29th April is International Dance Day, a global celebration created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO.
Now in its 29th year, International Dance Day is set to be a particularly spectacular celebration, reaching more people than ever before. During the pandemic, more and more people have discovered the value of dance in maintaining positive mental wellbeing, as well as physical health and haven’t let the online-only classes put them off!
Dance has been around for at least 9,000 years with choreographed dance used for everything from religious ceremonies to social connection. It is this latter purpose that has helped dance to explode online during the pandemic, be it through Zoom classes or Tik Tok tutorials.
Professional dancer and Strictly Come Dancing regular Neil Jones comments:
“Dance can connect us in a way that few other activities are able to do. For many people, dance has been a much-needed antidote to the challenges of the past year. It has provided a form of escape and of social connection, as well as helping people to keep in shape during lockdown.”
Neil has played his own part in reaching out through dance during the pandemic.
He has been running a free, monthly dance class since January exclusively for residents of Quintain Living in Wembley Park, where he himself has enjoyed living for the last few years.
The build-to-rent company is known for its varied calendar of resident events, which during lockdown have included everything from bread-baking classes to virtual cocktail-making evenings.
Now, Neil is sharing his Ballroom and Latin dance skills with residents, providing them with an outlet to reduce stress, encourage mindfulness, promote healing and foster new friendships. The classes will continue throughout 2021, moving (all being well) to in-person classes, as well as online, from May.