Dance to Health is an older people’s falls prevention dance programme developed by Aesop.

A £2.3 million expansion programme will now build on a successful pilot in 2016 and an evaluation report published in February 2017.

The expanded programme will run for two years from October 2017 through to 2019 involving over 800 older people and 800 volunteers. 63 programmes will be delivered across England and Wales in collaboration with regional health, social care and dance partners.

Dance to Health responds to the issue of older people’s falls. Falls are traumatic for older people and cost the NHS £2.3 billion per year. Dance to Health aims to be an effective and cost-effective falls prevention programme, offering older people the choice of a dance-based alternative to existing evidence-based exercise programmes which are called FaME and Otago. All Dance to Health ‘Dance Artists’ (the programme session leaders) are trained in  Otago and FaME.

Announcing the expansion, Tim Joss, Founder and Chief Executive of Aesop, said:

“If an arts programme is evidence-based, can benefit patients and save the NHS money, then it deserves to be available to all patients who could benefit, anywhere in the country. Our goal is for Dance to Health to be the first such programme.”

The Health / Social Care Partners for Dance to Health phase 1 roll out are   –

  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Connected Care Partnership (NHS Vanguard in Sandwell and West Birmingham)
  • NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Royal British Legion care homes
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

The Dance Partners are all Arts Council-funded national portfolio organisations expert in working with older people:

  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Cheshire Dance
  • DanceEast
  • National Dance Company Wales
  • South East Dance
  • Yorkshire Dance

Aesop has benefited from and will continue to receive advice and support from experts in ‘Dialogue Partner’ organisations:

  • Age UK
  • Arts Council England
  • Centre for Ageing Better
  • NHS England
  • NHS Horizons
  • One Dance UK
  • People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance)
  • Public Health England
  • Social Prescribing Network
  • Sydney Medical School
  • University of Oxford Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences

Dance to Health Phase 1 Roll-out is generously supported by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding, Nesta and Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Ministry of Defence Aged Veterans Fund and foundations (Esmée Fairbairn, Rank, and Peter Sowerby).

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