Breathe Dance for Strength and Balance - Breathe

Breathe Dance for Strength and Balance

Our dance service co-designed with Guy’s Older Person Assessment Unit Physiotherapy team

Breathe Dance for Strength and Balance is for older patients with vestibular conditions, recovering from stroke or at risk of falls, that explores the impact of dance to improve strength and balance.

In collaboration with the Physiotherapy team at Guy’s Hospital and specialist dance practitioner, Stella Howard, Breathe Dance exercises are carefully graded to move participants from the chair, to the barre, to standing unaided over a 10-week course. Partner and group work is embedded throughout to encourage bonding, increase confidence, and build trust amongst participants. The class is accompanied by specifically selected music which aims to motivate patients and add to a creative and fun atmosphere.

NHS patients are offered the choice of attending our dance classes or a standard physiotherapy course as part of their treatment, giving them an alternative approach and element of control over their own healthcare pathway.

Results from our programme show significant improvements to clinical outcomes, psycho-social measures and a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Our research findings:

  • 74% of participants saw a significant improvement in their Timed Up and Go (TUAG) assessments.
  • 80% of participants saw an increase in their gait (walking) speed.
  • 100% of participants said it was an enjoyable experience, many noting the fun and encouraging group atmosphere contributed to the overall success of the class.
  • 92% reported a positive impact on their experience of the healthcare environment.

Comparing the dance classes to the regular strength and balance programme, the clinical referring team describe it as a ‘distinctly different and collaborative atmosphere’. Data shows that the use of dance movements can increase motivation to engage with the exercises, and participants tell us the incorporation of music with movement make the activity feel more ‘meaningful’.

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 others taking part.
Breathe Dance Participant


of participants saw an increase in their strength and balance measured by a clinical assessment chair stand

Our Partners

Breathe Dance for Strength and Balance is delivered by Breathe Arts Health Research and made possible with support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Evaluation Report 2020

Read 'Compassionate Care in a Year of Change', a full Evaluation Report on our Performing Arts Programme at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

Find out more

By supporting our work, you're enabling us to reach more people with our creative healthcare programmes