In recent years, much of my daytime teaching time has been given to community outreach classes for older adults. The college that I do most of my adult education work for, the Mary Ward Centre, has an outstanding outreach department, offering classes in conjunction with partner organisations such as charities, community centres, sheltered housing associations and more. The aim is to widen participation in adult learning by bringing the classes out into the community and make them more accessible to people who may not come in to classes at the main centre.
The health and wellbeing benefits of dance for older adults have been well documented (a good example here: https://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2016/04/04/keep-dancing-turns-good-brain/ ) and my participants often cite improved balance, coordination and memory in their end of term evaluations. That’s in addition to the fact that it’s simply good fun, the music is uplifting and it’s a great way to make new friends. As a result, the classes have mostly been oversubscribed, with many of our partner centres putting on extra classes to meet the demand.
Dancers have had the option to take part in performances and even take IDTA medal tests. Due to COVID, I still hold their medals and certificates from recent exams, so made a virtual presentation instead:
My college has had to furlough many tutors, including me, this term so this part of my work has come to a temporary halt but plans are in the pipeline to offer some classes online next term so hopefully it won’t be long before we can dance together in some form. When that’s confirmed, I will update this page with more information. In the meantime I have shared some videos and resources via my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dancetraineducation if any regular (or prospective) students want to have a look.