Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing Project: Phase 2

The second phase of our innovative Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing project developed the research findings from the 2013 Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing project undertaken by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), contributing to and enhancing research in relation to dance for older adults.

The 2013 project focused on the qualitative evaluation of the experiences of both teachers and participants with extremely positive findings and enthusiasm for the work to continue. This project aimed to measure the potential impact of a community-based dance intervention on overall daily activity levels, balance and quality of life in older adults.

The project provided opportunities for older adults, who would not normally get an opportunity to dance, to participate in tailored classes. We believe that dance is not just for children and young adults and that people of all ages can enjoy, and benefit from, participation. Our oldest learner on the project was 102, showing that dance can form a part of lifelong learning, from infancy through to very old age.

An integral element of the project was the provision of training and mentoring for the six teachers who volunteered hours of their time to lead the specialist classes. Our project teachers took part in an intensive two-day seminar on dance practice with older learners. Once they were on placement they received regular mentoring visits from Faculty of Education staff. Following eight months of regular practice, reflection, and study on working with older learners, our project teachers are now able to deliver CPD on this topic and to further contribute to workforce development in this rapidly growing area of work.

Alongside the provision of lifelong learning for seniors and CPD for dance teachers, this project also engaged in research to explore the benefits of dance for older learners and to prepare guidance on best practices for dance teachers. The outcomes of this research are shared in the Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing Project Report .