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Dancemind is a dance-in-health organisation which aims to promote health and well-being through dance and movement. We aspire to nurture and support people through community based-arts using dance and movement as its main medium. The work encompasses an exciting programme of classes and workshops, enthusing health and well-being across a diverse range of people at all stages in life. Dancemind supports those in schools, hospitals, retirement villages, residential/care homes and community settings, offering a holistic approach using dance and movement to support emotional, physical and mental well-being. We pride ourselves on specialising in Dance and Movement for older people, we believe that every movement matters regardless of age, ability or experience.

13 October 2015
East Midlands
Arts, Health, Schools
Local Alliances:
Northamptonshire Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Dancemind specilaises in working with those living with dementia, and over the last 6 years has seen significant evidence in how this kind of work can enhance the over sense of well-being with those living with dementia and carers. During some projects an independent evaluation has been produced which noted the impact of the work which included; positive changes in the mood of participants, positive group interaction (participants danced together), positive facial expressions through singing and reminiscence, range of movement increased and the overall group dynamics were joyous. It is known that leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on wellbeing.

Dance is beneficial for physical and mental health and improves the quality of life for people in all stages of dementia. Dance is a very social activity, aiding wellbeing through connection. It is also creative and a way for people to express themselves non-verbally through movement at a time when verbal communication can become difficult. The improvisation element where participants get to move freely to a piece of music allows them to have creative ownership too. Staff, volunteers and carers also engage creatively, enabling new experiences and shared appreciation with those living with dementia.

There is a need for people affected by dementia to access alternative interventions as part of their ongoing care. People with dementia want to stay connected and active despite their disease just like everyone else, and Dancemind is an organisation that makes it their aim to help in doing so in the Northamptonshire area.

As we are aware, Dancemind is the only organisation in the Northants area that offers this kind of work, and so far have partnered up with Shaw Healthcare, Extra Care, Olympus Care and Northamptonshire Alzheimer's Society to enhance the services they are offering to their residents/service-users/clients with dementia.


2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The understanding and appreciation of what dance may achieve in dementia is often superficial or vague. This naturally at first can hinder making partnerships happen to even carry out the work. There is often a resistance to break through this barrier before the realisation of what the work can do to help those living with dementia. It can often come from the dementia establishments themselves, the fear of the unknown. Though more evidence is coming to the forecourt nationally in sharing the positives of what dance and movement can have, it is still a fairly new field. There is also often a misconception on what a dance and movement class will entail, for example - how can someone with very limited mobility and poor memory get up and dance or even remember the moves? The classes are designed to aid mobility and enhance mind-body connection, rather than the aesthetics of 'getting it right'.

As Dancemind is a non for profit organisation, it can be difficult to gain investment in this work and often means applying for funding to carry out the work. Which brings it back to the challenge of making successful partnerships and breaking down the arts to health barrier.

Member website


2. Actions

  • Profile raising dance and movement for dementia

    Dancemind will use the work being carried out in the county to highlight the benefits of dance and movement for those with dementia. To share and promote the work, creating future opportunities and assist in forging new partnerships locally.

    Being implemented
  • To register as a ‘dementia friendly business’

    Dancemind will use the ‘working to become dementia friendly’ logo once the process is in place.

  • Contribute towards dementia friendly communities in Northamptonshire

    Dancemind will promote the work of the DAA through the classes and projects being ran and encourage all organisations met to have a look at how they could be dementia friendly, and this to include arts based industries.