Throughout the summer I took part in a series of wonderful community events entitled ‘Tea Dance With A Twist!’. One ‘Tea Dance With a Twist!’ event took place each month from June to August and worked in partnership with local businesses such as Miss Ivy Events, Plymouth City Bus, The Duke of Cornwall, Plymouth Culture and Arts Council England to provide a programme of dance for people over the age of 50, promoting not only the joyous benefits of dancing but it ensures social engagement; an opportunity to bring the community together. An Independent Living zone is present at each event offering support, services and products that enable independent living.
My role throughout each of the events was a ‘Student Practitioner’. At the beginning of each event the team of ‘Tea Dance Twisters’ of which I was part of would introduce ourselves to ensure we could be identified. Each event was structured in a similar way as we had live music by wonderful bands such as ‘Metropolis Swing Quartet’ that provided composition for all genres of social dancing, in particular Waltz, Cha Cha and even Lindy Hop. Part of my role was to engage with people who attend the events. For me, personally this was my favourite part as I thoroughly enjoyed simply having a friendly chat about memories of dance, have a cup of tea from the Vintage Tea room provided or even about everyday life. I felt these interactions built strong bonds and allowed connections and relationships to form. These conversations often led to dancing with one another. Getting the opportunity to dance with a wide variety of people was a valuable experience as I often stepped away after dancing having learnt so many new things. The events aren’t just about bringing people together, it’s a chance to share experiences and learn something you may have never learnt before.
As part of my training for the ‘Tea Dance With a Twist!’ events I attended Dance and Parkinson’s course as well as Dance and Dementia training course. Both these training opportunities are valuable resources as it allowed me to adapt any movement phrases to promote accessibility, a key aspect of the Tea Dances.
Seeing everyone smiling and leaving feeling happy at the end of each events is something I will carry with me. I have gained so many transferable skills that I can apply to own practice such as communication, flexibility on movement phrases, further awareness and understanding of dementia, Parkinson’s and other disabilities and working in an intergenerational context.
I’m so excited there is going to be another 8 events and can’t wait to see lots of new faces.
Chloe Brown | Student Practitioner
Tea Dance With a Twist!
For more information about the next Tea Dance With a Twist! please click here