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Seeking connections between dance and dementia

Published: 19 April 2021

  •   Research
People sitting on chairs in circle performing dance with hands

York St John senior lecturer in dance Elaine Harvey has been offering free weekly dance sessions for people living with dementia and their friends and family members for the last four years.

With lockdown putting a stop to the meetups, Elaine Harvey is leading research which seeks new connections between dance and dementia. The Moving Minds project explores dance as a way of conveying dementia and the physical experience of living with the condition.

The research group are calling on those with a dementia diagnosis, or anyone close to them, to take part in the research and answer one specific question: 'if dementia was a dance, what kind of dance would it be?'. 

Answers to this question will be brought together to create a sound collage of voices which captures something of the lived experience of people with dementia.   

Elaine hopes that the project will go some way in challenging the way dementia is spoken or written about. “Dance, with its emphasis on reciprocity, balance, exchange and animation has the potential to create a powerful counter-discourse; a significant challenge to the plethora of metaphors connected to the inanimate and the passive”.

The group are collaborating with Chris Gregory director of Alternative Stories, who creates audio dramas, podcasts and documentaries.

Given the current Covid guidelines people will be asked to record a response to this question using the voice memo function on a smart phone, or people can also record a response via Zoom. Anyone interested in participating will receive advice on how to make and send their recording.

If you are interested in participating please email Moving Minds at: or call/text Elaine on 07881 922343

Follow the project's Twitter @MovingMindsYSJ

Researchers are hoping to collect the majority of responses by the end of April 2021.

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