Now in its third year, Move Dance Feel is proving to be extremely beneficial for the women involved, aiding recovery by increasing wellbeing and body confidence, alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety, and combating cancer related fatigue. The all female environment has led to feelings of empowerment and enabled strong social relationships to form - helping women to better manage the challenges they face.
“This is such a beautiful, embracing experience and is so crucial to my feeling of wellbeing. Joyful, enlivening and relaxing all at once.’’ - participant
As a physically expressive art form, dance provides an alternative means through which to communicate. Via group movement explorations and collaborative tasks, participants build ‘physical relationships’ which gives rise to feelings of acceptance towards themselves and others, appreciating their body as others acknowledge it as a source of inspiration and pleasure.
“This is a mix of connecting with myself, others, mind and body, a sense of some tightness unbinding.” - participant
When going through cancer treatment the body is surrendered, handed over to doctors and controlled by the cancer itself. This can cause a degree of trauma to the body, whereby sensory and emotional connections to it become damaged and in some cases severed. What dance offers in this context is a means of returning to the body and reclaiming control, taking back ownership and in the process reigniting lost connections.
“Cancer really affects your sense of confidence and your body image. The class restores that sense of body confidence. It makes you less angry at your body.” - participant
Alongside artistic delivery, project evaluators have been measuring the impact of Move Dance Feel on participants and have retrieved remarkable results. Findings will be presented in Autumn 2019 in Montreal, at the ‘International Association of Dance Medicine and Science’ annual conference, and in Bristol at Penny Brohn UK's ‘Because I Need More than Medicine’ conference.