Scottish Ballet has recently been awarded £150,000 by the Life Changes Trust to enable the company to become dementia-friendly, setting up a programme of dementia-friendly dance-based activities for people living with dementia, their carers and families across Scotland. The funding will also help the company raise awareness about the condition, with activities taking take place in Glasgow, where Scottish Ballet is based. Activities will also be taken to cities where the company tours, including Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
Central to the programme will be weekly dementia-friendly dance classes, designed to be fun, accessible and inclusive. People with dementia and carers who participate in classes will also be invited to attend performances, visit rehearsals and meet the dancers. In light of this, staff will be given dementia-specific training, so more activities can be offered to those who are unable to participate fully in the programme, such as those living in care homes. In Scotland it is estimated that around 90,000 people have dementia; this number is increasing because the population is getting older, and the number of people with dementia in Scotland is estimated to double by 2038.
The project builds on Scottish Ballet’s ‘Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland’ project. There is now a diverse range of dementia-friendly communities funded throughout Scotland, continually meeting the needs of people with dementia and their families. This new initiative through the Scottish Ballet dance community will make dance more accessible, raise awareness about dementia, and explore the ways in which dance can contribute to the wellbeing of people with dementia and their families.
Scottish Ballet is Scotland’s national dance company, established in 1969. The company has built its reputation on commissioning and touring, and regularly presents at premier theatres and events such as Sadler’s Wells and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as abroad including Europe, Asia and North America. Scottish Ballet’s primary aim is to provide programmes of world-class dance performance and educational activity.