About two weeks ago we watched a recorded programme which was initially broadcast in the UK on BBC 2 called Dancing to Happiness. I believe that it was broadcast to commemorate Darcey Bussells' 50th Birthday on 27 April this year. Unfortunately it is not currently available on iPlayer.
Darcey Bussell visited various groups of people using dance to improve their mental health or the ill effects of some degenerative diseases like dementia or Parkinson's. The first group that she visited was led by Kevin who had suffered intensely from undiagnosed Bi-Polar and for a while revealed some very destructive behaviour patterns. He was introduced to the beneficial effects of dance and was leading a course for a group of young people aged between 16-25 who were suffering from various forms of mental health which had caused them to drop out of the mainstream. Through using dance as a form of self-expression, they learnt how to re-engage with life and it acted as a very effective therapy, way beyond their initial expectations.
She visited a group of people of various ages suffering from Parkinson's disease and witnessed how music and movement were helping their general sense of wellbeing and empowering them to benefit from the social interaction with other sufferers of the pernicious degenerative disorder. Another group were dementia sufferers who found that using dance and music was helping to trigger some happy memories which contributed to their general sense of wellbeing.
She visited a group of retired women called the Silver Swans who were learning to do ballet to give them a fresh purpose for living. They had retired very reluctantly and were suffering from depression as a result.
This group of women had an impact on me as I am going to be retiring next year and am psyching myself up for it. I doubt whether I shall take up ballet as I am a very uncoordinated person and my mother found me a very exasperating child as I always seemed to show her up. When I was about 10 or 11 I did go to ballet lessons but the teacher called and asked her to remove me as I was very slow and couldn't follow the movements of the class, thus holding up the rest of the girls. I have realised since that I am both dyslexic and dyspraxic but have learnt coping strategies to enable me to navigate some difficult paths through my life.
I loved the programme as it filled me with immense hope. It was great to see how some of the members of the groups that Darcey visited were able to rebuild their lives through the use of music and movement.
A Moodscope member.