dance for health, an alternative approach...

Since summer 2016 I have been commissioned as Artistic Consultant for Dance for Health Rotterdam to bring together their artistic vision, the voices and opinions of their teaching artists and dancers with Rheumatism, Parkinson's and MS into a coherent and inspiring professional development programme for their artists which is first and foremost driven by artistic integrity.

This process brings together their experience as an organisation up until this point, working with feedback from their dancers and the reflection of their artists, as well as looking towards the future and their goal to create a vibrant and innovative centre of excellent for dance and health practice in Rotterdam.

The professional development programme that we have designed is a unique example of the artistic approach of dance for health across their organisation. The CPD course focuses on the individual artistry and potential of the teaching artists, with health rationale underpinning this but not overshadowing it. In relation to my previous research into the value of equality in dance practice, the programme reflects a desire to bring out the contribution of their dancers as equal to the artists. Therefore the model of practice focuses on improvisation techniques and tasks leading to development of choreography in the moment, and the artists are encouraged to explore each of their unique dance practices to find ways of delivering that encourage autonomy and ownership from the dancers. 

I have redesigned the CPD offer for Dance for Health which is now a three day course with a focus on dance artistry and the development of teachers’ artistic integrity and creative thinking. The course includes contributions from expert professionals across dance and medicine including Dr. Laura Daeter from local Erasmus University Hospital and Physiotherapist C-Roy Nimako.

 Artists of Dance for Health map their learning journey throughout the three days

Artists of Dance for Health map their learning journey throughout the three days

As I have previously discussed on my blog, artists who are willing to bring an honest and open version of themselves will be more capable of motivating and inspiring the dancers they work with. This starts with a clear and passionate about our artistic intention, what we are expressing and aiming for in all settings and placing dance as an art form at the centre of you teaching practice.

We hope that the dancers that take part in Dance for Heath classes will benefit from the newly designed CPD course by experiencing the value of dance as an artistic and expressive outlet and as a way to find freedom from the day to day effects of living with a long term health condition. The dancers are artists in their own right and Dance for Health are committed to encouraging their unique contributions to the classes and providing ownership of their dance journey.