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A teacher in a blue Scottish Ballet t-shirt demonstrates a one outstretched hand brushing the other, which the adult class in the background mirror.

Scottish Ballet launches as a national centre for dance health

We’re excited to announce that Scottish Ballet has launched as a National Centre for Dance Health. Having delivered innovative work within this field since 2013, we have been able to reach and engage with communities in Scotland and beyond through our classes, health resources, online programmes and research studies.

Dance health can be defined as providing holistic, evidence-based movement activities that help to manage the physical, mental and social wellbeing of those taking part. To develop and evaluate our dance health practice, we have worked closely with health and care professionals from Scotland to embody the principles of the Scottish Government’s Realistic Medicine approach which provides a clear, forward-looking vision to deliver value-based health and care that is rooted in careful and kind personalised care.

SB Health is made up of pioneering multigenerational dance programmes that offer creative experiences to improve the health of those involved, including:

SB Health classes for people living with neurological conditions
Central to our contribution within dance health is our SB Health strand which includes three programmes for people living with neurological conditions; Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland (DfPS), dementia friendly dance project Time to Dance®, and SB Elevate® for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Each class is created and delivered by an award-winning dance health team that is made up of full-time dance education professionals, who have become trained specialists within this area.

It’s completely changed the way I live with my MS. When I dance, I feel free. I’m free of judgements, I’m free of obligation, I’m free of responsibilities and it just gives me the chance to be me.

Heather Elland, Elevate participant

Social Prescribing for SB Health Classes

In line with Scottish Government’s Realistic Medicine which acknowledges that there are many circumstances where a non-medical intervention may deliver better outcomes with less risk, we are proud to be partnering with the Health & Social Care Alliance Scotland to explore pathways that seek to place our dance health programmes into mainstream health and social care settings.

Health at Hand® movement resources for health and social care professionals

Scottish Ballet’s work within the healthcare system is exemplified through the creation of Health at Hand® – a programme of on-demand movement-based resources for health and social care professionals, founded during the pandemic. Created in collaboration with NHS Scotland and Scottish Government these preventative sessions continue to be rolled out to empower participants to manage stress through movement; alleviating areas of physical and mental stress on those working in the NHS and social care services.

Emerge for people living with long Covid

Whilst areas of society emerge out of the pandemic, long Covid continues to impact the lives of over 150,000 people in Scotland. To support individuals with the management of long Covid symptoms, Scottish Ballet’s new project collaborates with people living with long Covid, alongside partners including the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop Emerge; a programme of live and digital movement resources that aim to build confidence and resilience by focusing on alignment, breath, mobility and posture.

BSL Resources for people with access requirements

Following a period of consultation, training and development we have created a new British Sign Language (BSL) resource as part of our SB Duet project with integrated work from Deaf performer Amy Murray. SB Duet is a package of interactive digital dance films for people with reduced mobility to enjoy at home, in care homes and in hospitals, or to share with their companions or carers. This new BSL resource further promotes Scottish Ballet’s commitment to provide dance for everyone.

 

At Scottish Ballet, we believe that dance can be for everyone. As an organisation, we are dedicated to using and sharing our skill, expertise and passion to bring the benefits of movement to people of all ages and backgrounds. The work of the SB Health team centres the company’s commitment to inspiring on stage and beyond, connecting with communities in Scotland and beyond to promote the physical and mental benefits of movement for all.

Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet

 

Safe to Be Me® to be rolled out into secondary schools

Following the success of delivering Safe to Be Me® in primary schools, we are proud to be delivering the project in secondary schools from February 2023. Having connected with nearly 1500 young people across Scotland, Safe to Be Me® is a project that uses dance to encourage young people to explore identity, acceptance and respect by introducing them to topics such as ableism, homophobia, racism and transphobia. This innovative programme uses dance to introduce young people to core project themes, working creatively with them and experienced dance practitioners to develop movement skills and encourage self-expression through the exploration of areas including culture and ethnicity, family makeup, LGBTQ identities and disability.

First time ballet experiences for young adults who face adversity

Alongside Safe to Be Me®, we also work with young people through their project called The Close which provides a first time ballet experience for young adults who have faced adversity during childhood. Delivered in partnership with specialist education providers including The Kibble Care, this vital education project provides at-risk young people with a new and enriching cultural experiences.

Connecting with communities through partnerships

We are passionate about connecting with people from all backgrounds, and committed to addressing barriers, challenging discrimination and providing experiences for people from underrepresented backgrounds. Scottish Ballet work with organisations to promote creative collaboration and intercultural dialogue across the SB Health initiative. This year, for example, SB Health will continue to develop projects with Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre and The Dixon Community through their dementia-friendly Time to Dance® programme.

By launching as a National Centre for Dance Health, Scottish Ballet is furthering its commitment to being pioneers within the field of dance health. I am proud of the work that the SB Health team continue to deliver, and the impact that each programme has on the communities of people that we connect with. We will continue to use dance as a connector to improve physical and mental wellbeing, whilst working to address barriers so that everyone can access our activities to celebrate the dance in each of us.

Catherine Cassidy, Director of Engagement at Scottish Ballet

I’m delighted with the launch of the Scottish Ballet’s National Centre for Dance Health which brings together all their existing health and wellbeing programmes under one banner. This demonstrates the important role that cultural and physical activities such as dance can play in supporting health and well-being such as Scottish Ballet’s dementia friendly and Parkinsons/Multiple Sclerosis dance programmes.

Neil Gray, Culture Minister

 

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