A heartfelt plea from Dancing for Well-Being

By Jackie Terry-Schuhmann. Published 2020-03-24
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Jackie Terry-Schuhmann, the founder of Dancing for Well-Being, got in touch with TheBoldAge to see if we could help get the community tapping again. Here are her words.

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

Let’s face it, with Coronavirus virus hitting us like a storm this has NEVER been truer!

As a small not-for-profit community organisation based around Harrogate, we run weekly groups for older people who live in the community. We currently have about 180 members and 21 volunteers. All our groups are for people who have health and mobility problems so what we do is both inclusive and accessible.

You can dance sitting or standing, you don’t need a partner or a good memory. It’s not even important to get the moves right. Dancing for Well-Being is all about bringing people together to dance, to sing, to chat, to have fun! It helps improve your sense of well-being – not just physically, but also emotionally and socially. One of our members said at the end of a session –

“I wish I could bottle this feeling and make it last the week!"

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The people who come to our groups have all kinds of health and mobility problems which make life difficult – arthritis, heart disease, lung conditions, Parkinson’s, dementia, MS, cancer, stroke, to name a few. Many of our members are widowed and live alone, and some are caring for their partner as well as coping with their own health problems.

At Dancing for Well-Being groups, the music and dancing and fellowship can help you put your troubles to one side for an afternoon. You can feel yourself again, the person you are despite the pain and daily struggles. You can be completely in the moment. And there are moments when we’re maybe laughing or singing and there’s a feeling of sharing so much joy together!

As one member puts it -"It’s a tonic – even on a miserable day there is laughter. Music – excellent, exercise – brilliant. Just what the doctor ordered!”

No matter what your abilities or limitations you can experience the joy of dancing and a sense of belonging, connection and togetherness.

Whilst the virus has knocked our groups for six, we’re trying our level best to keep this sense of community going as best we can. We’re keeping in touch with our members over the phone and offering a friendly voice as well as help with the shopping and other essential needs. But we would love to do so much more.

We’ve started providing live streaming sessions on our Facebook page - @dancingforwell - for those who have access to the internet, and we are looking into using YouTube for recorded sessions. However, the majority of our group members, and probably many other older people with health and mobility problems, are not confident or comfortable going online or just don’t have an internet connection. During this period of “lockdown” the only way to offer them exercise that’s appropriate and accessible, great music to sing along to and, most important of all a bit of much needed fun, is to provide sessions on TV and radio. If any broadcasters out there are interested, we are ready to help! We want Dancing for Well-Being to go, dare I say it viral!

If any of TheBoldAge readers could help in any way to get us dancing along again with our members, and hopefully a wider audience, we would be most grateful.

  • The Dancing for Wellbeing Facebook link for the live streaming can be found here