Pictured above (L-R): Grethe Braekkan, Arnhild Staal Pettersen, Linnea Marielle Norton, Guro Myhr Gulstad

Last week, we said “velkommen!” to some special guests from Norway. Visiting to take a look at our work with older people in dance, Grethe Braekkan, Arnhild Staal Pettersen, Linnea Marielle Norton and Guro Myhr Gulstad spent a busy few days in the UK, taking part and observing in a variety of events around the south.

The first full day of their trip was spent in Salisbury, where they were able to take part in a workshop and observe a rehearsal, both facilitated by older dance company Dance Six-0 at Salisbury Playhouse. This was followed by a visit to Salisbury Hospital, and the chance to watch Elevate dance artist Louisa White work with NHS patients across two sessions.

The following day, the group stayed in Bournemouth and spent their time at Pavilion Dance South West for a jam-packed day of participation and exploration. Starting with a tour around the PDSW building, the dancers were shown the performance spaces and studios – as well as a look behind-the-scenes to meet the  PDSW team! Next, they were shown back to the Seafront Studio to take part in our ‘Older and Perfect‘ dance class. “Wow! Are they taking part in the class? They are very young OAPs!”, laughed one regular class participant, who was surprised to see the new faces as she walked in to the studio. After a break for lunch, the dancers took some time to talk to Aimee Smith and Louise Hopley (our teachers for the Older and Perfect and Parkinson’s Dance classes) about their work at PDSW, before heading in to join the Parkinson’s Dance class (which sounded like good fun from our office upstairs!). The final part of the day included a performance from The Quay School, after their week-long residency at PDSW with Alistair and Kurt from Urban Playground, followed by a question and answer session with the pupils and Urban Playground.

On the final day of their visit, the dancers spent the day in Taunton at the Breathe event – a day for dance practitioners in the South West – who specialise in working in health and wellbeing settings – to come together, feel part of a wider body of similar people, find out information, take part in workshops to get new ideas or just to relax, sit back and watch films and a performance.

The ladies returned to Norway bearing the PDSW logo (see the photo above!) and shopping bags (thank goodness for the local Primark!).

We hope you enjoyed your visit, ladies – it was great having you!

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