Dance for Life

Dance For Life Expands and is Delivered for the First time in a Rural Community.

Dance for Life was first introduced in the 2006- 2007 year by Dance Saskatchewan and was funded through a Community Grant Initiative of the City of Saskatoon.  The project ran successfully in several senior's residential care facilities.  The initial dance for life program was directed by Catherine Deux.

In the spring of 2009, with the support of a SaskCulture Capacity Building Grant, the program was expanded and recreated by a team of three program facilitators.  The team included Elissa Houk, BA, Major in Dance, University of Calgary, and presently undertaking a Masters in Physiotherapy at the University of Saskatchewan; Katie McGuigan-Scott, who trained at Toronto Dance Theatre and returned to Saskatchewan to undertake studies in Education and Environmental Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.  She was employed as the Dance Educator at Georges Vanier Catholic School in Saskatoon;  Megan Daniels, who trained in the Professional Program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet until age 21.  Recently, Kathy Bond, Saskatoon Pilates, and Kyle Syverson have been active in delivery of this program.

The program offers an introduction to dance education incorporating dance history, dance terminology, story telling and movement.   The program focuses on physical exercise using dance components and allowed residents with a variety of movement limitations to be physically active in all activities modified to suit various levels of ability.  Residents utilized ballet pointe shoes as a prop to practice counting musical rhythms; chairs were used for modified ballet barre exercises.  Colorful scarves are also incorporated into movement exercises.  Components of the regular lesson sessions are incorporated into a choreographed routine for all participants.  Regular rehearsals of portions of the choreographed work are conducted by facility staff on a daily basis between the weekly classes offered by the program teaching staff.  The program remains completely optional within the residence and those who elect not to participate are encouraged to be involved in the class sessions as audience members.  General participation in Dance for Life targets residents of  level 2 and level 3 care homes.

Dance for Life consists of six instructional sessions and concludes with a performance opportunity for all the participants.  The performance component also includes the participation of selected community guest dance artists and exposes the residents to a viewing opportunity that displays a variety of different dance genres.   Dance for Life lesson plans have been formalized with a variety of "modifications".  Working in close collaboration with facility staff as well as residents and their families, enabled formal documentation of the program in video format.  Lesson plans as well as video documentation of the classes and performances will form the basis for training of future facilitators enabling future expansion of the program in other locations in future years.