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Animated Edition - Winter 2008
From the editor
Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
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.

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Animated: Winter 2008