Lead Dance Artist
Arts on Call, South/West Devon Team
Thursday 4th November 2021
Today was a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies and sunshine, perfect weather to start phrase three of Arts on Call! We have new members of the team: Martha as support dance practitioner, and very happy to have her onboard dancing after project managing Arts on Call for almost a year! Judy volunteering, with lots of lovely skills and dance experience to share and Matt delivering wonderful music on the keyboard, guitar and trombone!
We met early in Yelverton to rehearse, and as some residents were ready and waiting to watch they got a double helping of our performance! Residents were sat in a large bay window with one elder, who had been a dancer, coming out to join us well wrapped up in a blanket; we were able to talk to her about her dancing days, and she expressed how excited she was that we were here today. Residents responses were wonderful, they sang and joined in with many of the moves, especially ‘Rock Around The Clock’! Overall is was a great first session, with much joy generated for everyone concerned!
At the second session we were met with an offer of a cup of tea that went down very well and then danced on a patio where over twenty residents were sat in large lounge looking out onto it. We had a wonderful response with one resident Gwenda standing and dancing for the entire session, she loved it, picking up all the moves so beautifully; we all thought if we needed any more support she could join us! There was one gentleman in another room further along with a carer, I took one of our placards saying ‘Please join in’ and he did. Together we did the hand-jive, it was a very special moment and lovely to have a dance on a one-to-one. As we left I noted several residents were up and dancing with staff and were continuing the dance session – fabulous!
The third session took us to Tavistock, unfortunately we had to say au revoir to Matt at this point as his car had developed a puncture! Fortunately I had my speaker with me, so we hastily pulled our music playlist together and met the activity coordinator who was very happy to see us. All the residents were sat in a large conservatory where we had an outside patio to dance on with a gazebo. Windows were not allowed to be opened due to in-house Covid restrictions, so the speaker was taken inside for the residents to hear the music, this meant we could only hear thin strands of it through the double glazed windows! However, we worked to hear as much as we could and managed to keep the dances coordinated between us! Residents were frail and obviously very unwell at this care home, there were plenty of staff on hand to support and as the music got going many woke up and became more aware of what was happening, and a couple of elders even got up to dance with staff, which was wonderful to see. Overall three lovely first sessions bringing joy and much enjoyment for everyone!