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Dancing for health

Dancing for health is a project based on a creative dance programme for adults at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance who have experienced an acquired brain injury (ABI) or stroke. It aims to collaboratively develop new tools to better capture the perceived impact of taking part in dance.

The project was a collaboration between Dr Claire White, Reader in the Department of Physiotherapy at King's and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and ran from March 2017 to August 2017. The project benefited from a unique collaborative and multi-disciplinary partnership between the School of Population Health & Environmental Sciences  at King’s, Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation programme and Kings College Hospital.

The project explored dance participants’ experiences and the perceived benefits of the Dancing for health programme. It aimed to identify the most important outcomes for people with ABI and stroke and devise appropriate methodologies for evaluating potential impact, which fully includes the participant 'voice'. Therefore, this project aimed to identify and assess the feasibility of appropriate and potentially innovative research methodologies that are robust yet sensitive enough to authentically capture and examine the health and well-being impact of a creative dance programme on this diverse population. 

Dancing for health, a weekly two hour class, is delivered in specialist dance facilities led by dance artist, Stella Howard, and supported by specialist neuro-physiotherapists. The programme was set up in 2013 by a cross sector partnership between Trinity Laban, Headway, the Brain Injury Association and the community based outpatient service at Kings College Hospital.

Claire’s interest in this project stems from her previous research on the effectiveness of exercise as part of stroke and ABI rehabilitation for improving quality of life and well-being. The Dancing for health programme is of particular interest because it offers a creative and artistic dance experience, in a safe, positive and sociable space - focusing on ability rather than disability. The project enabled Claire's expertise in physiotherapy to be brought to a wider audience and provided tools for the measurement of the impact of the dance classes. The project also explored the potential of future collaborative research into how creative interventions can offer an alternative to exercise-based therapies.

By conducting a meta-ethnographic synthesis review of previous qualitative literature on creative interventions for people with ABI and stroke and through qualitative research with participants and stakeholders, this project aimed to collaboratively develop new tools to better capture the perceived impact of taking part in this form of creative intervention.

The project team are currently exploring opportunities for sharing their research findings. Veronica Jobbins, Head of Learning and Participation (Dance) presented on the project at the Arts and Health Culture Hack on 27 November 2017 at Guy’s Campus.

Project team

Dr Claire White is a Reader in the Department of Physiotherapy at King's.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance:

Louisa Borg-Costanzi Potts, Programme Manager for Learning and Participation/Dance.

Kate Wakeling, Research Fellow in Arts and Community at Trinity Laban

Sarah Price, a part-time post-doctoral researcher at Trinity Laban with experience of project management and evaluation of impact activities.

Stella Howard, dance artist and Learning and Participation (Dance) Practitioner.

Veronica Jobbins, Head of Learning and Participation for Dance

Edel Quin, Programme Leader in MSc Dance Science

The project team are also supported by Physiotherapy students at King's, John Ling, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at King's College Hospital, and Gemma Cook and Cheryl Anderson, both Specialist Neuro Physiotherapists.


Dancing for health is a collaboration between King's College London's Department of Physiotherapy and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s.

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