You’re never too old to dance!

I have had such a creative and busy weekend. I visited the Year 5 & 6 pupils at Craig Cefn Parc and taught them to Waltz on Friday. Yesterday I organised a mini performance and private screening of the Nutcracker at the Odeon Cinema for 200 pupils, parents and grandparents in our tiny toes community. Finally, today, I ran an immersive theatre spy party for my 9 year old son and his friends.

You may ask yourself "Why do all that in one weekend?"(I often ask myself the same thing). But I just love it- all that creativity, joy, happiness and the coming together of everyone of all different ages to socialise and have fun together, it’s just wonderful to be part of.

Seeing so many people of different ages coming together this weekend and socialising, made me think of age and why we sometimes see it as a barrier. We hear people say “I’m too old to….”

But surely are we ever too old to have fun, to socialise and most importantly to dance?

The wave radio station is running special campaign this week from 12th- 17th November ‘Don’t Dance Alone’. It is to tackle the growing issues of loneliness amongst more than 75,000 people aged over 65 across Wales. Two in five say their pet or their TV is their main form of company and the government report that about 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month.

I was so honoured to be helping the campaign this year by ensuring the pupils of Craig Cefn Parc, who are organising a Tea Dance in their local community, feel confident to ask their guests to dance and socialise with them at the event. The children were so enthused to be organising such a worthwhile experience and they were all so dedicated and focussed in their task of learning to waltz. They were a real pleasure to teach and I am sure the tea party will be a fun, happy and sociable experience for all the generations involved.

Dance is not just about fun though. It has so many more benefits and whilst dance is widely renowned as beneficial to all ages and walks of life, a recent survey has found the benefits of dance for older people have not been fully appreciated. The study found that dance can be an effective alternative to health programmes, acting not just as exercise for physical benefits, but also as a social, cognitive and often emotionally positive activity. The government has recently announced a new approach for GP’s to prescribe dance, art and music classes through a new multi-million-pound Government scheme. Aimed both to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce demand on NHS services.

This is not just about dance but also the understanding that society is based on giving and receiving across the lifespan. Children have developmental and educational needs, and so do older adults. When people of all ages share their talents, support each other, and forge meaningful connections, both individuals and communities’ benefit. Later this month our tiny toes students will be visiting nursing homes to dance and socialise with the residents. It is one of the highlights of the year for everyone involved.

The health benefits of dance coupled with the opportunity it allows to meet up with friends and make new ones is a perfect combination. So, if you do feel like socialising, having fun and getting your dancing shoes on take your parents, grandparents, grandchildren or yourself to one of the free #DontDanceAlone events happening this week. Just click here to find a free event near you