Blog by Dan Jeffery

Arts on Call, North Devon Team

Thursday 11th November 2021

We spent the afternoon in and around Torrington. At the first care home we performed outside on their driveway, it was the first performance where the residents were sitting outside in front of us (with blankets!). It was great to perform without windows and doors in between us and they were a very responsive audience and engaged, joining in dancing in their chairs. One lady said her grandmother and mother had lived in South Africa and how she loved it there herself. Identifying with us as African performers this generated these pleasant memories for her. Her happiness was evident as she constantly waved her hands throughout the performance. Some of the residents and staff were very focused on my hair and music and enjoyed calling me him Jimi Hendrix! The interactions between everyone were very happy and there was a lovely intimate atmosphere.

Dan, Becky and Jennie performing

Next we performed outside in a very small court yard with the residents up close indoors behind two windows spread across the corner of the courtyard. The atmosphere seemed to gain momentum as our show went on with lots laughing, smiling and joining in. Lots of them got up out of their chairs and danced. One man in particular was very unresponsive to begin with but during one of the songs something seemed to awaken and he very slowly stood up in a stage-like manor to the music and suddenly surged with energy; he stayed up and danced till the end. They gave us tea and mince pies afterwards and it was great to review our experiences and bond as a team.

North Devon team performing

Some great feedback from some of our visits in November:

“It had been a rough time at [care home] and your dance performance cheered everyone up” – Care Home Manager

The residents truly enjoyed the music and the dancers. It was a joy to see some of the residents dancing along and to see their smiles. The performance was very colourful and encouraged the resident’s participation. I especially loved the signs.” – Care Home Staff Member

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