Bedford BoroughMind BLMK works from Bedford Wellbeing Centre, at 3, Woburn Road in Bedford, but supports people across the whole borough. Contact us on 0300 330 0648 or email us on [email protected]. If you'd like to see the timetable of all the activities on offer in Bedford, please click here. New Chapter Dance in Bedford I met Sadie, the dance lecturer at the reception on the university campus along with the attendees of the class. It was great to be able to meet the class and walk over together to the studio as I may have got lost, so straight away I think everyone felt at ease. When we arrived at the dance studio Sadie explained how everything worked, and it was clear that attendees would only go at a pace they were happy and comfortable with. Very quickly the room relaxed and Sadie's pace and clear instructions were perfect for anyone that may have felt a little anxious. The atmosphere was friendly and warm and everyone was enjoying themselves. My only negative is that I wish I had worn suitable clothing so that I could have joined in! Please see the following details on exactly what it entails and how it can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing: New Chapter Dance is a free dance class for participants aged 55 years and over. It is based at the University of Bedfordshire, 3pm – 4pm every Monday afternoon in studio P0.50. The class is taught by Sadie Hunt, Senior Lecturer in dance and specialist in community dance practices. The class is open level, some participants have dance backgrounds and for others it is their first dance experience, all are welcome. The class is fun, sociable and draws on lots of different music and dance genres. There is significant evidence that dance is an effective means to benefit the mental and physical wellbeing of older people and can counteract social isolation. The physical exercise we get through dance is complemented by the artistic and expressive elements of the classes as well as developing skills in memory and musicality. There are numerous classes for older participants throughout the UK as well as dance companies of older performers such as Company of Elders and Counterpoint Dance Company. These companies benefit their dancers in the same way as the classes do, but also celebrate the beauty of dancing older bodies and take dance for older people to a range of audiences, so look out for their performances. The NHS promotes dance as an excellent tool for physical wellness stating that ‘Regular dancing is great for losing weight, maintaining strong bones, improving posture and muscle strength, increasing balance and co-ordination, and beating stress.’ (www.nhs.co.uk) However dance can offer more than just physical benefits as Sarah Houston, the Chair of People Dancing states, “It is useful to note that although dancing has physical benefits, it is also a social, cognitive and often emotionally positive activity." (www.communitydance.org.uk) The evidence for dance as a tool to improve physical and mental health, to improve the wellbeing of individuals resulting from the artistic, creative and expressive aspects of dance and as a social activity are all very positive, so come and join us. To sign up, please contact Sadie by phone on 01234 793163 or by email on [email protected].