'Step by Step' is a partnership between Dance Base and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. This programme of work has been delivered since September 2016 and works with vulnerable children and young people by their bedside and in small groups. This dance project focuses on improving well-being, encouraging creative expression and spreading happiness throughout the hospital.
Once a week, dance teacher Christina Liddell (photo) visits the hospital and playfully engages small groups and individual patients in gentle movement and dance exercises. She offers bedside sessions with physiotherapists and works in various areas of the hospital, including visits to the neurological ward and high dependency ward.
Christina Liddell is a professional dance artist, graduating with First Class BA Honours. On completion back in 2012, she was granted the DEBS Bursary supported by Dance Base, under the mentorship of Alan Greig. Within her career, she has worked and performed nationally with a number of choreographers.
Christina has gained a diverse range of teaching experience over the past couple of years, particularly within the outreach communities. Across the ages, she currently teaches Inclusive Contemporary, Dance for Parkinson's and sessions within special schools as part of Dance Base's Everybody Dance Now programme. In particular, she has experienced at first hand, the impact the arts can have in the lives of young children through the outreach work she has encountered at the Edinburgh Children's Hospital.
“As a creative artist, I am intrigued to work within a ray of impulses and exploration. I have a particular interest in the dance sessions being greatly steered as a response from children I come alongside. I feel that being inspired directly by them, it opens a whole new ray of horizons and possibilities, allowing many beautiful moments to occur.
It's a really wonderful thing to establish a very close rapport, both with the children themselves and with the family members. From this, I begin to become familiar with what a child really responds to and makes them smile. I believe it really comes down to a very personal engagement, each unique to every child and allowing the light within them to shine brightly. I am incredibly passionate about the work we can do in partnership with the Edinburgh Children's Hospital, I have consistently experienced at first hand, the dedication and devotion that goes into the lives of the children in care there. I look forward to see how it continues to flourish and create rainbows in the lives of many!”
The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, formerly the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, has been caring for children and young people in the Lothians and beyond for over 150 years. It provides a comprehensive range of dedicated children's services, including its own accident and emergency department, and is currently based at Sciennes, near Edinburgh city centre.
A member of the Royal Hospital staff says: 'I'm amazed... This is one of the best activities of the year... The children it affects are the ones you’d least expect and Christina is exceptionally good with the children, especially those with severe disabilities. She seems to gauge what they’d like immediately.'
Partner: The Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity who support and complement the work of Edinburgh's Royal Hospital for Sick Children (The Sick Kids) as well as other children’s healthcare settings across Scotland.