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Dance and older people

Dance for Older People


Between 2013-2015 PDSW is focussing on developing its creative and health work with older people.

Office for National Statistics data shows that 19.8% of the population of the region was 65+ in 2011 and predicts this will rise to 22.8% by 2021.

In 2013 we produced a leaflet about Creative Ageing Through Dance to highlight some of the excellent dance programmes being delivered across theSouth West. We have employed a Dance & Older People Producer, Clare Parker, through 2013 to map activity, and to fundraise for at least one pan regional programme.

UK Day of Older People 1st October 2013

We are developing a concept for a Dance and Older People Festival in the South West – annual or biannual from 2013 – and are part of a national group aiming to found a national festival in 2015.

In 2013 we supported Ros Conlon to independently produce A Dance in Time in association with Dance in Devon. It took place at Dartington on 1 October 2013. Five companies of older dancers from around the region gathered to meet, share their work and learn new dances. There was an open CPD session with Neil Paris and a public evening performance by the companies.  

Download the project report here >>

Dance Companions

We are developing a pan-regional dance companions programme to build and support local networks of older people interested in dance. The programme will enable active older dance volunteers to support less confident and isolated older people to participate in dance sessions or attend dance performances.

We are currently fundraising for a pilot programme for 2014 which will focus on three trial areas working in partnership with the local dance agency and venue.

In My Shoes

In My Shoes is our care home programme, using dance participation and performance to deepen relationships between residents, staff and families within care homes and between the care home and its local community.

We are currently working in partnership with Brendoncare, Aster Care, Age Concern Hampshire, Arts and Health South West, Dance Up!, Dance in Devon and Activate, to fundraise for delivery of a sustained programme of dance participation, digital media and performance in care settings.

Building the infrastructure to deliver sustained programmes

Earlier this year we consulted with agencies and practitioners throughout the South West. This process highlighted a wide range of programmes and projects working with our communities of older dancers across the region. It also highlighted that the development of these programmes suffers from a lack of sustained resourcing.

We are currently developing plans and fundraising to support a pan-regional team of producers focused on delivering long term programmes for dance and older people.

The Life Circles Project

Life Circles is a collaborative project and partnership between Take Art Dance and Core Dance, with a focus on engaging the frail elderly in movement, dance and imaginative play. It ran for two years, with the ambition of supporting the lifelong creativity of older people in eight residential settings in Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Through sessional activity, training and mentoring, Life Circles enabled over 200 individuals to discover their creativity via physical participation in dance. The video below tells the story of the project.

Life Circles was funded by The Baring Foundation, Arts Council England and The Guildford Academic Associates.

Our partners in kind are: Pavilion Dance South West, Activate Performing Arts, Dance in Devon, The Foundation of Community Dance, Age UK, NHS Somerset, The Alzheimers Society and Arts & Health South West.


The South West has the highest proportion of people over 65 in England at 19.8% (2011), and this figure is expected to rise to 22.8% within 10 years. – Office for National Statistics

videos & images

life circles