Dance with the older body is often viewed as a means to slow the physiological and cognitive decline associated with ageing or chronic health conditions. However, little research has investigated the aesthetic qualities and performance potential of mature dancers and how this might influence health outcomes. During a choreographic project bringing together a renowned contemporary dance company with one of mature dancers, a co-designed, mixed-methods approach was taken to explore the impact of a somatically informed approach to choreography on the dancers’ movement quality, efficiency and performance aesthetics. Quality-of-life measurements showed no significant differences between pre-and post-choreographic project, although high scores suggested good overall health amongst participants. Subjective changes in movement quality were observed alongside improvements in balance ability ascribed to the inward focus of the somatically informed creative process. Participants commented that they were able to achieve more, physically and aesthetically, than they had previously believed possible.
FunderThis study was supported by the:
• Russell Maliphant Dance Company
• Arts Council England
- later life
- older adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts