Maisy Makes a Move!
I recently finished my degree in dance, graduating with a first class honours at the University of Suffolk. Since then, I have done work for DanceEast, Suffolk Contemporary Dance, Karen Louise Dance, and joined Dance Network Association in September.
I discovered Dance Network Association through networking and meeting different artists within the creative industry. I soon realised their work really resonated with my practice and what I am interested in. Supporting a Dancing with Dementia class has brought me so much joy as I can see the smiles it puts on participant’s faces. It is also something that sits quite close to my heart, so knowing I am bringing joy to those participants makes my day. I always look forward to supporting Dancing with Dementia classes every week.
My favourite moments of the class are when we do creative work where everyone gets to have their own creative input in the class. In a Dancing with Dementia class, we would usually begin with some breathing exercises and warming up the body. This is then followed by different exercises that focus on different parts of the body. Sometimes we will do some routines and others will include doing your own movements with different props. Then we always finish with stretches and breathing exercises. A particular moment that stood out to me is when a familiar song comes on and all the participants start singing together. The social after the class is always nice as we can find out how the participants are finding the class, and we get a lot of positive feedback. A particular piece of feedback that stood out to me was ‘I look forward to this class every week. It has benefitted us and really enjoy the singing and dancing. It is lovely to go out and socialise with this group every week’.
Throughout my career in dance, I am hoping to expand my knowledge about working with older adults and people with long term health conditions. I have already learnt so much from working with DNA, such as new teaching strategies and what it is like to teach a Dementia class. From these skills, I am hoping to teach more classes within the community and meet new artists who I can learn from.
Since graduating, I have been lucky enough to have had a range of opportunities teaching within the community. I have been able to apply my skills and knowledge that I learnt through my degree into my teaching. My degree also gave me the opportunity to network with different artists which has led to the work I get to do now and I am grateful for Dance Network Association giving me this opportunity.
Written by Maisy Ritchie (Dancing with Dementia Witham Support Artist)