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Coronavirus & Cheshire Dance

Latest News: October 2020

 

Moving Moments - Age Proud Month

"International Older Persons Day" took place on October 1st 2020; but throughout the whole month, Cheshire Dance has been celebrating and championing older adults in our community with its project, 'Moving Moments- an initiative to ensure that older people keep active, healthy and of course, keep on dancing.

From hosting a free taster virtual dance session on 21st Oct for active older adults for "Get Online Day" (Cheshire West and Chester Libraries), to creative movement sessions for carers in conjunction with Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust, and pre-recorded seated and standing dance activities for older adults, Cheshire Dance is spending 'Age Proud Month'  highlighting the important contributions that older people make to our society and working to ensure that as many older adults as possible have access to dance.

 





For this "Moving Moments" initiative, Cheshire Dance has also come together with a local artist, Rachel Almond, to create five beautifully designed prints to inspire and encourage older adults in Cheshire West to stay active. In an A5 format, these specially commissioned "Moving Moments at Home" watercolours feature tasks and activities on the reverse to encourage people to integrate movement and dance into their daily lives.

With thanks to funding from Sport England and support from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Age Friendly Lache and Sanctuary Housing, at the end of October 100 older residents will receive these prints. We hope that they will be displayed in homes as a reminder to keep on moving for enhanced health and well-being.

Discover more here.

 


 

Update: October 2020

Participants Share Their Stories

Throughout the pandemic, whilst Cheshire Dance has been unable to deliver face-to-face classes it has successfully adapted its practices to ensure that its participants can keep on dancing. Back in March it created a virtual dancing community, taking 10 classes online. Six months later, it asked participants how they felt about dancing online with Cheshire Dance. We asked if dance was of any benefit during lock down and if the artform had enhanced their mental and physical well being during the pandemic. 

Without a doubt, it's clear that dancing with us has become a staple in their lives, bringing structure to their weeks and improving their emotional responses to this very difficult situation. Many of these participants had never danced before and yet have since come to rely on our weekly sessions. 

This video is their story.

 

 


Update: August 2020

CHALK! Activity Packs


During the week beginning August 10th, 150 families in Lache and Frodsham received our CHALK! Activity Packs. Specially designed by Dance Artist Emily O'Shea, these packs contain ten different activities for children and their families. All activities inspire imagination, outdoor play, drawing, writing… and, of course, dancing!

Cheshire Dance is delighted to have worked with Emily as a commissioner of these special packs, which have been funded by The Westminster Foundation and Cheshire West and Chester Council through the COVID-19 Community Response fund.

Emily will also be encouraging everyone to send in images and videos of those exploring the activities at home, which will be transformed into a special CHALK! Film to celebrate the creativity of families during this unique summer period.

View more here.

 


 

PRESS RELEASE: 15th July 2020

Cheshire Dance has helped to keep us healthy and connected throughout lockdown

 

 “It’s been a life saver, really. Cheshire Dance has been with me every step of the way through lockdown and I want you to know that my family and I really appreciate it. You made isolating at home that bit easier and gave me regular opportunities to stay active and in-touch with others.”


From Chester and Ellesmere Port in the West, from Northwich to Winsford and from Macclesfield to Congleton and Crewe in the East – as well as many villages in between – Cheshire Dance has always taken its work into local communities. But with the arrival of the pandemic and the UK’s subsequent lockdown in March, it was suddenly unable to deliver face-to-face community classes for the foreseeable future.


From the outset, Cheshire Dance winner of the 2019 One Dance UK "Dance Healthcare Practitioner Award" – vowed to keep communities connected despite social distancing measures. Three months on, having transitioned from face-to-face activity to a virtual community, it celebrates that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities (including many groups identified by their protected characteristics) have continued to dance together.

Through its initiative: “Keep Active. Keep Social. Keep Healthy. Keep Dancing with Cheshire Dance!” the organisation delivered more than 720 ‘virtual dance meet-ups’ by the end of June. This included 12 previously existing weekly classes, as well as new live and interactive sessions, virtual training and industry-connecting discussions.

Director Adam Holloway explains: “Enabling access to dance and the dance profession underpins all of our work and as usual, large numbers of people have been engaging even in lockdown.  At a time when we all had to focus on those things most vital to us, we have seen many people choose dance to help keep them active and creative.”

In all, Cheshire Dance has supported over 5,800 online attendances and video content has been streamed a further 2,000 times. The sessions have brought together groups of young people, older adults, people living with dementia and people with disabilities, alongside training groups of independent artists and industry debates with colleagues in other organisations via Dance Consortia North West. It has given so many people the opportunity to enjoy a dedicated space where they can focus on all aspects relating to dance engagement, practice and resilience.

Other steps taken to ensure that everyone everywhere during lockdown has been able to access and enjoy the benefits of ‘dancing at home’ (including older adults in care facilities and individuals with complex needs) have included the creation of pre-recorded activities and specially-created home resources.

Following the relaunch of its YouTube Channel this April with newly released content to meet the needs of diverse audience types, its playlists for older adults and for those with learning disabilities have achieved 24.2K impressions and 2K views over a watch time of 53 hours. This audience has largely comprised of female viewers between the ages of 45 and 64 who have returned on average x2.5 times to repeat the recorded activities.

Other initiatives currently taking place within the organisation include the creation of ‘Dancing at Home Resource Packs’ for people with learning disabilities and autism – thanks to support from the Vivo Care Choices Community Fund – and an Educational Resource Pack for schools working with Key Stages 1 and 2 children.

Creative Director Jane McLean adds: “Dance has been so important for so many of our participants. Parents have considered our sessions ‘a lifeline’ both for themselves and their children, and our older adults are in firm agreement that the live and interactive classes with their regular groups have helped them to feel less lonely and more motivated whilst remaining alone at home.

"It has been clear that the community has felt connected and together through dance during this very difficult time. Cheshire Dance is delighted to have played a role in keeping the community active, healthy, social and, of course, dancing.”  

 

For more information on Cheshire Dance's Virtual Classes, please click here

 

 


It’s clear that in these difficult times dancing is good for the heart, the mind and the soul, and we’re delighted that we can keep delivering opportunities to dance with the support of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Arts Council England and others.

Partnership working behind the scenes is so important in supporting engagement - particularly amongst the most vulnerable groups.  For decision-makers and those responsible for investing scarce funds in recovery and response, Cheshire Dance is a long-trusted partner of many organisations and a frontline service in tackling the effects and impact of the pandemic on our society. 

So often hidden, the benefits of dancing together are clear. At present the need is so great and there is little doubt that the participatory arts are immensely cost effective.

 


 

Update: 7th July 2020

Dance and Education During COVID-19

At Cheshire Dance we work with schools across the borough to enrich the learning and lives of young people through dance.  Our approach is inclusive and person-centred and our artists are passionate about delivering creative interventions that champion the health & wellbeing of students.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst Cheshire Dance has suspended the delivery of classes in schools, the team still remains committed to keeping young people dancing.

Not only is it running weekly live and interact ONLINE CLASSES, but to ensure the art form still forms an integral part pupils’ home education, it has created Dance Learning Resource Packs for KS1 and KS2.

A *NEW Education Offer* has also been put in place to enable schools to continue to integrate Dance into their curriculum with Cheshire Dance in a safe and effective manner. Find out more by clicking here.

 


 

News Update: 12th May 2020

A Message to Participants and Artists of Cheshire Dance:


It’s fantastic to see you still dancing with us at a distance. Whilst this may feel somewhat different to dancing in a face-to-face group, we hope our new virtual classes are helping you to stay active, connected, uplifted and creative. So many of you expressed a need to keep on dancing through these times and our dance artists were delighted to witness just how beneficial the virtual classes have been. Thank you for all the positive energy you bring that helps make Cheshire Dance’s dancing community so valuable to so many!


Since Cheshire Dance transitioned to online sessions at the start of the lockdown, there has been no fee for participants to join us on Zoom in this trial period. During these strange times, ensuring everyone continued to dance TOGETHER has been our main priority – and it very much still IS. 

However, the reality is that Cheshire Dance is a small, charitable organisation that needs to keep running to support YOU – our community of dance lovers, participants and dance artists – both now and in the future.  For this reason, from 1st June our online classes will now be charged at their usual rate.

Information on how you can pay for your sessions will be shared with you shortly, but will include options to pay via PayPal, online banking or Debit/Credit Card. Instructions on payment methods can be found here. As I’m sure you’ve guessed handing over cash isn’t an option at present, so we’ll do what we can to make it as easy as possible.

It goes without saying that dance is for EVERYONE and ensuring that the whole community has access to this incredible art form will always be our top priority. After all, dance is not just for enhancing physical health.  As we can see during this lockdown, it is a powerful way to boost positive mental health, uplift spirits and feel connected to others. With this in mind, if you find yourself in financial hardship and feel impacted by this cost, please do speak with us. You can either approach your dance artist or email the team at hello@cheshiredance.org

Very Best Wishes,

 

Your Cheshire Dance Team

 



News Update: 24th April 2020

Despite COVID-19, We're Still Dancing!

Whilst Cheshire Dance has suspended all face-to-face classes and sessions, it is now delivering a selection of sessions online. To date, 10 live and interactive virtual classes have been launched and pre-recorded activities for older people and those living with disabilities are now available to follow at home on YouTube. Our new virtual dancing community can be found by clicking on the images below.

 

 


 

How Can You Help During This Challenging Time?

Times are tough in the world - and the dance sector is no different. But at Cheshire Dance we believe in our team and in supporting our freelancers. With this in mind, we have created a Donations Fund to not only allow us to push through these challenging times, but to continue to support our freelance dance artists that lead YOUR classes. If you would like to help us to do this, please Text CHES001 to 70970 to donate £5. Alternatively, please"Donate As You Feel" here.

 

DONATE 

 

To get in touch with the team, you can still email us at: hello@cheshiredance.org or interact with us on Facebook.

 


 

 

Coronavirus News: 16th March 2020

Cheshire Dance has taken the decision to suspend all classes and sessions with immediate effect (16th March).

Working right across the community and in particular with certain groups that are at high risk of contracting Coronavirus – and given just how fast the virus is spreading and the extent that our dance team works in many different communities – we feel that we have a responsibility to our participants, artists and the wider public to take this step now.

We very much hope this situation doesn’t remain like this for too long and hope we can resume our activities in the not too distant future.

Please do keep an eye on www.cheshiredance.org/coronavirus for updates.

Please note: the Cheshire Dance team is now working virtually. Whilst we will be unable to answer our main phone line, you can still contact us via facebook.com/cheshiredance or email. For general enquiries, please message: hello@cheshiredance.org.

With warm wishes,

 


The Cheshire Dance Team

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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