Bolder Dance Company - A Year On
5 February 2015
Bolder Dance Company Aims and Objectives
The company is open to all experiences and abilities and aims to improve health and well-being, build confidence and self-esteem and encourage creativity through dance.
Bolder is an artistic company, not just a class. We have created a company with an identity, a purpose and meaning. The company’s aim is not only to improve the health and well-being of those in it, but to act as an ambassador for creative and healthy aging.
“We have been made so welcome by everyone at Tacchi-Morris. On the performance evening in November I forgot that I was older and just became a performer alongside the younger people.”
A Year in Numbers
• Bolder launched in February 2014 and is led by experienced professional dancer and community dance artists Hannah Lefeuvre and Clare Parker
• We are a dance company open to people aged 55 and over
• Since then we have worked with 35 people in our classes and workshops
• Bolder have performed to over 442 people
• Bolder members have been interviewed twice by BBC Somerset looking at creative aging and dance in the county and have also been featured on Apple FM and in the Somerset County Gazette.
• Bolder worked with 2 young male dancers to create an intergenerational piece of dance exploring the impact of WW1 on family life as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project
“Wasn't too sure what to expect. Everything was geared to suit me and it was wonderful.”
“Everything I was hoping for, a chance to dance, perform, lovely people.”
2015… What Lies Ahead…
• Bolder are about to embark on a tour of four care homes in Somerset running workshops and performances with residents around the theme of light
• Bolder will showcase their work at Breathe – a regional arts and health dance platform
• Bolder are currently creating a dance film funded by Taunton Deane Borough Council exploring Taunton Deane as place of healthy and creative ageing
• Bolder will perform at a Valentines Cream Tea for elderly homes at Tacchi-Morris in February attended by approximately 70 guests
“I have enjoyed the time spent doing the classes and getting me back into some form of dance after a long absence. The teachers are very good and professional and encouraging.”
“We have been introduced to many different kinds of dance which makes the programme much more variable and interesting.”
“It has all been a very positive experience with friendly people. The choice of music etc is always different and Clare and Hannah have a very flexible and friendly approach whilst remaining professional at all times. Excellent!”
Bolder in the Community - Care Homes we will be working with in 2015
Over the course of January – March 2015 we will be working with nine different care homes performing and running workshops with residents.
Working with: Hatch Beacham House, Church View Nursing Home, Frethey Nursing Home, Braemar House, Wey House, Sherford Manor Care Home, Mountbatten Nursing Home,The Firs Nursing Home, Aspen House
The Impact of Bolder
“It has been exhilarating and challenging. I leave each session with a real buzz and look forward to Mondays. I don’t feel that we are being given easy things to do just because we are older. The classes challenge both my mind and body.”
The overwhelmingly positive response to the first year of activity demonstrates a strong need for Bolder’s work. Within the first year, participants have included: full-time carers, individuals who are bereaved, dealing with separation, isolation and/or living alone, participants who are managing or recovering from challenging health conditions, such as joint replacements, arthritis, heart conditions and high blood pressure, participants who suffer with low self-esteem and confidence and participants on low income.
Participants have expressed how much of a 'life-line' the weekly sessions have provided and the opportunity to work creatively and be seen as an individual and build skills has given participants a sense of identity. Several new friendships have been formed and peer support evident. The opportunity to perform on a professional stage has also been an important element for participants, with some in tears afterwards at achieving a life-long dream later in life.
With an ageing population and a particularly high demographic of older people in Taunton we believe that this work is hugely important to counter some of the stereotypes around ageing and primary drivers that can lead to mental and physical illhealth in older people.
The company has already had an impact in countering feelings of loneliness, isolation and physical and mental decline. The company has begun to promote a sense of agency, of the older generation having something to contribute, a value in society. This healthy and positive perspective of ageing is something that we would like to explore further now that the company has established a reputation locally. We know there is much more work to be done in terms of visibility for this generation and extending our reach.
“We were expecting brilliant things from Bolder’s first performance but I don’t think anyone was prepared for such a powerful, thought-provoking, and incredibly beautiful piece of dance. Your choreography and performance brought tears to many eyes.”
Our Members Breakdown by Demographic
Bolder has a core focus and membership in Taunton Deane but spans across Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Bridgwater, Wellington and beyond.
43% TA1, 23.4% TA2, 13.4% TA7, 10% TA3, 5.6% TA17, 3.3% TA20, 0.4% TA8, 0.4% TA6
I have spent the last 30 years watching my children dance with itchy feet!”
“I love the ballet parts and I enjoy being given the opportunity to work on movements alone or with a partner.”
With core support from Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in our first year of establishing the company, we were successful in raising funding from Somerset Community Foundation – who have been invaluable in initiating the company and supporting its first year of development.
The company has also received funding from Take Art Seed Fund and Taunton Deane Borough Council.
During this first year, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. We are now seeking funding from a range of sources, to support the development and growth of the company and further extend its impact and reach.