Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find our most frequently asked questions, grouped into ‘General Info’, ‘Participation’ and ‘Evidence’ categories.
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What is Dance to Health?
Dance to Health is a pioneering falls-prevention dance programme. It integrates key elements of the FaME and Otago falls-prevention programmes used by postural stability instructors in the NHS, with creative dance classes. It is an evidence-led arts intervention in healthcare that leads to significantly fewer and less impactful falls among participants.
Why is Dance to Health important?
Each year, a third of people over 65 will have a fall. Falls can result in serious injury, reduce confidence to do daily activities and lead to social isolation. Fall-related fractures cost the health and social care system £4.4 billion per year. Dance to Health offers a powerful solution. It’s been proven to reduce falls by 58%. If an older person visits A&E because of a fall, the likelihood of their becoming an in-patient is 35%. If a Dance to Health participant visits A&E because of a fall, the percentage reduces to 13%. Put simply, it changes lives.
Who is Dance to Health for?
Dance to Health is for any adult who may be at a heightened risk of experiencing a fall. This tends to be adults above 50 years old.
Is Dance to Health an exercise programme?
While the ‘dance’ in our classes does integrate falls-prevention exercise, it is just as much a means of artistic self-expression. By engaging with a variety of dance genres, delivered by professional dance artists who are PSI-trained, participants get the enjoyment of practicing dance as an art.
Where does Dance to Health operate?
How is Dance to Health funded?
Dance to Health has a variety of funding streams. Our innovation phase 2017-2020 was largely grant-funded. The £2.1 million budget was made possible through the National Community Lottery Fund (45%), charitable foundations (14%), Nesta ‘Second Half Fund’ (12%), Aged Veterans Fund (11%) and the health sector (8%).
Phase 2, launched in 2022, marks a shift towards earned income. Dance to Health is set to achieve complete grant-free financial sustainability through contracts with county councils, health boards and other organisations working in and around arts and health. It is the first organisation of its kind to make this transition.
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How long does a Dance to Health programme last?
Each Dance to Health programme involves two distinct phases, an improvement phase, which typically lasts 26 weeks, and a maintenance phase, which typically lasts 16 weeks, for a total of 42 weeks. These are usually spread out over a 12-month period, mindful of important dates like Christmas and New Year. Participants may join at any stage of a programme, but it is advisable to complete a whole programme.
How can I find out about sessions near me?
Are there age limits?
Our classes are designed for adults only. For the general population, our classes stand to provide the most benefit to those over age 50, but anyone can join in.
Can I bring a friend?
Do I need prior dance experience?
None at all! Our classes are suitable for all experience levels.
Is Dance to Health free?
In most cases, Dance to Health is paid for by local or regional bodies, making it free for participants. In some cases, groups that do not have external funding will ask for a small contribution to go towards paying the dance artist, hiring the venue and purchasing refreshments. Our national online class is £32/month, all of which goes to the dance artist.
Dance to Health isn't available in my area, what can I do?
I want to help out! How can I do that?
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Is Dance to Health effective?
From a health perspective:
- There is no evidence that dance, in general, reduces falls.
- Dance to Health, however, reduces the chances of having a fall in a year, among participants, by 58%.
- 35% of older people who have to go to A&E following a fall are admitted as inpatients. Among Dance to Health participants, this percentage is reduced to 13%.
- Traditional falls-prevention programmes are well-evidenced but dull, leading to a drop-off in attendance and consequently lower efficacy. Dance to Health solves this problem.
From an arts perspective, our dance artists and participants alike attest to the power of creativity in Dance to Health classes. It was important to us from the get-go that our programmes not grow into an instrumentalisation of the arts, but rather activities that have intrinsic artistic value. Thanks to the help of professional dance artists, we’re proud to say this continues to be achieved.
Is Dance to Health NHS-approved?
Further to this, in February 2023 we were featured as one of six leading innovations at the ‘NHS Innovation Showcase’, where we met Chief Exec of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard, and gave a demonstration of our programme, footage of which you can see here.
Why arts and health?
We all know the power of the arts. We may think of a song that transports us, a painting that touches on something ineffable, a film, book or TV show that has changed the way we think, or allowed us to imagine new worlds. Fundamentally, the arts have the power to speak to us, to keep us engaged, to reflect the world back to us, and give us new ways of seeing.
In health, there’s a renewed focus on personalised care. Increasingly, individuals are given power over the decisions that affect their health. This includes pursuing activities around preventative and restorative care. The processes involved in doing so can often seem dry or overly clinical, leading to insufficient uptake or engagement. Arts-based approaches can solve for this problem, providing a creative, expressive gateway to health practices that make a real difference to people’s lives.
Dance to health
Aesop. Wittas House, Two Rivers, Station Lane, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 4BH.
Registered Charity: 1134572 Company Number: 06998306
Dance to Health is a programme created and managed by
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