FCHS Seniors Embrace the Power of Dance, Learn about Ballet

October 24, 2019

(Newbury, ON) – Four Counties Health Services (FCHS) is bringing the joy and benefits of dance to seniors in its Adult Day Program through Sharing Dance Seniors, a program of Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) and Baycrest.  On October 30th from 1-2pm, the seniors will be joined by two professional ballet students from NBS who will accompany the seniors in their dance class, followed by a Q&A about dance and ballet.

“It takes a village to keep seniors healthy, happy and engaged, and this “Health Village” model is core to how FCHS approaches care for our community,” said Steph Ouellet, VP Strategic Partnerships at the Middlesex Hospital Alliance. “It’s why we are pleased to offer the online streamed dance class from Canada’s National Ballet School to our community of seniors in the area.”

Through video-streaming technology, each weekly class is taught by a professional dance teacher from NBS’ studios. Our classes are adaptable for all abilities and all levels of experience. Participants can dance along in a seated position so that everyone is comfortable and focused on having fun. Classes increase in physical “intensity,” building throughout the term.

Benefits of the program include:

  • Better health: Dancing supports seniors’ overall physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
  • Skills development: Through the artistry and physicality of dance, seniors develop skills and confidence.
  • Social inclusion: Dance enriches their day-to-day lives through community-building and creative expression.

“Dance engages us on so many levels. It’s not surprising that we see our Sharing Dance Seniors’ participants experiencing not only physical benefits, but emotional and social benefits too,” said Rachel Bar, Manager of Health and Research Initiatives at NBS, and also one of the dance teachers that Middlesex seniors see on their screen each week. “It’s heartwarming to hear how much our dancers across the country are enjoying this program. Dancing along with them is a highlight of my week.”

Dianne McFadden is the Adult Day Program Coordinator at FCHS, and remarked that the Sharing Dance program “has been well received by the seniors who have been participating.  It offers them the opportunity to partake at their own level and exercise within their limitations, watching the moves they may be unable to complete.”  Sara Schoenmakers, program facilitator, agreed and said that “the seniors are developing a comfort level with dance moves that repeat from week to week, and the instructor provides encouragement to challenge themselves a bit more at each session.  Also, the music is familiar to them and the added sing-along enhances their experience.”

Developed by Baycrest and Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), industry leaders in the respective sectors of geriatric care and dance training, the Sharing Dance Seniors program has been offered on a weekly basis this term to a group of 13 seniors since September 2019.

On October 30th from 1-2pm, the Adult Day Program will partake in their class at 1824 Concession Drive, Newbury ON in the Adult Day Program Centre. Q&A with NBS students will begin at 2pm.

For further inquiries about the Adult Day Program, individuals can call the FCHS Adult Day Program Coordinator, Dianne McFadden at (519) 693-7111 Ext 2443. Transportation to and from the program can be arranged (for a small fee) via Four Counties Transit.

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About MHA: The Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) is comprised of two fully-accredited partner sites: Four Counties Health Services and Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital.

A progressive, team-oriented and technologically adept organization of excellence, the MHA is creating a more integrated and seamless approach to treatment by embracing and seeking out partnerships, through collaboration and investing in people. This coordinated approach helps to ensure that a high level of service is provided while reducing costs and continually enhancing quality.

About NBS:

Professional Training Programs

Established in 1959 by Betty Oliphant and Celia Franca, Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is one of the world’s foremost training institutions for aspiring young dancers and teachers. NBS is sharing dance through the Olympic-calibre training and holistic preparation of young dancers for careers on the world stage, and by successfully training teachers, ballet masters and artistic directors who hold posts in schools and companies across Canada and around globe.

Attracting students from across the country and around the world, NBS is the only ballet school in North America to provide elite dance training, academic instruction and residential care on the same campus.

The School’s progressive curriculum, with its emphasis on the physical and emotional well-being of the student, has put NBS at the forefront of dance training internationally. Talent is the sole criterion for acceptance into NBS’ Professional Ballet Program.

Part-time Ballet Programs

Through part-time ballet programs, NBS is sharing dance with more than 400 boys and girls aged 6-17 who audition and are accepted into programs that are based on NBS’ formal ballet syllabus. The adult ballet community also thrives on the same teaching theories and evolving practices as those of our professional training programs. The School’s popular Adult Ballet Program offers classes in the evenings and on weekends to adults of all fitness levels and dance experience.

Community Initiatives

Within communities across Canada, NBS is sharing dance by empowering school teachers and community programmers in using dance to enhance kids’ fundamental movement skills, inspire creativity, and improve mental and emotional well-being. With in-person and video streaming delivery models, NBS engages seniors to be more active, socially connected and confident through the artistic expression of dance.