One of the few things better than the beauty of dance is the joy of sharing it with the ones we love.

Sometimes the people closest to us face challenges that limit their ability to access the arts, so we are working towards making dance accessible for all.

Progress continues within Scottish Ballet towards making our entire organisation dementia friendly through our Time to Dance programme.

Thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust, we have recently held workshops in day centres and care homes as part of the Luminate Festival, which celebrates creativity as we age. The festival programme featured hundreds of creative events reaching people of all ages and communities nationwide.

Part of our involvement in the festival was a visit to Nazareth House, where members of Scottish Ballet staff hosted a session for residents.

The response we received from Laura O’Neill, Deputy Manager of Cardonald Nazareth House speaks volumes:

"On behalf of all the residents and staff at Nazareth House we send a massive thank you to you and your team.

Thursday was a day of enjoyment, excitement and energy to all parties in the home, this was all thanks to your team, during their visit to the home, they shared their love and enthusiasm to everyone, they made us all feel young and so much alive.

Who would have thought ballet could be so energetic? Using parts of the body that we often forget about as we age, yet Thursday proved that no matter what age you are, how stiff you may feel, exercise can rejuvenate the body, mind and soul resulting in our residents exercising as though they were in their late twenties, in fact they embarrassed some of the staff with their movements.

I thought it would be nice to share some of the feedback from our residents:

‘I didn’t think I would come into a care home and partake with the Scottish Ballet, wait till I tell my family this.’

‘Oh I would love to do this every day as it has made me feel young again’

‘Today was one of the best days in a long while, to be honest, I was hesitant in coming along to the event, and all I can say I am overwhelmed by the content of the event, the company and the overall warmth from everyone, these ‘people’ should be recognized for how they have enhanced my daily life, God bless them’.

For those residents who are less fortunate to be able to communicate verbally, it was very visible from their facial expressions and body language that they also enjoyed the event, seeing a smile, a little shoogle of their shoulders, tapping of the feet and clapping of their hands, just made us all feel that life is a treasure no matter what age and you and your team just brought the bling back into their life’s.

We cannot thank your team enough."

Members of Scottish Ballet staff, dancers, researchers and musicians have also recently received training and mentoring from Rambert, Alzheimer’s Scotland and Hearts and Mind to continue building knowledge and experience working with people affected by dementia.

Soon we will be receiving training from the NHS and working towards establishing a regular schedule of inclusive classes as part of our Time to Dance programme.

If you would like to know more about Time to Dance, please contact Miriam Early, Dance Health Coordinator.

Image above of Bob & Evie from our Dance for Parkinson's Programme.