Community Come Dancing is our project which focuses on capturing the memories of older people who went dancing in the 1950s and 60s and sharing them with 10 and 11 year olds from the local primary school and others.
In order to do this we run regular afternoon dance sessions that bring together both age groups and attempt to recreate some of the atmosphere of the dance hall through the music that is played and the dancing that takes place.
We also encourage the older generation to share their experiences of going dancing, with the youngsters. For example the excitement about going out, the clothes that they wore, the music they danced to, the food and drink they consumed, the anticipation of meeting a boyfriend or girlfriend or the disappointment of not meeting one. Back in 1950 the Daily Mail suggested that 70% of couples in Britain first met on a dance floor and therefore it has been interesting to learn if this was how the older people met their spouses.
We also seek to find out from individuals who lived in the local area when they were teenagers, what dance opportunities there were for them locally. This has enhanced the knowledge of the social history of the locality.
As part of the project we have made a short film which captures the atmosphere of the dance sessions, plus has interviews with willing individuals from both generations highlighting the memories of the older people and the learning of the younger ones. The school have also run their own creative projects, based on the information learnt.
A Dignity In Dementia project, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Cumbria CVS and Eric Wright Charitable Trust.