A development initiative for South Asian Dance in the North West

Fellowship report

When my 8 year old grandson heard that I am going away for a month he wanted to know where was I going and why ?
I asked him if he had heard the name Churchill ? He cheekily said  you  mean the dog in the advert ?
I am talking about  the man who at one time was the prime minister of England .
He immediately said, “oh you mean Winston Churchill? Excitedly  he shared with me a story of Winston Churchill’s  wartime bravery and enquired “what has he got to do with you ?”
I persisted with more determination to make him  get a sense of the connection between this British wartime hero and his Indian dancer grandmother .  
I told him that through out his life Winston Churchill liked to inspire people ,he liked people to feel strong and  positive .He wanted them to believe that dreams can be achieved . His one great massage was "deserve victory ".
When he was no more there,  in person, to inspire people, his friends and followers got together to set up a trust fund .
Every year men and women from all over England are invited to tell them their very special dreams of a Life time .
The trust then helps the individuals whose dreams they like ,to make those come true. .I was very fortunate. This year it was my dream of going to Canada to learn more about dance was those  that was chosen by the trust .  That is why I am going to Canada.
Can I have a dream Diya? Asked Noah .
Yes off course ,I said ,keep looking for a special one that you will really really like to happen .

Dream photo
A picture from the house where I lived in Vancouver
I  followed my dream and  to Canada . I visited three different parts of the country, met amazing people from different  walks of life ,from different social and ethnic background. enjoyed  awe inspiring natural beauty of the country and soaked myself in the excitement of busy urban life. Fortunately, within a very limited time I was offered  the opportunity to see many large and small health settings where art is being used for promoting wellbeing of the senior members of the community .
The standard of care in residential centres are remarkable . Some of the homes can take 2 to 3 hundred residents. Their regular activities often include simple domestic tasks like peeling potatoes and gardening. There is an emphasis on maintaining a family atmosphere as much as possible. Different neighbourhoods of the home often keep different pets.  There are rooms where residents can have private meals with their families and boxes of toys in common social areas to encourage the family to bring children. All the care homes that i have seen had well provided art rooms and offer interesting arts projects. In one such place I joined in their regular  music session .However I understand that there is not as much dance activity . Whenever I presented a dance workshop it was received with great interest .there were comments like we should do more dance . What surprised them most was the fact that I was using Indian dance techniques .
From my very limited exposure what I gathered is that ,though the country is  multi cultural, the culturally diverse  dance or other arts is not being used in health settings .
My discussions with local Indian dance practioners also supported this observation . Most dance artists are focussed on excellence and teaching dance for performance.They expressed interest in what I was doing and had many ideas of how they can deliver work  but  no one I met had any experience of doing  work in the health sector or have any connections .
Comparing notes with other colleagues with  Churchill Fellowship I can now see that I have delivered more practical sessions . Even the round table discussions ended with everyone on their feet dancing .  

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Page last updated 03-Dec-2013 - Comments on the website welcome by Eric Foxley at the Dunkirk Arts Centre
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