Dancing to happiness
Darcey Bussell's documentary, Dancing to Happiness aired on Saturday 1 December at 9pm on BBC Two.
In the programme, Darcey meets young people struggling with mental health issues, waltzes with a gentleman living with Parkinson’s Disease and takes ballet class with some of the Silver Swans.
One of the participants, teacher, Johanna Hadley, looks back on the experience:
"I could never have imagined the happiness that being a Silver Swans Licensee has brought to both me and the Silver Swans that I teach in Bury, Lancashire. The past year has been incredibly rewarding; at classes each week, my Silver Swans’ enthusiasm is infectious.
It was such an honour to be asked to film for the BBC documentary Darcey Bussell: Dancing to Happiness. Having Dame Darcey Bussell, celebrated ballerina and President of the Royal Academy of Dance, join in my Silver Swans ballet class was an experience neither I nor my Silver Swans will ever forget.
Filming with Darcey and Pamela Gordon, the documentary’s director, was an absolute joy – their warmth and friendliness put everyone at ease.
For me, the wonderful thing about Silver Swans is that each person joins for a different reason: I have ex-professional dancers through to those who have never taken a ballet class before. Regardless of their dance experience or reason for joining, their happiness does not stop when the class ends. My Swans often talk about how elated they feel in the hours and days following a class. Dance is every bit as beneficial for mental health as it is for physical health.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been offered the chance to take part in such an important documentary. Mental health has featured prominently in the news recently, and I hope that the topics discussed by Darcey and all participants of this documentary will continue to challenge how we think about mental health."
The programme is available on BBC iPlayer.