Useful movement, dance and dementia links

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Remember to dance – I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to be able to circulate this wonderful evaluation on the national and international network. A huge thank you to Dr Trish Vella-Burrows, Dr Lian Wilson and team at Sidney de Haan and to Fergus and all at Green Candle Dance Company for enabling this evaluation to happen (and funders too of course!). The findings here are indeed a milestone for the development of dance & dementia work both here in the UK and internationally. The evidence becoming stronger and stronger and just what we need. – Dr Richard

The Phenomenology of Dance – An important anniversary edition to publications in the field, for those of you not already aware, from one of the leading authorities on the ‘phenomenology’ of dance.
Thanks to Donna for sending this on. – Dr Richard

Australian Journal of Dementia Care – volume 4, ‘Everyone can dance’

Dance movement therapy with the elderly: An international internet-based survey under taken with practitioners
This is from Dr Iris Brauninger and sent to the whole European Association of Dance Movement Therapy network. This is a great paper and very helpful to all of us working here in the UK and internationally. Thanks to Routledge/Taylor & Francis for making this freely available.

Dementia Partnerships – the story of the Dance Movement Psychotherapy Service in Calderdale has been published on the Dementia Partnerships website.

Embodiment and dementia by Donna Newman-Bluestein

Working as an artist with people with dementia, John Killick

Montreal to get first dance therapy centre, Montreal Gazette

Boston Globe Arts Therapy & Dementia

‘After you are two’ Kate Organ, The Baring Foundation

Revisioning dementia care through embodied practices including Dance Movement Psychotherapy, a small quantitative and qualitative study in the National Health Service (UK) Dr Richard Coaten, Dance Therapy World Congress Athens


Creative Approaches in Dementia Care – a practical introduction to the use of the arts in dementia care Hilary Lee & Trevor Adams

Dr Richard Coaten has a chapter in this book, ‘Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Dementia Care’.

Age and Dancing – older people and community dance practice Diane Aman

Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently Cathy Greenblat

Playfulness and Dementia John Killick 

Dementia Positive John Killick


Crossing borders and the in between: DMT at the leading edge, Athinais Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece (Thursday 5 October- Saturday 7 October 2018)

European association dance movement therapy (EADMT) in collaboration with Greek association dance movement therapy (GADT) announces third EADMT conference.

The Athens conference call for papers has now come out.

Please look at the conference themes and decide if you would like to prepare and submit an entry about them in a style such as a paper, poster presentation, workshop by the deadline of 10 January 2018. Your submission will be reviewed by a conference review committee. All contributions are welcome with the opportunity to meet your European family of DMTs.

“It takes courage to stand where we stand simply as we stand”. Bani Shorter Jungian analyst, ‘Border people’, 1982.


American Dance Therapy Association, San Antonio, Texas ( Wednesday 1 to Thursday 5 November 2017)

Richard has been invited to be a member of the international panel representing the UK towards the end of the ADTA conference in San Antonio, Texas. The panel is called: ‘Dance/movement therapy and the older adult client: healing pathways to resilience and community’. We have contributed to his expenses and he is one of a number of international experts on the panel from USA, Netherlands, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Hong Kong & India. As a leading specialist in dance movement psychotherapy with older people with neuro-degenerative conditions, Richard will speak about the development of his work and his role as a dance movement psychotherapist on Beechdale Ward (The Dales, Calderdale Royal Hospital) following a significant increase in hours which meant the opportunity to make more of a difference.

For more information about the conference visit their website.

Dance projects/organisations

New ‘Dance and creative movement sessions for those living with dementia at York St John University from October 23rd to November 15th 2015. They take place every Tuesday morning from 10.30 to 11.30am in the Dance Studio at the University.

For more information, contact Elaine Harvey, Senior Lecturer in dance at the University.

Hoot movement sessions – Dr Richard Coaten is hosting a number of movement sessions in Huddersfield and Batley in partnership with Hoot Creative Arts. You don’t need any previous experience to attend, and the sessions don’t require anyone to remember steps from a previous week or learn any particular technique. The sessions are simply about spending time together, getting to know each other, and having fun. For more information and details of how to take part, visit the Hoot website, or contact Dave or Moira at Hoot on 01484 516224 or 07880 731767.

Merseyside Alzheimer’s Society An 18-month programme offering a range of activities for people living with dementia.

Parkinson’s UK dance group Halifax

Where the heart is– an art project taking place in dementia care settings in the Preston area.

Foundation for Community Dance (now called ‘People Dancing’) Based in Leicester and directed by Chris Stenton. ‘The professional organisation for anyone involved in creating opportunities for people to experience and participate in dance’. A great source of information, support, advice and resources for the independent dancer

Older Men Moving Project Green Candle Dance Company London

Green Candle dance company – remember to dance

Circle Dancing : This project has now moved under the management of Dementia Pathfinders which provides a range of therapeutic support for people with dementia and their carers. Both Kath and Cynthia from Circle Dancing will support Dementia Pathways to promote and develop their training programme

Chaturangan Dance Company Run by Bisakha Sarker, a pioneer of South Asian Dance in UK, now developing innovative movement and dance based projects in Liverpool.

Marina Rova Marina is currently studying for her Doctorate at Roehampton University covering ‘Embodying Kineasthetic Empathy’.

Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI) Liverpool-based organisation doing pioneering dance work with older people and those with memory problems and led by Churchill Fellow Rachel Rogers and team.

Movema: Moving Minds Based in Liverpool working in the Arts and Health sector and led by Penny Caffrey and colleagues.

Dancemind  Run by Tina Heeley based in Northampton, a dance practitioner, specialising in dance-in-health. Tina has been doing very innovative work in day centres and care homes with people with memory problems and their care staff.

Dance for PD offers dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease in Brooklyn, New York.

Dancing for dementia – dancing with mood & memory. This project is based in Cambridge and gives people who have lost the skills of, or option for, ordinary conversation an opportunity to express themselves in a different way.

Dementia charities

Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Disease International


Resilient Lives: Building Strength  through Dance Movement  Therapy – Here is the  official trailer  of  the European Association of Dance Movement Therapy produced film  “Resilient Lives: Building Strength  through Dance Movement  Therapy”. This is the  online premiere of the main 26min long film which  will be released in a few weeks. Watch this space! N.B. in the film I am interviewed talking about the work I do with people with dementia and their carers and I will post the link to the main film as soon as I have it.

We Danced – We Danced is a three-year intergenerational project that celebrates the connections we make through dance, and contributes to reducing social isolation and loneliness amongst older adults. It was developed with residents of a care home and a primary school in Sheffield. The project was one of seven selected from 280 applications to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s film fund, and a short documentary film about We Danced has been made by Day for Night Films.

Get Rhythm – Many thanks to Tamar Draper and Charlotte Hanson (Lo:cus Dance Theatre) based in Hull for their great new addition to the archive. It really is a lovely piece of work and full permissions have been given for this to go out nationally and internationally. – Dr Richard

How dance classes are helping people with dementia – a BBC film.

A ‘belter’ of a short film from the North East…where else! Thanks to Catherine for sharing this, dancer Nadia and all the dancers in the film. Great stuff…and please note this project has received CCG funding AND is very popular with participants I understand. – Dr Richard

Helix Arts are producing “Falling on your Feet” – a dance and health programme for over 65s who live independently  to the west of Newcastle. They won funding from NHS Newcastle/Gateshead CCG who were keen to see innovative approaches to countering social isolation and preventing falls. This ITV film was made at the beginning of the programme.

Northumbria University’s Cathy Bailey is working on the “light touch” evaluation.


SMILE is a snapshot film of an integrated dance session held at the Cambridge theatre space, The Junction CDC.

Whether you are someone caring for a person living with a Dementia, someone working with Dementia, a community dancer interested in healthcare, a dancer or artist, or simply an interested person, this film shows how important and joyous it is to bring the Arts to people from all walks of life, and at all stages of life. One of the most important things our group achieves is to reduce people’s sense of isolation and loneliness. We come together and create a community that brings results to us all.

Directed by Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, director of DanceMoves, and filmed and edited by Toby Peters, of Marmalade Panic, it is a film that gives all kinds of audiences, world-wide, the opportunity to view what an integrated dance session looks like

Lemonade – A big thank you to Donna in Boston for sharing this inspiring film from New York. It’s 10 minutes in length and well worth watching. Blink and you will miss the dancing, but it is there! – Dr Richard

Cambridge University Hospital Dance Project – It’s Something Different / DanceMoves showreel – Many thanks to Filipa and her film colleagues for 2 exceptionally fine pieces of work evidencing some very high quality dance & dementia work in a hospital in Cambridge. – Dr Richard

Dance in Devon – In January 2014 Dance in Devon began a 12 month project giving older people in residential care access to a quality arts experience. Having engaged with 168 older people across 8 residential homes, they captured one individual’s experience – Margaret’s film.

Dance Me Home –  There is a plethora of films coming through at the moment which is quite wonderful. It’s indicating at least to me that our dance and dementia field is both vibrant and growing and film does a lot to raise our profile. To that end, I am sharing a very beautiful film by Barbara Karmazyn from British Columbia. – Dr Richard 

…scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on ‘Dance Me Home’    

On Being / transcript – Big thanks to David and Susan for this link to the work of the late Bruce Kramer. There is a link to a radio interview below which is 51 minutes long and also the transcript of it. I listened to the interview first and then took a look at the transcript. The reason I am sending this out on the network is that while Bruce Kramer had ALS (Lou Gerigh’s Disease), all that he talks about in relation to it and its life-transforming impact on his life can be transposed (in my opinion) across to dementia. We can learn a lot from him and his thoughts in relation to dementia and disability of any kind. Especially his idea that ALS (or the dementia condition?) becomes a way to open up the world and life and the possibility for us to grow more in relation to it. – Dr Richard

Elderly lady drops amazing dance routine to beatboxer

Give the angels wings – Thanks to Bob for the link to this inspiring short film about ‘The Company of Angels’ from Nova Scotia. – Dr Richard

How dance classes are helping people with dementia – This excellent little film highlights the great work Fergus Early and Green Candle Dance Company have been doing in London on this particular project, with the research being carried out by Dr Trish Vella-Burrows and team from Sidney de Haan Research Centre in Arts and Health, Canterbury Christchurch University, UK. – Dr Richard

Bedford TV in the US have released  an interesting interview between Dr John Zeisel (Hopeful Aging) and Donna Newman-Bluestein DMT from Boston, USA. It is 35mins long and a perfect way of introducing her work and approach.

“Contrary to the great Western myth of the strong individual, we are all in fact formed and developed through our relationships (Gergen 2009) and not by our solitary capacity for rational thought. We are persons-in-relationship… Relationships and the perceptions of others are core to human health and well-being. For that reason, the quality of relationships will be crucial to how well or badly people live with dementia.” (p.28)
Hill, H. (2014). Dancing with Change. Australian Journal of Dementia Care. 1(3), 27-29

Breathing Space residency at Ashlar House
A big thank you to Joe Moran at Dance Art Foundation, London, Dancer Lisa Dowler, Music Therapist Roddy Skeaping and residents and management at Ashlar House for the beauty and power of this short film.

As a Dance Movement Psychotherapist here is powerful evidence for what can emerge when highly-skilled artists/community dance workers/dance artists and arts therapists come together to share their skills in the service of those with dementia.

In my opinion the result here is a MUST watch and will be sent out nationally and internationally, as it has relevance to us all wherever we are working in the field.



The Dance Exchange visits Baycrest – Dance Exchange is an intergenerational dance company founded by Liz Lerman that works in senior residences and healthcare settings. Baycrest is a global centre of excellence in brain health and aging in Toronto fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. The dancers were joined by Dr Peter Whitehouse, a Dance Exchange board member and Visiting Scholar at Baycrest and Professor at the university to facilitate a half day training session for Baycrest staff to begin the week. For the remainder of the week, the team performed unexpectedly in various locations throughout the facility and lead workshops with residents, staff and caregivers. The week came together with a sharing in the Winter Garden Atrium on the last day.

Dwell – dwelling in possibility – Dwell is a collaboration between Dry Water (artists Paula Turner and Frances Anderson) and Grand Gestures Dance Collective. It has been shown at the Elixir Festival in London. Paula also has a great report about her Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travels in Australia, Tasmania and the USA.

Soul Journey – a film produced by Verd de Gris in association with Creative Minds and the Arts Council about people, their memories and feelings of living in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire.

‘Moment’ – a film by Filipa Pereira-Stubbs about dancing for dementia – an integrated group dancing around issues of dementia, mood and memory

‘Choosing Wisely’ – a parody of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” – a film about choosing wisely when you make healthcare decisions.

Dance/Movement Therapy and Dementia – Donna Newman-Bluestein from Boston, USA, gives a Marian Chace Foundation lectureon dance movement therapy and dementia.

ILHC 2013 – Invitational Strictly Lindy Hop Finals – Top Lindy Hop dancers from around the world compete to live music by Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five during the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, DC. Useful for showing to dance groups.

Fleeting Moments – Bisakha Sarker MBE and colleagues working with people with dementia and their carers on a performance project hosted by Chaturangan Dance Company which took place in Liverpool in 2013.

Capturing Grace View the trailer for a film on dancing for Parkinson’s disease.

Love, Loss and Laughter A short film featuring the work of Cathy Greenblat.

Dementia and music film wins Sundance award A short film on using music to help patients of dementia has been awarded the ‘Audience Award for U.S. Documentary’ at the annual Sundance Film Festival.

Pleasant View Dance Project documentary trailer This is the long form trailer for the upcoming documentary of the Pleasant View Dance Project which was conducted in Mission, British Columbia from Jan 2012 – June 2012.

Dance Parkinson’s UK dance group Halifax

Karin Diamond, Churchill Fellowship report.  “Theatre and memory work with older people”

Alzheimer’s: A different view For more than a decade, US sociologist Cathy Greenblat has been travelling the world studying the treatments offered to people with dementia.

Breathing Space ‘What a wonderful world’  This project is jointly funded by the Trust’s Creative Minds initiative, Kirklees Council and the Rayne Foundation, providing opportunities for people with early-onset dementia and their carers to take part in movement, dance, music and visual arts in weekly sessions.

Dancing Nana– 88-year-old American lady still enjoying dancing.

Nicola Jacobson’s work at Mindsong

Konfetti im Kopf  ‘Confetti on the brain and dementia’ German film (English subtitles)

Day centre attendee listens to Cab Calloway Famous YouTube clip about an American older person in a Day Centre listening to the music of Cab Calloway on an iPod and coming alive.

Dr Ann Basting, Director of the Centre on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee, is a world-leading specialist in thinking about and developing new approaches in arts and dementia. The following is a link to a podcast ‘Forget Memory – Try Imagination’, a lecture given at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 about her visionary thinking and what Ann calls ‘Creative Engagement’ amongst other ideas.

DanceABILITIES: An Introduction

You Said You Liked The Dancing A collaboration with choreographer Janice Parker, where she got people with dementia to dance. Filmed at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling.

Dance4Parkinsons Film by the Foundation for Community Dance and Anna Leatherdale.


A 30 minute podcast/interview between Serge Pringle and Tina Stromsted Tina is a pioneering movement analyst, jungian analyst, dance psychotherapist, teacher of Authentic Movement and founder of an institute in the US and much more more. She uses a quote from Mary Starks Whitehouse in her work. “Movement to be experienced has to be found in the body not put on like a dress or a coat. There is that in us which has moved from the very beginning, it is that which can liberate us.”

Treatment of the Elderly Extract from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond’s new book.

Research and development

Useful links to a dementia research site for research /evaluation tools

Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Durham

SCIE Dementia resource

Improving dementia education and awareness (IDEA)  a new and excellent resource for developing ideas in the dementia field at Nottingham University. The contact is Beverley Smith.


CareDance – Katrina Pavlovsky is a dance movement educator offering a form of ChairDance classes to seniors in facilities and care homes.

Age of Creativity An online platform to share, celebrate and inspire work in the field of arts and older people. This also includes a webinar with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and their fellows exploring international experiences of programmes and practice involving the arts and older people.

Dementia Positive Pioneering work in the field of arts and dementia care, and a site hosted by John Killick and Kate Allan.

Creative Arts for Dementia Network

Creative Dance 60

Creative Minds  Pioneering arts and health project developed by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Counter Point Dance Company

Paula Guzzanti – ‘Dance for Well-being’ Northern Ireland

Dance in Devon

Equal Arts Newcastle based arts organisation, providing creative opportunities with older people living in the North East.

Hoot Creative Arts Huddersfield based arts organisation currently running ‘Breathing Space’ Project for people with early onset dementia.

Ladder to the Moon Theatre based work in London.

Hearts and Minds Elderflowers programme based in Scotland.

Lost Chord Music making for people living with dementia.

Lowri Evans and Storybox, Manchester

Mark Making –  a website on the arts in dementia care.

Society for the Arts in Dementia Care (Canada & Australia)

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust– The Arts & Older People – Creative Ageing

Training opportunities

Training course and apprenticeship scheme in reminiscence arts in dementia care – these courses are for practitioners who are interested in and/or experienced in positive approaches to dementia care. Various dates available.

Reminiscence & Dementia – Please find attached the latest flyer for the European Reminiscence Networks training and apprenticeship scheme.


Contact us

If you would like us to link to your website, or work around movement, dance and dementia please email