Residents moving freely with Digital Dance sessions

A group of residents from our sheltered housing schemes have been taking part in digital dance sessions with a freelance dance artist, Benjamin Dunks.

A gloomy Thursday morning was brightened up at Weston Mill Community Room as Benjamin Dunks put the eager crowd through their paces and showed them different dance techniques that would allow for greater freedom of movement.

Following a healthy buffet lunch, Livewell South West spoke to the residents about lifestyle choices and carried out height and weight checks and took volunteers blood pressure.

Ben from said: “I’ve been working with several resident groups recently and what we’re doing is actually measuring the movement change that they go through over several weeks and people are really enjoying themselves while they do it.

“Once they start to move like this, which they can do sat down or stood up, you really can see a huge change in the distance and complexity of people’s movement. We are measuring the change to show that there is a link to sessions like we’re doing today and a wider range of movement – which in itself may prevent falls in older people for example.”

Ben is measuring the movement on his computer using a sensor which creates graphs to show the difference in the movement people are experiencing. The technology is also able to create a colour graphic which illustrates the way people move which is an artistic representation of the changes they can feel. Ben is hoping to get some of these graphics up in the scheme he has been working with at the Barbican.

Hazel Alexander has been working with Ben during these sessions and has noticed a real difference: “We ‘ve had people come up to us who are amazed they can now open cupboards that they couldn’t even reach before because of the extended movement and the increase in their mobility.

“This opens up some real possibilities if we can bring these sessions to more schemes as it could ultimately will lead to people being able to live more independently.”