Dance to Health: spotlight on Angela Conlon, our lead dance artist for Oxfordshire

Dance to Health is a pioneering older people’s falls prevention programme run by Aesop (Arts Enterprise with a Social Purpose) which South East Dance is partnering in, along with NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. The sessions have been delivered in centres across Oxford for over four months now. 

The programme combines evidence based exercise with the creativity and energy of dance. In addition to building strength and balance, the scheme significantly impacts older people’s lives by reducing social isolation, creating opportunities to build friendships and by supporting mental well-being. Angela Conlon, Co-Founder of Dance Active, a not-for-profit dance collective, is our go-to dance artist who has been delivering Dance to Health sessions at the Bullingdon and Barton community centres in Headington as well as selecting other dance artists to deliver the programme.

Angela trained at Roehampton Institute gaining a BA in Dance Studies, attended Graham & Cunningham Dance Studios as well as performing at the Judson Church while in New York. Angela has carved a career in Arts Management which has included working as Strategic Director of Wiltshire Dancing and leading on a new initiative at Witney Community Hospital Creating with Care. In 2007 Angela developed a project with the Institute for the Care of Older People, undertaking research into the impact of dance on Dementia which clearly evidenced the cognitive and physical benefits of sequential movement in an interactive environment. 

Currently, Angela’s working on A Million Memories – the journey we are now on, an interactive performance project that is raising awareness of early onset Dementia which will premiere at the Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot in September this year. Of Dance to Health, Angela says:

“I find the work I do very rewarding, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, and through this type of practice, we encourage social interactions with some participants creating strong lasting friendships and we all come away feeling that we have danced.” 

Thank you Angela, we’re blessed to have you on the team!

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