The Dance Health Alliance was born in Australia as a result of connection and inspiration from Andrew Greenwood. Seven years ago Andrew dedicated a big part of his work to Dancer’s health (injury prevention & rehabilitation) offering guidance to enhance dancers personal wellbeing, physically and mentally. This provided the foundations of knowledge and assisted Andrew an unexpected turn of events, the discovery that dance and dancers need health but health needs dance.
Five years ago the artistic director of a dance house in the Netherlands was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age 37. At the time Andrew was engaged as the house ballet master and developing an injury prevention and rehabilitation centre for dancers. Because of his disappointment with the options in physical training as a Parkinson’s patient, Andrew was asked to apply dance techniques and explore how dance could enhance his friends physical and mental state. After discovering the amazing effects and possibilities of these dance sessions, they decided to investigate and study further. Combining existing programs such as the Dance for PD Program (Marc Morris foundation), reading extensive detailed literature, and in-depth discussion with patients and other experts from the field of science and dance, Andrew developed a movement methodology. In 2012 Dance for Health Foundation in Holland was founded. For the last four years Andrew was the Director of Education and Research applying his movement philosophy. Now over 40 teachers have been educated internationally under his mentorship with classes established for Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Arthritis and Dementia in cities in the Netherlands, Italy, UK and Australia.
Gwen Korebrits, an ex-professional ballerina based in Australia, and Andrew’s cousin, launched Dance for Health in Australia in April 2015. The launch took place at the Sydney Dance Company, with over 45 Multiple Sclerosis participants, Physiotherapists, Lectures and Doctors. There was media interest from channel nine’s Today show and an in-depth segment went to air in June 2015.
The Launch of the Dance Health Alliance™ Australia
After successfully growing a calendar of open classes and care home classes using her cousins methodology under the banner of Dance for Health, in 2016 Gwen decided it was time to grow.
She connected with like-minded professionals, registered as a charity organisation, appointed a board, expanded the vision and the Dance Health Alliance was born.
The Dance Health Alliance have created a teacher training program specifically for the Australian market, with support from Andrew Greenwood. These programs support allied health professionals, experienced dancers and facilities implement a research-based, effective, proven, innovative way for people to stay active, strong, agile, inspired, connected and creative. Focusing on the person rather than the illness the Dance Health Alliance was founded to start the world dancing to prevent disease and support the search for cures.
Our areas of support, research, and focus are aimed at people at any stage of the diseases listed, allied health professionals wanting innovative and current add-ons to support their work, and organisations and foundations who support Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Arthritis. The Dance Health Alliance™ provides a certified training and education program, an ambassadors system, ongoing CPD opportunities and yearly subscription services.
- Reduces anxiety, isolation and the incidence of falls.
- Reinvigorates individuals and environments.
- Creates an atmosphere of fun and builds social connections.
- Engages and trains staff, leading to better retention of staff.
- Allows family members to be involved in creative rehabilitation and treatment.
Why the Dance Health Alliance™
The points below explain why dance is particularly beneficial for people with Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Parkinson’s, Dementia, Alzheimer’s and age related reasons for restricted movement.*
- Dance is inclusive – there no targets, and no failures.
- Dance has many positive social aspects that help to overcome feelings of social isolation and depression.
- Dance is a good source of aerobic exercise and a well-designed dance session can also provide low-level resistance exercise.
- Dance has physical health benefits including improvements in balance, strength and gait, which help reduce the risk of falls.
- Dance has been shown to be beneficial in the direct treatment of a number of conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and depression.
- Taking part in dancing has been shown to reduce the chances of getting dementia by 76%.
- Taking part in dance also improves the mental health of older people including reaction times and cognitive performance.
There is scientific evidence that a dance-based exercise program can improve people’s:
- aerobic power;
- muscle endurance of the lower extremities;
- muscle strength of the lower extremities;
- flexibility of the lower extremities;
- static balance;
- dynamic balance and agility;
- and gait speed.
*BUPA – Keep Dancing Study 2011.