Bolton Dementia Support

Dance and Dementia

Professor Tom Kitwood spoke powerfully of the importance of maintaining a sense of identity and personhood for the person living with dementia and suggests that we need to continue to recognise the person and their history in order to develop understanding of how we might enrich their lives. (Kitwood 1997)
Work using reminiscence techniques and music and dance are all ways that enable people to inhabit again the people they once were and may even still have memory of. Working with dance in particular because it is an embodied activity can encourage memory and response in people living with dementia. Dance also provides a means of non verbal communication which as dementia advances becomes more important.
Dance as a means of expression is both intensely personal but also connects us with others. It is a way in which we can often access memories of ourselves as individuals and within the context of our lives and cultural environment as we age. 

Working in collaboration with Bolton Council, Arts Council England, AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities), Get Active, Bolton Age UK, and Music Stuff, Bolton Dementia Support took part in Dance and Dementia training . A three day course led by Diane Amans a dance artist with over thirty five years experience of leading dance activities with diverse community groups both in the UK and Europe. She currently works as a freelance dance artist, lecturer and consultant offering professional development, evaluation, mentoring and project management work.

On 6th November 2014 our staff and volunteers completed 'Circle Dance' training. Circle Dancing developed during the 1970s from traditional folk dance from around the world. The wide range of music links to celebrations, life events, and enables the exploration of the social and cultural aspects of connecting lives. Music has been selected from the Circle Dance repertoire and dances have been simplified and adapted for both seated and standing dance. The touch, holding, swaying, and simple repetitive movements allow the participant to feel safe within the circle. During the dance session comments and thoughts are often evoked and expressed. With the release of feelings people with dementia may be helped to communicate. The circle therefore provides an opportunity for expression and creativity. The dance provides an enjoyable form of exercise and movement. It offers the opportunity for a shared activity with partners, relatives and carers. Look out for Circle Dancing sessions coming up at our weekly Memory Cafes.   

August 2015

An article written by a member of Bolton Dementia Support and current Undergraduate Dance student Chloe Danielle Vose, explains the benefits of dance and dementia and the impact it has on the lives of people living with dementia around the UK. A link to the article which is in our Summer newsletter is available to view and download below.

newsletter summer 2015 (1).pdf




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