In 2015 The Courtyard was very excited to be able to extend its reach and introduce a dance strand into the Creative Ageing programme.This project sought to encourage creative participation and sharing of experiences, through working with older people using dance based activities as a starting point in nursing, residential and day centre settings.
The Mentoring Model
The Courtyard mentoring model has been developed over several years in collaboration from our expert mentors. The model is a professional development one which supports established community & participatory artists to develop their practice to make it suitable for older people in a care or community setting. Our expert mentors work with artists to reflect on their current work and reshape it to be appropriate for a new audience. This programme lasts for 2 years. This allows practitioners to be continually supported and challenged in their practice and engages them in continuing professional development; four fantastic practitioners will mentored throughout the life of this exciting project.
Artists receive initial training in an intensive 2 day course which helps them understand the challenges of working in care and community settings, before giving them a toolbox of skills to work with going forward. Our mentors work with the artists across the whole 2 years, meeting with them face-to-face every 3 months, and staying in contact between these meetings via email, skype and even the occasional postcard! To give our artists the chance to put theory into practice they take part in 8 residencies during their time with us. These residencies last for 10 weeks each and are delivered in care homes across the county.
Dance Mentor – Diane Amans
We were thrilled to work with Diane Amans as project mentor, a dance artist with over thirty five years experience of leading dance activities with diverse community groups both in the UK and Europe. For 15 years until 2006 she was artistic director of Freedom in Dance – a company she founded in order to offer accessible opportunities for people of all ages to participate in dance activities. Her textbooks An Introduction to Community Dance Practice and Age and Dancing: Older People and Community Dance are set books on undergraduate community dance programmes in the UK, Europe and United States.
Absolutely brilliant! Residents got so much out of the sessions, so did I. Sophie was amazing with her attitude, residents really looked forward to her coming. I have taken over now our 10 weeks are up and I enjoy every minute.
It has been really lovely to sit and watch my mum this afternoon, she didn’t join in with all the dancing but her foot was tapping in time with the music. It’s so powerful.
I get the magic of it now. The silence is the magic! The whole session has made me feel really emotional watching the faces of the dancers. That resident has never ever joined in any activity but today you brought something out of him that I have never had the pleasure of seeing. Truly magical.
I feel part of the group, not isolated and on my own.
I’ve enjoyed it. It’s something different, given me a bit of exercise and helped me think about other things.