Dance teacher Emma Lindsay, on right, with music teacher Fiona Logue.
A Derry dance teacher who is delivering a new age and dementia friendly event says she has been amazed at the transformative power of music and song.
Emma Lindsay is facilitating Moves & Melodies at the Millennium Forum alongside fellow dance teacher, Claire Harkin, and well-known music teacher. Fiona Logue.
The Forum recently launched the new initiative, which offers older patrons the opportunity to dance, sing and reminisce.
And it has already had a positive impact on those taking part.
The project is aimed at those aged 60 and over and is also dementia friendly.
"My granda has dementia but if you sing him a song he knows every word," said Emma. "When people with dementia hear a song they know they can relax for a while and it brings them back to a time they remember.
"It speaks conver- sation about the olden days.”
“They will tell you stories about when they were younger going to dances at The Corinthian.
"Music and dance unlock their memories and positive emotions from days gone by."It's really heart warming to watch.
"One lady who attends the monthly tea dances at the Millennium Forum with her mother said 'a little bit of her comes back when she comes here'. The project is open to older people and their partners or carers.
"As people get older they can stop socialising as much and especially if they have dementia," explained Emma.
"People have said to us that 'Move and Melodies' is great because it's something they can do together.
"It has great physical benefits too.
"We began gently with a chair based warm up and then a waltz but soon they wanted to jive.”
The project is part of an ongoing Access programme produced by the Millennium Forum in close collaboration with Access to Arts for All (AAA), a new charity with is supported by and based in the theatre.
Professor Dolores O'Reilly, chairperson of AAA, said: “Access to Arts for All, (AAA) is delighted to welcome ‘Moves and Melodies’ to the Millennium Forum; this is an age and dementia friendly event.This project provides another enjoyable and fun-filled opportunity for those in our community who would benefit from it most.
"AAA is very grateful to our sponsors, especially the Arts Council (NI) and our partner, the Millennium Forum for helping us achieve our aim of widening and increasing participation in the arts for all.”
Lisa Heaney, box office and access manager at the Millennium Forum, said:“We are delighted to offer this event as part of the continuing development of our accessible performances at the Millennium Forum.
"We are working incredibly hard to ensure that our venue is fully accessible to all our patrons and we greatly recognise the importance of removing barriers for people living with disabilities.
"We couldn’t achieve this without the help of our Access sponsors and funding partners Specsavers, Diamond Corrugated, the Arts Council NI and AAA.”Moves And Melodies is a free event and is now completely sold out.”
For more information on how to be added to the waiting list, contact the Forum's box office on 02871 264455. www.millenniumforum.co.uk
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