Canada’s National Ballet School’s Sharing Dance for Active Seniors program, developed in partnership with Baycrest Health Sciences, provides active seniors with access to the social and physical benefits of dance.
Currently in pilot phase, this project has two special components. First, NBS has developed this dance program to be accessible for seniors living out in their communities—often far from accessible dance studios and quality dance programs. With both standing and seated options for dancing, the program is further accessible for all physical abilities.
Second, this project is testing alternative delivery models. Technology is allowing us to teach the class from a studio at NBS in downtown Toronto while 15-20 participants gather at a Community Care Centre in Ennismore, Ontario.
The pilot program began in March 2017. Rachel Bar, Manager of Health and Research Initiatives at NBS, has been key in the program development and is a co-facilitator in delivering the classes via livestream each week. She knows how much all the participants are enjoying the classes, and they’ve shared that they would like the classes to continue.
“The good news is that this pilot is only the beginning,” says Bar. “Now that we have seen that our program and delivery are working, we are hoping to bring the program to more communities across the country. In addition we have partnered with the Trent Centre for Aging & Society to help us research the benefits of this program for the community.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada funding for Sharing Dance will support the development and assessment of this project along with other Sharing Dance initiatives.
“We believe these programs will have physical benefits as well as emotional and social benefits for Canadians,” says Bar. “Further, not only are we optimistic about the health benefits Canadians will experience through participation in these programs, but we will be achieving this by building a stronger and more accessible Canadian culture of dance.”