody Dance is a community dance company that caters for all ages and abilities. Part of Embody's outreach is providing weekly Mature Movers dance classes for adults aged 50 plus. Mature Movers community classes are fun, friendly and relaxed. Classes focus on the enjoyment of dance, movements are adaptable to each individuals needs so the class can be taken both standing and seated. Embody also provides Strictly Seniors classes in residential care homes and day centres. These seated classes allow older people to take part in group exercise in their own environment. Strictly Seniors classes are unique and use many props to aid in movement.
You’re the Boss: How do you adapt the classes to suit an older audience?
Emma Breeze: Mature Movers classes use a variety of music from 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, to musicals and modern day chart toppers. The dancers have a lot of impact on the song choices and regularly suggest music tracks that they like - the tutors listen to these requests and create routines accordingly. Mature Movers classes are accessible to all older adults as they focus on the movements individuals are capable of and work on the positives. The movement is exciting and each routine is different to aid in remembering the steps a teacher dances with the class throughout.
Strictly Seniors classes use music from the older adults’ pasts, which evokes memories and allows the older adult to reminisce while moving. Props such as scarves and ribbons are used to aid movement and train the body to stretch as far as physically possible.
You’re the Boss: How important is keeping fit as you get older?
Emma Breeze: It is really important to keep fit as you get older, as not only does exercise promote a healthy lifestyle but it releases endorphins which keep you positive and smiling throughout!
You’re the Boss: Why is dance a good hobby for older people to take up?
Emma Breeze: Dance lifts older people's spirits and it allows for a singalong while enjoying movement. Most importantly it improves balance, co-ordination, stamina, flexibility and posture. These components reduce the risk of falls and enable older people to continue enjoying an independent life for longer. Dancing is also a fantastic social hobby that allows older people the chance to have a catch up with old friends and have a cup of tea after a class.
To find out more about Embody Dance and the classes offered at www.embodydance.co.uk
Embody Dance offers a range of seated classes for older adults, in day opportunity centres and care homes. The aim of the class is to encourage movement, as well as time to talk to other participants. The classes focus as much on the sense of community as the exercise, and each session is tailored to the needs of the group.
Green Candle Dance
A dance company providing dance and movement opportunities for the over-50s, with both seated and standing classes available around London.
Green Candle Dance has over 25 years’ experience in bringing dance to the community, known for its work with young and older people, with and without disabilities.
Greenwich Dance offers a class called Dancing to the Music of Time, which is held once a week for people over the age of 60. You work with a professional choreographer, and the group perform at public events.