Service users on the Elmdale Ward at The Dales have been taking part in dance and movement classes as part of the ward’s occupational therapy sessions.
The sessions, which are run by the Trust’s dance movement worker Mary Coaten, act a therapeutic intervention for both physical and mental wellbeing. Each session lasts one hour and involves free dance and movement. No previous experience of dance is required and everybody on the ward is invited.
The benefits of dance are well documented and evidence from health, educational, sports and arts organisations show that the creative and collaborative nature of dance has personal and social benefits, improved general and psychological wellbeing, greater self-confidence and self-esteem, increased trust and better social skills (Arts Council).
During each dance session there is an opportunity for people to express themselves through dance and to a variety of different music styles. Participants are welcomed to take part for the whole hour or do as much or as little as they feel comfortable with.
Speaking about the dance sessions Kath Nichols, who is an occupational therapist on the ward, said, "The dance sessions have been a great way to promote physical wellbeing and they offer a different medium to engage in exercise. Service users have said the sessions have been a really positive addition to the ward activities."
The sessions are now also being held on the recently opened Ashdale ward at the Dales.