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Dancing for health

Through a unique, multi-disciplinary partnership between the School of Population Health & Environmental Sciences at King’s, Trinity Laban’s Learning & Participation programme and King’s College Hospital, Dancing for Health explored the experiences and perceived benefits of taking part in dance for people with Acquired Brain Injury.

TL DfH 2Trinity Laban offers a programme of dance classes to people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) with the aim of improving wellbeing, balance and movement capabilities in a fun and safe environment. In this collaboration, the project team developed innovative methodologies for evaluating the experiences and perceived benefits of this programme. They used research approaches that are robust yet sensitive enough to authentically capture and examine the impact of a creative dance programme on its diverse population. The project stemmed from previous research on the effectiveness of exercise as part of stroke and ABI rehabilitation for improving quality of life and wellbeing. It enabled academic expertise in physiotherapy to be used for the collaborative development of new tools for the measurement of the impact of the dance classes.

This kind of arts in health intervention is typically measured through objective and reductive measures that do not sufficiently elucidate the nuanced meaning and value of participatory experience in the arts. The lack of appropriate evaluation tools means that there is a crucial need to cultivate methods that offer new ways of knowing and help stakeholders to see and think differently about the impact of arts in health interventions on health and wellbeing.

The team is now developing new teaching and learning opportunities as well as a joint student research project. They are aiming to build a sustainable theme of Arts, Health and Wellbeing for physiotherapy education at King’s. Moving forwards, King’s and Trinity Laban will be working closely with Dancing for Health participants to design research and evaluation methods that align with their experience and interests.

Project feedback

Working on Dancing for Health hasbeen inspiring as we were successfulin developing a meaningful and enjoyable collaboration across a varied team that included dance practitioners, dance participants who have experienced stroke or traumatic brain injury, health and arts researchers, physiotherapists, clinical partners and student researchers. The process has highlighted to me the value of seeking co-production in research and the importance of learning from each other to ensure all participants can influence decision-making.
Dr Claire White, academic lead

Dancing for Health has challengedme to think in more detail about my practice, and how I articulate the intention behind movement ideas. The programme has highlighted the importance of interaction and bonding in contributing to the social wellbeing of everyone in the class, which encourages us to go further in what we explore together. Dancing for Health has inspired me to explore different ways of challenging my own movement practice in order to encourage participants to challenge theirs.
Bethan Peters, dance artist

The physicality helps me to use my body better and stay in touch with my body.
Project participant


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.  It was supported by the university's Culture team.

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