Guest blog by artist Tina Heeley
Over the last 10 weeks I have had the pleasure to be providing dance and movement sessions with the community of Corby age 65 plus that access the Autumn Centre. I say pleasure, as that is exactly what it has been for me, my participants of the group have given me as much joy as I hope I have given them…and still do.
My weekly sessions have been running on a Tuesday for an hour where we sing, move and dance together predominantly seated. We have been working on some set sequences guided by me, which also includes input and improvisation from the group alongside an array of props such as percussion, bands and scarves to music across the decades.
When I first arrived at the Autumn Centre I was met with trepidation, the unknown of what I was about to impose of them was real to them, they had no idea really. When you say come and join a dance class, especially to people who are older, have mobility issues or cognitive impairment, the first thing that often comes to mind is ‘I can’t do that’. Dance is seen as something that requires agility and talent and often for the young. I like to challenge this belief in a reassuring way, that actually dance can be extremely accessible and welcoming to all regardless of the limitations we can frequently place on ourselves as we grow older.
As we age the body continues to evolve, it is not that it becomes less, it just becomes different. I like to embrace this concept and celebrate that we (all people) can still move in some way while having some fun. This is exactly what has been happening at the Autumn Centre, so after being met with trepidation and an echo from people saying ‘I think I’ll sit this one out’, by week 3 my group had doubled in size. Since then I have seen the confidence from my regular group of participants grow incredibly, bodies opened up and new conversations and stories shared. The sessions are really connecting people together through a shared experience, and we are now dancing the Can Can (yes you read that right) and chair jiving amongst other things on a weekly basis and we look forward to celebrating our work in March 2020.
These sessions form part of the ‘Time to…CREATE?’ arts programme which offers creative activities for over 65s exploring dance, music, visual arts and theatre. This work will be showcased at a celebration event held in Corby at the Corby Cube in March 2020. You can find out more about all these activities and events HERE and on our What’s On page.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old: we grow old because we stop playing” George Bernard Shaw