In 2012 our five-year Creativity Matters initiative was awarded Big Lottery funding of £338,000 to help challenge the culture of care in residential settings. As part of that project Grand Gestures was formed.
The group meet weekly for a session of dance improvisation led by dance artist, Paula Turner. Now in its fourth year the group has explored a wide range of dance and movement techniques including ballet, contact improvisation, yoga, jazz, circle dance and Tai Chi.
Each week is different and provides plenty of exercise and entertainment. Grand Gestures also hold ‘Happenings’ in public spaces and in care homes where dance is used as a means of communicating with people living with dementia.
Michelle Cadby, Creativity Matters project manager, said: “Each event is unique and invites participation. Grand Gestures meet every Friday between 10am and 12pm and are a friendly group who also share lively discussions. New people are always welcome, whether they are considering joining or just come to see what we do.”
The group meets in Whitehall Road Methodist Church Hall in Gateshead. Find out more Grand Gestures at their blog https://creativitymatterseq.wordpress.com
"Grand Gestures were utterly wonderful, they took magic in there with them and danced beautifully."
"They had such confidence and joy and that worked its way through the room bringing little smiles and small moments of engagement from residents." Paula Turner, dance teacher
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What Grand Gestures means to us
"Grand Gestures is an assorted group of men and women who meet together on Friday mornings to practise dance improvisation with an inspirational teacher who gently encourages new skills and forms of self expression.
"This provides plenty of enjoyment and exercise in a congenial non-judgemental atmosphere. Members say: “It’s good for flexibility but not too harsh on the joints” “It’s changed my concept of dance” “The nice thing is freedom without pressure to do what I like within my own limitations” “I look forward to it all week and love everything we do” “I always feel I’ve had a good workout of body and mind” “The bottom line is I go because I enjoy it. I keep fit, I like the music and the people are nice” “My smile lasts longer when I’ve been”
"Grand Gestures hold public ‘Happenings’and some of them go into care homes, particularly where there are people living with dementia, to share their love of dancing in response to different stimuli.
"Each event is unique and invites participation. They embrace and enjoy the thrill of not knowing what will happen next, whilst welcoming every offering. Care home residents say: “Last night I was lying in bed going ‘la, la, la, la, la’ and I was thinking ‘I love this thing'. "I love it when you come” “We should have more of this” “I didn’t know what to expect. That was different and I really enjoyed it.”
Written by members of Grand Gestures
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