This post aims to raise awareness of the applications of Biodanza in educational, health and community settings. It will give you an idea of the pioneering work that is being done in the UK, who is doing what, and hopefully inspire facilitators to make Biodanza accessible to everyone.
Babies, Children and Families
Catherine Canning from Glasgow danced with 3 and 4 year olds for many years in nursery school. Teacher and storyteller Noel Watkins has taken Biodanza into West Yorkshire primary schools, and Paula Jardim has facilitated sessions in holiday play-schemes. Her work with families has reached bilingual, multicultural and home-education communities in Bristol and Somerset. Tracy Seed has danced with many family groups and has introduced Biodanza to teachers and pre-schools in the UK and in Greece.
Older People in Care Homes
Paula has also specialised in gerontology and dementia and has offered sessions in over 50 care homes and 10 day-centres in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Find out more here. Lynn McCreadie and Malcolm Burgin are also integrating Biodanza in their work for Alive Activities in the South West.
People with Disabilities
Claire Levey Lewis has extensive experience of Biodanza for people with learning disabilities and additional support needs from her work at both the Garvald Centre and Columcille Centre over the last 10 years in Edinburgh. Barbara Osborne from Birmingham has facilitated a special needs weekly group for Life Pathways Charity in Coventry. Read about it here. Paula is also experienced in this area, and Kavina, who herself has dyspraxia, has created Danzability in South East London and teaches a regular monthly group of adults with learning difficulties.
People with Brain Injury
Ingrid Slack has worked with people with brain injury in a rehabilitation centre in Milton Keynes. To find out more, listen to this podcast.
Elizabeth Barnett, a counsellor with specialist knowledge of working with people in addiction and their families, has introduced Biodanza to 5 addiction treatment centres in Weston-super-Mare, Stroud and Bristol. In this podcast she shares her experience, talks about the benefits of Biodanza for addicts and alcoholics, and offers some advice to facilitators considering work in this field. Paula assisted Elizabeth for over 1 year in one of the rehab centres, where she also facilitated sessions. In addition, she translated Rolando Toro’s writings on Clinical Biodanza and Addictions, and worked with two groups of people with alcohol-related brain damage in Weston-super-Mare. Read more.
Brendagh O’Sullivan facilitates regular sessions at Penny Brohn Cancer Care in Pill, near Bristol.
Both Brendagh and Paula have done tasters for people affected by Parkinson’s Disease. Paula developed a way of working based on R. Toro’s original writings on Biodanza and Parkinsons, where specific dance-movement exercises are used for specific physical and emotional symptoms. She was able to test it during ParkinsonsUK Bristol Branch Wellbeing Day with very good feedback.
Adults with a Neurological Diagnosis
Dr Lit Eziefula is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who has offered Biodanza to people with all forms of neurological diagnosis within the psychology department of the Community Neuro Rehab Team at Horsham Hospital, Sussex Community NHS Trust – see here. You may also like to listen to this podcast.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
If you’re interested in working with refugees, get in touch with Paula. She talked about her experience at the 1st Socially-Engaged Biodanza Forum in UK. More recently, at the European Biodanza Congress in the Netherlands, she presented it as a case study to demonstrate the power of music in multi-cultural work. Listen to the podcast.
Maria Canizalez-Jerez has done tasters for Migrants Support Migrants in Manchester.
Maria got community psychologists dancing and co-delivered a Biodanza for Happier Living programme in Manchester and Sheffield. Paula did regular sessions at two Milestones Trust homes for adults with enduring mental health needs, and also at Claro Homes for younger adults with mental health concerns. In addition, she facilitated a workshop at BANES Positive Mental Health Festival, funded by Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust and Quartet Community Foundation.
Both Gita Sootasing and Paula Jardim have been involved in projects for people facing homelessness commissioned by the local authority and St Mungos. In all, Biodanza sessions were held in 4 different hostels for the homeless, two in London and two in Bristol! Paula went on to facilitate a series of monthly tasters at The Recovery College in Bristol, which were open to everyone, especially those on their road to recovery and the people supporting them.
Get in touch!
Please let us know if there is something we have missed. If you’d like to contact any of the Biodanza Association UK facilitators mentioned above, go to the Teachers page and click on their photo. A window will open with their contact details. We are sure they will be delighted to hear from you!
Thank you for reading. Your comments are most welcome!