Sydney Dance Company identified a growing need to provide high-quality dance programs that are accessible to the broader community, but that also have a direct benefit to the health and well-being of individuals with mobility difficulties.
With the generous support of the Jibb Foundation, Sydney Dance Company, developedMake your Move, an exciting initiative for people with mobility restrictions who want to dance. The program enables Sydney Dance Company to extend their reach beyond existing programs and improve accessibility to dance for participants with restricted mobility from conditions such as Parkinson’s, brain injuries, arthritis and people recovering from strokes.
Initial steps involved forming a consultative committee of experts to advise on the creation of the program to ensure that it addressed issues of accessibility and that its content was appropriate and beneficial to the participants.The pilot workshop was rolled out as an 8-week program at Sydney Dance Company studios at the end of 2017. Participants with a variety of restrictions were involved and all reported feedback about the positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
Based on the success of the pilot program, in May of this year, a free 8-week program was offered inStrathfield and Burwood, with local councils providing venue support and assistance with recruiting participants from the catchment areas. ABC Radio National visited the Strathfield venue to capture an Audio Documentary about the program; to listen click here.http://www.abc.net.au/classic/special-features/why-dance-wellbeing-and-illness/9825568
Feedback from the Burwood and Strathfield participants was fantastic - people saw improvement in their dance skills, confidence, balance and coordination, flexibility, fitness, energy levels, mind/body awareness and social connections. When asked what the best part of the program was, one participant commented:
‘Over the eight weeks I learnt to trust myself again. I found a new range of movement that I had not previously experienced. I really loved the health benefits. I feel like I trust myself more and my body has definitely grown because of the program.’
There is an in-house Make Your Move program currently being delivered atWesley Mission in Fairfield and another 8-week program scheduled forCabramatta later in the year. Sydney Dance Company will also be launching weekly sessions ofMake Your Move at their new studios inUltimo later this year.