The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
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Animated Edition - Winter 2008
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Focus on: wellbeing and health

From the editor

In two years Arts Council England has produced two documents in collaboration of the Department for Health. The first, specifically about dance and health, outlines the benefits of participating in dance for people of all ages. The Second - A Prospectus for the Arts and Health - is an altogether more substantial document and looks more broadly at the contribution of all the arts to health agendas.

At regional level that there have been a range of participatory opportunities, plus conferences, seminars and reports about the value of the dance and the arts in supporting the health and general well being of the population. We know there is some real effort being made by some in the medical profession across the UK to develop more strategies for preventative health care and well being rather than dealing primarily with ill health.

Despite all this effort the mainstream press and media, and to an extent the medical establishment, whenever initiatives such as 'dance on prescription' are announced regard the positive contribution we can and do make, as trivial, too alternative and drawing away resources from more traditional therapies.

In this issue we look again at dance and health, and in the current absence of a national overview of dance and health, attempt to uncover some of the work that community dance artists and organisations are engaged in. This includes partnerships between the health sector and dance organisations, work in specific health contexts and to specific health issues.

It is a tribute to the commitment, talent and persistence of those concerned who have convinced health practitioners and local/regional health services that community dance has something of real value to offer to the health of the nation. What is great about is that these artists are doing is not losing sight of their own artistry and the importance of the art of dance in their work. They are not simply offering a health and fitness regime but something more fundamental for the benefit of the people dancing - inspiration, hope, challenge and a genuine contribution to the health of the people participating.

Elsewhere in the magazine Adesola Akinleye and Rosaria Garcia describe their dance work in bringing diverse communities together, we look at Tees Valley Dance's work in schools and Robyn Campbell tells us about a project to take contemporary dance into the rural areas of British Columbia in Canada.

Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
In this issue
From the editor
Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
Critical faculties
Donald Hutera gets up off his bum and ventures into the wonderful world of site-specific performance
The focus: dance, wellbeing & health
Walking a tightrope
Take Art's Dance Director Chris Fogg explains how partnerships have helped make Take Art more sustainable
When time does not fly
Bisakha Sarker, Artistic Director of Chaturangan, demonstrates that dance can make time fly for patients whilst they are waiting for treatment
Developing a regional infrastructure for dance and health
Dance4's Learning Manager Vanessa McGuire outlines the work being undertaken in the East Midlands to place dance firmly on the health agenda
The mourners' dance: first steps
Independent Artist Doran George in a new residency programme at Chisenhale Dance Space deals with the delicate issue of bereavement
Dance and obesity: a big issue
Jan Burkhardt describes Dance Action Zone Leeds' activity programme to combat obesity in young people
We can nurture self-esteem, but... how?
Joke Verlinden on what community dance can offer
Dance for Life
Laura Deacon on British Red Cross's support for Dance For Life, a national initiative to get more young people to participate in dance
Breathing space
Donald Hutera explores the work of Breathing Space in nurturing health and emotional well being
We're still dancing
Daphne Cushnie on the difference dance makes to the lives of people with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease
Intercultural dialogue
Rain dancing and sun dancing
Choreographer Adesola Akinleye on working with refugee communities in Manchester
Introducing dance traditions from the African Diaspora to the UK
Independent Artist Rosaria Gracia on bringing Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian dance traditions into community dance
International
Presenting solutions: Made in BC - dance on tour
Robyn Campbell describes the development of Made in BC, an initiative linking communities to contemporary dance
Professional development
Classroom Moves
Kristine Sommerlade and Heather Walker, of Tees Valley Dance, describe their project to get teachers and pupils dancing in the classroom