Breathe Dance

For Strength and Balance

Breathe Arts Health Research are excited to be developing our dance programme in partnership with the Physiotherapy team at the Older Person’s Assessment Unit at Guy’s Hospital, looking at the impact of dance to improve strength and balance for older patients with vestibular conditions, recovering from stroke and at risk of falls. In addition to clinical impact, we are measuring the social and mental wellbeing benefits dance can bring.

Here are some facts:

  • Falls leave 280,500 people in A&E*
  • Falls increase frailty, reduce confidence, increase social isolation and reduce independence

*Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 2015

When I start the class I’m sore but when I finish I feel like I could run out – I feel 30 again. It’s given me confidence and I’ve become friends with the other people taking part.

Breathe Dance Participant

Following positive patient response from our pilot in 2017 in partnership with Dance Umbrella, we now run weekly sessions led by Breathe Dance facilitator Stella Howard, incorporating physio inspired dance exercises in a fun group setting. This programme allows Guy’s and St Thomas’ patients to be socially active, expressive and move creatively to music, enhancing both physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Breathe Dance facilitator Stella says: “I am absolutely loving getting to know such interesting individuals and see their confidence in movement return. I think for many the apprehension on the first session around what a ‘dance’ class might entail, soon wore off, as the joy of connecting and moving with others put everyone at ease.

We aim to forget about the woes of balance and stability, and to enjoy moving. The progression in 10 weeks has been astounding! Several people started the term with walking aids (which they’d keep close by throughout the session). The same people now don’t even have them. The joy of rhythm and connecting with other people, raises the spirits and physical confidence.

The physio studio has become our stage, in which to lift our postures and strut across the floor!”

Check out Breathe Dance in the news on Southwark News.