Rambert highlights the use of dance in medicine

Britain’s national dance company, Rambert, invites arts practitioners and healthcare professionals to a day of workshops, panel discussions and practical sessions, with opportunities to share and discuss experiences, learning and insight around dance in healthcare. The event marks the conclusion of a three-year programme run by Rambert and supported by City Bridge Trust, exploring the therapeutic and wellbeing benefits of dance in a variety of healthcare contexts, from regular dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s or dementia, to working with patients in hospitals and day centres.

The day will include panel discussions, practical sessions, performances and a keynote speech from Dr Daisy Fancourt, Senior Research Associate at University College London, and author of new book Arts in Health: designing and researching interventions (Oxford University Press, 2017). It will take place on Friday 24 November at Rambert’s Southbank home, entitled Perpetual Movement: a symposium on dance and health. Ultimately it aims to explore how the dance and healthcare industries can work together to establish dance as a widespread medical intervention.

It is clear that there are enormous physical benefits to be gained from dance, but progressing dance’s use by health practitioners means it is vital to hear from both sides of the practice in the same forum. Rambert is one of a handful of organisations which provides Dance in Health programmes, also enjoying successful partnerships with NHS hospitals in London. However this activity relies on private funding and many are adamant this should be readily available across the country to anyone that needs it. The symposium will help bring both sides closer to recognising dance as a valuable medical concept.

Dr Daisy Fancourt is Wellcome Research Fellow in the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at UCL, and an honorary Research Fellow in the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine. Her research focuses on the effects of arts participation on neuroendocrine and immune response, the use of the arts within clinical settings, and the impact of cultural engagement at a population level.