South West London Participatory Dances
Supported by an Arts Council England grant Beatrice Allegranti Dance Theatre has established regular bespoke Participatory Dances across London – for people living with young onset dementia and their partners/spouses/family carer. The dances have taken place in Arts Centres and Galleries, Dance Studios, a Dementia Neurology Unit and a Hospital Ward. Participants have offered us poignant and often overlooked insights into their lives during our weekly Participatory Dances where we have created bespoke choreography and music based on families experiences of living with one of the many dementias. The creative process is informed by a unique blend of dance movement psychotherapy and choreographic practice that Beatrice has developed over the past twenty years.
The bespoke choreographic material is being also being developed for a dance theatre work-in-progress: I’ve Lost You Only To Discover That I Have Gone Missing touring London during the Autumn 2017.
Below is a short video documenting the South West London Participatory Dances that took place this year at Merton Arts Space and St George’s Hospital. The video includes reflections from participants and dancers.
‘The Participatory Dances allowed the bodies to speak the feelings and emotion which cannons be described by any words‘. Aneta, Dancer
‘It was incredibly liberating to see mum enjoy and be so engaged in the dance. For the first time in a while I was able to leave her own enjoyment without feeling guilt or responsibility’. Rafi, Family Carer and Participant
‘I think the Participatory Dance has surfaced a lot for me as a carer and made me realise that I could use some sort of help, counselling or therapy – I’ve buried a lot’. Judith, Family Carer and Participant
‘This project helps both participants and performers understand wider existential thoughts and feelings in a supportive and creative environment’. Luke, Dancer
Photos: Julia Testa
“Week by week, I don’t know the word but maybe it becomes more, like serious…I feel like we are witnessing an operation or something…quite…with lots of care, and the direct gaze from every participant. We are kind of witnessing an operation – operating dementia.” Takeshi, Dancer