New dance classes aimed at improving the health of older people have been launched in Leeds.
The free Dancing in Time over 55s classes, run by Yorkshire Dance, are part of an ongoing study into the impact of dance on the health and wellbeing of older adults.
And the first sessions officially kicked off this week with a twist, as Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake threw some shapes of her own to help launch the classes at St John and St Barnabas Church in Belle Isle this week.
Coun Blake was among the first to take part alongside residents in the sessions, which are now being rolled out at facilities in Holbeck and Holt Park as well as Belle Isle.
Funded by Public Health, the dance sessions have been created in partnership with University of Leeds and Leeds Community Health Care.
Adie Nivison, project manager at Yorkshire Dance, said: “We’re really delighted to be able to re-launch Dancing in Time in these three new locations.
“And I’d want to reassure potential participants that they don’t need to worry if they haven’t danced before, if they feel overweight, if they’re recovering from an illness or if they’ve no one to come with.
“The dance activity is designed to be easy for everyone, and we’re going to create a really inclusive, friendly atmosphere where everyone’s genuinely very welcome.”
Each class runs twice-a-week, for ten weeks, and are designed to be gentle and offer a fun introduction to dance for older people. Participants don’t need to have any previous experience of dancing.
They are also aimed at people who are recovering from a fall, or who are concerned that they might experience a fall, and organisers say they will give people more confidence and stability on their feet.
The new classes take place at St Matthew’s Community Centre, in Holbeck, St John and St Barnabas Church, in Belle Isle, and the Welcome In Community Centre in Holt Park.