Dance treatment for dementia

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Fleeting Moments performance in action ©Simon Richardson

Fleeting Moments performance in action ©Simon Richardson

Dementia sufferers attended a performance of Indian, Chinese and contemporary dance to help treat the disease which affects memory loss in the elderly.

Fleeting Moments, the event at The Bluecoat, was run by North West dance company Chaturangan and dance was used to enhance the health and wellbeing of people with early onset dementia.

Artists worked with a focus group to plan the project before audience participation was encouraged.

Chaturangan artistic director, Bisakha Sarker told JMU Journalism: “I am trying to extend a helping hand to those living with dementia and their companions.

“As opposed to the condition dementia itself, it is giving them an opportunity to attend a dance and music performance, like any of us, to lift their spirits.

“There is no claim to show it slows the process or cure it. However, if someone who is living with dementia strongly believes that it slows down the process at least that is how he feels.”

In 2010, the company held the first ever national dance and dementia conference in Liverpool which included dance performances and films teamed with academic papers to show how dance can help those with mental health problems including neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

They have also worked with the families and mothers of children with disabilities to teach dance routines for them to perform.

Bisakha Sarker ©Simon Richardson

Bisakha Sarker ©Simon Richardson

Biskha added: “The dream to produce this show came from the belief that every moment is precious and we can give people a chance to live in the present moment and enjoy that time. It is known that even if one cannot remember what happened they can still remember that they had a good time.”

Chaturangan work with several partners to help those with disabilities thorough the art of South Asian dance. They receive funding from Liverpool City Council and the Arts Council to carry out their projects

Dr Richard Coaten, NHS dance movement psychotherapist, called the performance ‘cutting edge’.

The next performance of ‘Fleeting Moments’ will take place in September. Tickets cost £5/7. For more information on Chaturangan and their work please click here.

About Rachael Bentham, JMU Journalism