Tackling loneliness through Bollywood dancing: D Dance

Thanks to a Time to Shine grant awarded by Leeds Community Foundation, D Dance have been able to provide ‘Share and Inspire’ dance workshops, bringing positivity and cheer through Bollywood dancing for elderly residents in the villages of Oulton and Woodlesford, Leeds. 

Here, Ayesha Shamim from D Dance Theatre tells us more.  

What does the ‘Share and Inspire’ workshop involve?  

Many older people do not like physical exercise, so something different was required to attract people aged over 50 to attend.  Chiragi Salanki, a professional Bollywood teacher with experience of teaching and gearing the pace for seniors, was chosen to start a one hour class with a difference. We have ladies who have never done physical exercise before, which is a great achievement, and a few who have dementia problems, and all join in. A social half hour after the exercise is valuable for interaction. We also have a younger lady who is helping with social media, and a group network has been set up and used by people who never really understood phones and websites. 

Why is this kind of support so vital? 

We needed the funding to pay Chiragi and hire the hall, which would have been too expensive to even start without the grant, as we did not have anyone qualified to give these sort of classes in our area, although there were other classes of movement to music which were attended by younger people. 

Could you share a rewarding moment you’ve had so far? 

At first, there were only a few people attended, but numbers increased slowly, making our funding essential. As word got round, our group members increased, and now we have over 30 members, aged from 50 to 87 years old, attending regularly. This is amazing and very rewarding. 

What made you apply for a Foundation grant and what difference has the funding from the Foundation made? 

We are arranging outings, which are popular, and our group was invited by the Lady Mayoress to coffee in her rooms, as she had attended one of our shows. We have even had an invite for some of our ladies to visit India to do a demonstration. This has all happened in the last year, but without funding, nothing like this would have happened.