What a joy and privilege it was to share music and dance with the wonderful children and young people at the Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth as part of the Live Music Portsmouth Ceilidh Project.
If ever we needed proof of the power of music to motivate and energise we found it when a lovely teenager slid out of her wheelchair to join in with some stepping at the end of the wheelchair ceilidh.
Thank you to the amazing staff at the school and to Portsmouth Music Hub for the funding.
This week will see the culmination of three city-wide folk music and dance projects involving 28 primary schools in Portsmouth over the last 12 months, when over 500 children from these schools get together to dance at six ceilidhs. Arts Council funding enabled Portsmouth Music Hub to commission FolkActive to take folk musicians into 12 schools to perform and to play for folk dance workshops over the last four weeks. Over 800 children have benefited directly from these workshops since September. This project builds on two earlier folk music and dance projects which had already reached another 700 youngsters in Portsmouth primary schools. The city is certainly reconnecting with traditional culture!
It’s the end of FolkActive’s year on the Hampshire School for Social Entrepreneurs start up programme. October 6th is Graduation day, an opportunity to celebrate the vision and energy behind the amazing projects which have been taking shape and developing with the support of the SSE, all of which will be making a real difference to peoples lives in the future.
At FolkActive we’ve used the time, the business training and the funding to focus on developing activities to use in the future with frail older adults. We’ve been piloting sessions with dementia support groups over the last few months, as well as exploring the potential for using Music in Health Care settings locally. It’s also been an opportunity to reflect on the company’s social impact and how the different areas of our work can consolidate and connect. Watch this space: plans are afoot!
After taking a summer break during August, we’re looking forward to the FolkActive Dance on Wednesday 14th September.
We’ll be at Freemantle Community Centre with our regular caller Graham Taylor.
Cath, Nic and Gill from Jigfoot will be providing the live music so you might not be able to resist a bit of local stepping within with the social dances. Remember, dancing is so much better for you than going to the gym! It’s great exercise, sociable and great fun. Why not bring a friend!
Wednesday 14th September 1.30pm to 3.30pm
Freemantle Community Centre, Randolph Street, Southampton SO15 1HE
Entry £4 per session
June is definitely going to be busy. We have some great stepping projects coming up based in Tadley, Swanmore and Yateley schools. The projects have been set up in partnership with EMTAS and Hampshire Music Hub, using music and dance workshops to connect young people with local cultural traditions.
Tadley is the home of the Nash family, besom makers by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, so broom dancing is a must. The clip shows a Dartmoor broom dance competition, but we hope a Hampshire version will be created!
Dancing in WestQuay
As part of a Dementia Awareness Day on Thursday lunchtime FolkActive will be hosting a short dance session with live music in West Quay Shopping Centre. The session will be free and open to everyone, and it would be lovely to see a few familiar faces if you’re able to come along.
WestQuay Shopping Centre, Southampton
Thursday 19th May 2016 1.15 – 1.45 pm
Other activities taking place during the day between 10am and 4pm:
- The Alzheimer’s Society popular and lively ‘Singing for the Brain’ group between 2pm – 3.30pm.
- Pot a plant and find out how to join a gardening club at Mayfield Nurseries.
- Create a memory with Saints Foundation photo booth.
- Reminiscing with local history materials.
- Learn about local research into dementia from the MARC (memory assessment and research centre).
- A Dementia Friend awareness session between 12pm and 1pm. During this friendly and interactive session you will increase your understanding of dementia, and think about the small things that you can do to make a difference to people affected by dementia in your community.
- Information on the range of services available in the city that support the quality of life for people and carers who are living with dementia.
Dancing really does keep you young
A study featured on the recent BBC TV programme How to Stay Young
has again shown that dancing holds back aging better than any other exercise. As well as exercising your body it uses your brain and puts you in contact with other people. Or, in the words of the academic paper
, “dancing evokes widespread positive effects”.An earlier study
found that dancing was the only physical activity associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia.You don’t stop dancing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop dancing!
Southampton Folk Orchestra will be playing in the beautiful St Lawrence church Winchester this Saturday May 7th at 12 midday and 3p.m as part of the Mayfest folk festival . Look out for dance teams across the city centre all day and performances in front of the Cathedral from 2:30 onwards during the afternoon. The weather looks good!
We’ll be running an informal stepping session in the New Forest on Sunday May 22nd at Earth Fest run by the Minstead Study Centre. Anyone welcome, no experience necessary: just bring willing feet and shoes you can hear yourself in! We’ll give you a few ideas to get you started then trust the irresistible tunes played by Cath Watkins and Gill Redmond of Jigfoot to do the rest! Tipi Field at 3 p.m. Check out our sessions and activities pages for background and videos of southern stepping, or follow this link to see children from Yateley after a 30 minute workshop.
Having spent a month dancing with youngsters in Portsmouth schools, we’re back to our regular FolkActive dance for over 50s in Southampton this Wednesday April 13th. Well done the BBC and Angela Rippon for flagging up a study which proved that dancing was more beneficial than gym-based exercise!
On March 4th we’re headed for Portsmouth, for eight days of Ceilidh workshops in primary schools in the lead up to Easter. Portsmouth Music Hub are certainly committed to getting the city’s children involved in their folk dance heritage!