Innovative dance programming for Older Adults

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Dance has been recognized for its ability to foster physical, emotional, and social opportunities. The Sharing Dance Older Adults program brings these benefits to communities everywhere, with professional dance teachers from Canada’s National Ballet School.

A collaboration between Canada’s National Ballet School and Baycrest, the program was created to promote social inclusion for older adults and promote an age-friendly environment.  Regular dancing enriches day-to-day life through creative expression, and nurtures every older adult’s abilities and possibilities, building confidence and motor skills.

“Dance offers a unique combination of benefits for older adults, including those living with dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges,” Emily Sitter, Recreationist, Culture & Arts and lead of the program at Baycrest explains.

“I am happy that my body can still move in ways that I didn’t think it could anymore. I am, after all, 91 now, if you couldn’t tell,” a participant in the program explains. “It is fun to feel like I am in the ballet and dancing along with everyone. It makes me feel good.”

The program offers virtual options for individual dancers and community groups, taught by dance experts with an accompanied live musician. Sharing Dance classes are available as either seated or standing classes, creating an accessible experience for all dancers. “We know that not one size fits all.” Sitter says. “We know that some participants are looking for an advanced dancing experience with the standing option and others are safest dancing fully seated.”

The program is on track to engage 12,000 knowledge users, including people living with dementia, caregivers, and community organizations across Canada in the next year. “Dance is a universal language, where all can participate regardless of age, gender, health limitations, culture, or language.” Sitter says.

Start dancing here.

You can help older adults live their best lives, wherever they are, by donating to Baycrest.
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