It Gives Me Purpose: The Use of Dance with People Experiencing Homelessness. 2010. Melissa Knestaut, Mary Ann Devine, Barbara Verlezza. Therapeutic Recreation Journal Vol. 44 No. 10.
Abstract: “According to the National Coalition for the Homeless (2009), there are approximately 1.35 million people who experience homelessness on any given day. Psycho-social issues that these individuals must address to survive daily vary, but most common are depression, stress, alienation, lack of continuity in their life, and uncertainty of their future. Engagement in leisure is one way to reduce the various psycho-social consequences of homelessness. Thus, the purpose of this case report is to discuss the benefits of a leisure activity, specifically a structured dance class for adults experiencing homelessness. The intent of the class was to decrease stress, increase positive feelings, encourage self-determination, and learn how dance can be used as a coping mechanism. Dance was used as a context for coping with stress and other effects of homelessness. Results indicated that participants experienced an increase in positive effects and a decrease in negative effects after participating in the dance class.”
Keywords: Dance, homelessness, leisure, self-determination, stress
Effects of dance on physical and psychological well-being in older persons. Elsie Hui , Bo Tsan-keung Chui, Jean Woo, 2009, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Volume 49, Issue 1, July–August 2009, Pages e45–e50.
“This study was aimed at determining the effects of dancing on the health status of older persons. A pool of 111 community-dwelling subjects were allocated to either an intervention group (IG), which included 23 sessions of dance over 12 weeks, or a control group (CG). All participants were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Physical outcome measures included the 6-min timed walking test (6MWT), trunk flexibility, body composition, lower limb endurance and strength, balance, the timed up-and-go test (TUG), resting heart rate and blood pressure. Quality of life was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36) questionnaire. The IG’s views toward dancing were also evaluated at 12 weeks. Significant difference was observed between the groups in six outcome measures: mean change in resting heart rate, 6MWT, TUG, lower limb endurance and the ‘general health’ and ‘bodily pain’ domains of SF-36. The majority of the dance group felt the intervention improved their health status. These findings demonstrate that dancing has physical and psychological benefits, and should be promoted as a form of leisure activity for senior citizens.”
The joy dance: Specific effects of a single dance intervention on psychiatric patients with depression. Sabine C. Koch, Katharina Morlinghaus, Thomas Fuchs. (2007). The Arts in Psychotherapy Volume 34, Issue 4, Pages 340–349.
Abstract: “This study investigated the specific effects of a dance intervention on the decrease of depression and the increase of vitality and positive affect in 31 psychiatric patients with main or additional diagnosis of depression. Patients participated in one of three conditions: a dance group performing a traditional upbeat circle dance, a group that listened just to the music of the dance (music only), and a group that moved on a home trainer bike (ergometer) up to the same level of arousal as the dance group (movement only). While all three conditions alleviated or stabilized the condition of the patients, results suggest that patients in the dance group profited most from the intervention. They showed significantly less depression than participants in the music group (p < .001) and in the ergometer group (p < .05), and more vitality (p < .05) than participants in the music group on post-test self-report scales immediately after the intervention. Stimulating circle dances can thus have a positive effect on patients with depression and may be recommended for use in dance/movement therapy and other complementary therapies.”
The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society: an evidence review. Arts Council England. (2014).
The report references other reports, including:
“The [Consilium] report (2013) concluded that the use of art, when delivered effectively, has the power to both facilitate social interaction and enable those in receipt of social care to pursue creative interests. The review highlights the benefits of dance for reducing loneliness and alleviating depression and anxiety among people in social care environments. Dance has the ability to promote creativity and social integration and allow nonverbal stimulation and communication. The review evidence demonstrates the considerable physical and psychological benefits of using arts with people in receipt of social care.” (page 26)
“In 2011 BUPA published the Keep Dancing report which highlighted a number of issues relating to old people and exercise, and identified the key benefits of dance. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (TLCMD) published a literature review on the impact of dance on health and wellbeing in older people, also in 2011, called Dancing towards wellbeing in the Third Age.
“TLCMD’s literature review (2011) makes a distinction between dance therapy (a psychotherapeutic activity focusing more on therapeutic than artistic outcomes) and dance interventions and focuses on studies looking at dance interventions. They acknowledge that this boundary is sometimes blurred and included some therapy-weighted studies that are relevant to a dance and health research context.
“The reports from BUPA and TLCMD shared key findings relating to the physical and psychological benefits of dance. Many featured studies focused on activities that were specific to particular conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, dementia and depression. The benefits of dance in relation to the prevention of falls were also evidenced (BUPA, 2011). Alongside evidenced benefits related to particular conditions, overall physical improvements include increased cardio vascular, strength and flexibility and improved balance and gait. These physical benefits vary depending on the individual participant and style of dance undertaken.
“Evidenced psychological benefits include quicker reaction times and cognitive performance”… “The physical benefits when contrasted with sports or other exercises are bolstered by the social and creative aspects which can enhance overall wellbeing. Dance activities create a sense of community and can help counter feelings of isolation. ” (page 29)
“Dance is a key component of many cultures and traditional dance activities can present a more relevant choice of activity for individuals in particular communities. Both reports reference pieces of research that highlight the value of culturally specific dance.” (page 30)