You enter into a dance studio: the youngest is 19yrs, the oldest 73yrs. And all decades in-between are covered.
There is Alan, a cheeky humorous Geordie. Naomi, shy but intuitively attentive. Hazel, who is up for anything. Tracy, anxious but so musical and who has an astonishing movement memory. Then Ed who loves to Jive with his wife, Moyra. They move across the dance floor to Elvis putting the ‘trained dancers’ in the studio to shame. And then Emily and Alex are there for all.
Welcome to the About Being stroke survivors community dance and movement session. Students, members of the community, lecturers, and artists fill the space.
To answer your concern, no, the 19 year old has not had a stroke. Whilst rare, you can have a stroke even when a child. Naomi is a dance student at Cumbria University who is interested in the field of dance and health and involved in the project as a Dance Support.
We have a lady of 50 who had a stroke at 48 – young for this condition. She is here to build confidence and be amongst others further along the journey of stroke recovery who are embracing life. And how they do. Hard working determined individuals.
It is difficult to describe exactly what we do in a session as it can shift from week to week in response to how people are feeling in the group. But it goes smoothing like this: we ‘arrive’- wake the body up with gentle stretches and movements; we go through short sequences that are repeated and built on week to week: repetition is key to embedding neural pathways that may have been damaged during a stroke. Then we may watch Naomi perform a short improvisation and we explore how we can translate her movements into our bodies to create a new dance.
In About Being, it does not matter what you ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ do. There are no ‘rights’’ or ‘wrongs’. Simply, we are a group of people who love to dance, who see each other as equals and come together on a Wednesday morning to move, create dances, share, stories, laugh, reflect….and enjoy the coffee and biscuits courtesy of Cumbria University!