The Tonic Arts programme, delivered as part of the NHS Lothian Charity, aims to improve and support health and wellbeing through a vibrant creativity and arts programme. Since they approached Dance Base in 2022, we have worked with them to develop a programme bringing dance to hospitals. Specifically, to build new relationships and practices using dance with patients in hospital settings.
Over the course of the year, the pilot delivered:
The aims of the program were:
In Autumn this year we where we worked with in-patients in the Medicine of the Elderly wards. The sessions were led by Dance Base’s dance artist, Jen Cunningham and independent artist, Sheena Byrne. These gentle, joyful dance sessions supported around eight people each week to explore movement and interactions with others using dance, music, and song. We worked closely with the fantastic hospital staff in these small group sessions to make sure everybody was properly supported, including our oldest participant who was 99!
Speaking about their experiences in the group, one participant said, “I didn’t think I could do that anymore, I’m so proud of myself.”
In our final session, we invited a local artist, Willy Gilder, in to draw the dancing for us. This wonderful collaboration produced the images used to illustrate this post, a wonderful way to capture the movement of the session. The participants were able to enjoy looking over the art, recognising themselves in some of the captured moments.
We have since taken this artwork to one of our other community groups as a source of inspiration for more dancing, which has been a fantastic way to exchange physicality and creativity between communities.
It means so much to us that we can work with organisations such as Tonic Arts to develop life changing programmes like this. Bringing art to everyone is the backbone of our work, and something we are very proud of. However, to continue this work we need your support. Right now a great way to do this is to sponsor our work. Find out more at the link below.,