Looking Back at Better Connect ‘Falling on Your Feet’

Posted on: 6th June 2022

Falling on Your Feet at Segedunum and Meadowell Connected helped adults feel more healthy, creative and connected. We look back at the impact on those who took part in our innovative programme as part of #BetterConnect for #CarersWeek

Photos by Nigel John
Falling on Your Feet Better Connect Segedunum photo by Nigel John

It’s national #CarersWeek from 6-10 June. So we are taking the opportunity to celebrate and a look at ‘Falling on Your Feet’ one of the inclusive projects focused on reaching carers as part of #BetterConnect.

Falling On Your Feet

Residents of North Tyneside, many of whom had caring responsibilities or experiences, took part in Helix Arts ‘Falling on Your Feet’ programme.

Falling on Your Feet is a responsive creative programme suitable for those aged 55 and over. People taking part work with a dance practitioner to co-create their own choreography. Typically, the ten week series of sessions culminates in a final performance. This can be private or for an invited audience.

As part of Better Connect we ran two Falling on Your Feet projects one at Meadowell Connected and one at Segedunum.

Why Dance?

Through Falling on Your Feet the group develop new friendships. Many have a shared interest in keeping fit and describe dance as a much more interesting way of maintaining or improving their health.

Many group members also join for the social aspect of the project as they meet others in similar circumstances. Perhaps they have been recently bereaved, live alone or want a break from everyday responsibilities that come with caring. Others enjoy having the routine me time away from other family commitments.

Over the course of ten weeks we see everyones’ confidence grow. At first group members look to the artist for instruction but with support most become confident making suggestions for movement. The ideas behind their moves often links to a personal story or experience.

Music is chosen collectively too. It is an integral part of joy the sessions can spark. It’s wonderful to hear the variety of styles in one session from instrumental pieces to their favourite hits.

Crucially, the programme improves people’s strength and balance which in turn decreases the risk of trips and falls. The risk of falls becomes greater as we age because they may have: balance problems and muscle weakness, vision impairment or loss and long-term health conditions which can lead to dizziness.

Falling on Your Feet Holding A Candle Session at Segedunum part of Better Connect Photo by Nigel John
The group work together Falling on Your Feet Part of Better Connect at Segedunum. Photo by Nigel John.

What Those Taking Part Tell Us

We asked those who had taken part in our latest Falling on Your Feet group to let us know what they got out of the session.

Jane talked about the difference Falling on Your Feet’ made:

“My mental wellbeing improved when I made friends with the other dancers and the people who organised the activities. I looked forward to going along to Segedunum on Thursday. My physical wellbeing improved and I felt more stable when moving in the dance sequences. My movements were more smooth and less stilted. This made me feel good.”

She also noted that the venue was very welcoming:

“Segedunum is a wonderful place to have something like this. It is a constructive way to bring it closer to the local people.”

David shared that the group: ‘Was a good help with my physical health.” He went on to say he enjoyed: “Just being able to meet other people who are trying to keep active.”

Other members highlighted their fellow dancers as an inspiration to them because of their determination and positive approach to new challenges. There was also high praise from lead artist Yuvel Soria. Marie summed it up saying:

“Yuvel was so patient and encouraging. I always left feeling uplifted.”

Keep Dancing

The current Falling on Your Feet cohort is taking a short break from dancing but we are working hard with our partners to secure further funding to continue this important work.

In the meantime, we will be holding a series of socials and tasters at Segedunum. We will use this time to socialise, explore the museum’s exhibitions including our very own Story of Place exhibition, and finding out more about other creative activities on offer.

If you would like to learn more about this project email elizabeth.kane@helixarts.com or call 0191 241 4931

Yuvel Soria leading a Falling on Your Feet session at Segedunum as part of Better Connect photo by Nigel John

Yuvel Soria works with the group to develop choreography ideas.

Jane enjoying chatting after Falling on Your Feet at Segedunum. Photo by Nigel John.

The chance to make new friendships with others is highly valued by those taking part Falling on Your Feet.

Want to know more?

For questions about Falling on Your Feet or Better Connect please contact Creative Producer Elizabeth Kane

Email Elizabeth or call 020 4531 4027