An Evaluation of the Impact of a Creative Contemporary Dance Programme for Older Adults

Melinda Spencer, Eadie Simons

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


The Elders Dance Company was established by Dancemind in January 2020, providing a contemporary dance programme for people over 60 years old, in Northamptonshire. This year (2023) Dancemind delivered a 2 stranded version of the programme (re-named Dance Elders) offering an ‘Open Class’ – a class for dancers to enjoy creative contemporary dance without the pressure of performance – and a ‘Performance Company’ - a group focused on developing a performance company and being part of a Midlands network of Elders’ companies. For the first time since its inception, both groups were open to social prescribing with the dance facilitators working with local social prescription services. The dance programme ran over three terms, with sessions occurring once a week (1 hour for the open class and 1 hour for the performance company directly following the open class). This was the structure of delivery for the first two terms. In term 3, the day of delivery changed and Dancemind delivered an hour of dance to all dancers, followed by a session for the performance company. These adjustments to the structure of the open and performance classes stemmed from low participation in the performance company. Participant feedback from terms 1 and 2 highlighted financial constraints, with some feeling excluded from the core dance exercises if participating in the performance class only. The strategic decision was to designate the open group as the primary offering, with the performance class as an optional add-on featuring reduced fees for accessibility and allowing for the two groups to continue.

Dancers from the performance company also had the opportunity to take part in a curtain raiser performance (performing in the theatre atrium before a show), as well as two exchange events (whole day events that bring together a network of Elders’ companies from the Midlands).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Northampton
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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