Trinity Laban’s Health, Community & Older People projects

In Nick’s final article in the Trinity Laban series he looks at the extensive mix of Health, Community and Older People projects offered by the Learning and Participation (Dance) Department.

Trinity Laban has a world leading community participation programme, which has been cited by the Office for Fair Access as an example of Best Practice and boasts over a decade of high quality activities.

The latest project, kicking off this term, is Dancing Ahead. Funded by Headstart Lewisham, Dancing Ahead will offer fun and creative dance classes for young people in a Lewisham primary school to support their transition to secondary school. Classes are experiential and centred on the interests of the participants who will be fully involved in the creative outcomes of the activity. This group is targeted at young people at risk of low resilience and poor mental health.

Louisa Borg-Costanzi Potts, Projects Manager says, 

“This project has been created to support young people to be happier, healthier, and more resilient in today’s changing landscape. Through engaging in dance as an expressive and creative art form, young people are able to develop a range of skills to allow them to cope better with change, build successful relationships with peers and teachers, and raise aspiration through creative and cultural engagement. We are really excited to be working with Grinling Gibbons Primary School on this project and hope to develop and consolidate a successful model of support through engagement in this exciting art form.”    

In partnership with Headway – the brain injury association – weekly classes are held in the Laban Building in Deptford for those who have suffered an acquired brain injury or stroke. This project supports the health and wellbeing of this group of people, providing experience of moving and dancing in a safe and supportive environment.

This summer Trinity Laban will work with Kaleidoscope again to provide services for local children and young people who have special health, education or social needs. Kaleidoscope brings together specialist community services for health, disability, mental health, education and social care.

Trinity Laban provides one senior dance artist and one experienced dance assistant to deliver a weekly programme for Kaleidoscope in collaboration with their resident physiotherapists. This programme is the first project of its kind on such a scale in the UK!

Pulse Dance, Create, Activate a Happy, Healthier You!
Trinity Laban also runs Pulse for 7-13 year olds, which takes place during the school holidays for young people in Lewisham. Pulse offers a supportive and encouraging environment where young people can learn different dance styles, learn about healthy ways to fuel the body, watch professional dance performances and create dances to show to family and friends

Vital Arts - Photo Roswitha Chesher
Vital Arts – Photo Roswitha Chesher

Vital Arts
The Department has been working with Vital Arts, as part of The Royal London Children’s Hospital, since 2010. The L&P (Dance) Department works alongside two teams of paediatric physiotherapists, the hospital school and play specialists to roll out dance residencies. This fully inclusive dance and creative movement programme includes sensory work for those with special needs, bespoke one-to-one classes for patients undergoing neuro-rehabilitation, cardiovascular workouts for respiratory patients, creative movement for babies, toddlers and their parents, with street dance and hip hop with those attending outpatient clinics. Sessions take place in play areas, clinics, wards, waiting areas, classrooms, physio gymnasiums and a giant internal play space – proving that dance need not only take place in a studio!

This summer Trinity Laban will be working with older people in the hospital for the first time ever.

As well as this new venture with Vital Arts the Learning and Participation team across music and dance hosts four established groups for over 60s. Retired not Tired includes Dance for Health, All Singing All Dancing, The Arts Befriending Group and Bellingham Young at Heart.

Dance for Health is a weekly dance class held at the Laban Building, with a Pilates element that allows a creative grounding in contemporary technique to flourish. This class has had opportunities to perform at many platforms including at the Brighton Dome in November 2014 in the Three Score Dance Company’s Winter Festival. Groups from across the South East come together to perform at this spectacular event.

Genie Gabel-Dunk, Dance for Health dancer, says,

Attending the weekly creative dance classes at Trinity Laban offers me an opportunity to combine my efforts in maintaining my mobility at seventy four, challenge my memory and thought process and provides a platform in which I am able to engage with others in my age group socially, within a context that is fun, creative and stimulating.”

The three other groups that make up Retired Not Tired take place across Lewisham and allow over 60s to experiment with music and dance, whilst meeting new people and having that moment in the week where they can be creative and have fun.

Dance for Health in action - Photo Roswitha Chesher
Dance for Health in action – Photo Roswitha Chesher

As you can see Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation (Dance) Department works hard to make dance accessible to as many people as possible! Nick has now finished his internship at Trinity Laban and was astounded by the amount that goes on. He learnt a great deal from the team in the Department and also the many participants that he has had the pleasure of working with. Nick says,

If you aren’t already participating in the array of activities at Trinity Laban then get involved now!

By Nick Kyprianou