Dance Well Evaluation Report 2016-2019

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Farmer C

Year of Publication:


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This evaluation reports on Dance Well, a 3 year wellness and dance project led by Akademi, aimed at older people, including those with dementia and other long term health conditions.

Dance Well was conceived as a project to aid the physical and mental wellbeing of older adults through the joy of movement, specifically South Asian dance inspired movements, and born from prior Akademi projects including Ageing Artfully which combined dance, yoga and healthy eating. It was felt that dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Bollywood, amongst others, offered specific nuances not necessarily found in other dance forms, that would be of benefit to the older generation.

The report presents 20 Dance Well case studies, many of which took place in hospital, care or community settings.

There were two main challenges during the course of the Dance Well project: recruiting participants to workshops when there was not a strong partner organisation connection; and collecting evaluation and monitoring information from participants. As it is known that completion of paperwork can be a potential barrier to participation, particularly amongst older adults where it may also prove physically difficult to complete a paper form, many different ways of gathering data were trialled. This included the use of props to answer questions, paper forms, observations, verbal feedback and via digital form. The digital version, completed via large bright buttons on an IPad, proved to be successful and will be the chosen data collection tool in future.

In order to evaluate sessions, various validated tools were also utilised, such as the Arts Observational Scale (ArtsObS) (Fancourt, 2016), Short Form 36, Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), GAD-7 and PHQ-9. The success of data collection via these forms varied from group to group. Some participants were more than happy to complete any paperwork required in order to continue attending the workshops and were keen to help, others saw them as an interference in an otherwise relaxed and enjoyable activity.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Older Adults

Art Forms: Dance

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Farmer C., (2019) Dance Well Evaluation Report 2016-2019. London: Akademi