Scottish Ballet are going to set up a programme of dementia friendly dance based activities for people living with dementia, their carers and families across Scotland, and raise awareness about the condition.

This is thanks to being awarded £150,000 by the Life Changes Trust to enable them to become dementia friendly.

Scottish Ballet Steps Out to Become Dementia Friendly

Participants taking part in a Scottish Ballet Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland class

90,000 people are estimated to have dementia in Scotland. The number of people with dementia in Scotland is increasing, because the population is getting older. Dementia costs the country more than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together.

Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said, “A diagnosis of dementia can lead to social exclusion and isolation, but dementia friendly communities can help prevent this by keeping people included and supported. It is wonderful to welcome a new and vibrant initiative through the Scottish Ballet dance community. This work will make dance more accessible, will raise awareness about dementia, and will explore the ways in which dance can contribute to the well-being of people with dementia and their families.”

Central to the programme will be weekly dementia friendly intergenerational dance classes, designed to be fun, accessible and inclusive. People with dementia and carers who participate in these classes will also be invited to attend performances, visit rehearsals and meet the dancers themselves.

Activities will take place in Glasgow, where Scottish Ballet is based, in a dance studio space donated by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They will also take activities to cities where they tour, such as Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Dance professionals and Scottish Ballet staff will also be given dementia-specific training, so that further activities can be offered to those who are unable to participate fully in the programme, such as those living in care homes.

Scottish Ballet Steps Out to Become Dementia Friendly

Participants taking part in a Scottish Ballet Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland class

Catherine Cassidy, Director of Education at Scottish Ballet said, “Scottish Ballet has over 15 years of experience of leading ballet and creative dance sessions for older adults, including two weekly Dance for Parkinson’s Classes. We are absolutely delighted that, through our new partnership with the Life Changes Trust, we will be able to build on our creative health programme by introducing this exciting new dance and ballet project for those living with Dementia and their families.”

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.