Giving it a go
by Christina Flannery
Jean and Terry Dosdale live in Holt Park, Leeds. Like many older people they have been shielding during the Covid crisis, but they have a great form of recreation and exercise, thanks to some local charities. Terry explains below.
A couple of years ago my wife Jean had been wanting to join a dance class, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Then the local charity for older people (OPAL) told her about one being run at their Welcome In site (previously the Bedford Arms) in Tinshill. The classes are run by Yorkshire Dance, a charity which champions the value of dance in the region, as part of their Dance On programme to tackle inactivity among older adults.
Jean loved the classes for their fun and friendliness, plus music from the 60s and 70s - with singing along encouraged! She also got to take part, with groups from other parts of the region, in the ‘Beige’ mass dance, which was performed as a flash mob at the White Rose centre and featured on BBC Look North, and then onstage at the Leeds Playhouse. It was quite an adventure.
Jean dancing in the 1970s
During all this time, as a typical man, I had been staying resolutely at home, refusing to even contemplate anything as namby-pamby as dancing. However early last year I decided to give it a go, partly because I thought the exercise might be good for my Parkinson’s disease. I found I really liked it, being more akin to dance-exercise than flouncing around in tutus. In fact, I even started to wish I had started doing something similar when I was younger. I had been to just half a dozen classes with my wife when Covid-19 struck. Like many other people, I had never heard of Zoom, but first my Spanish classes went online, quickly followed by Dance On.
They really have been a great boon. Although we don’t get to mix with other people face to face, the exercise and the interaction with others have been of tremendous value, and they seem to help my Parkinson’s. In fact, the online classes are better in that we can do up to 3 a week, which we wouldn’t have done if we had to travel to the various sites.
Terry twisting in the 1960s
All the instructors we have had from Yorkshire Dance have been lovely people. There have been some special masterclasses in Indian and African dance, and even breakdancing.
We have also had a couple of online parties with music, quizzes and chat. For the first one they asked for photos of us dancing when we were young. Jean found one of her and the then boyfriend in the 70s at The Wharfedale, Arthington, and I found one of me doing the twist at Wetherby Town Hall in the 60s. Overall we find the classes great fun. As they say on Strictly, we’ll “Keep dancing!”.
Jean and Terry are part of Yorkshire Dance’s regular Dance On Zoom sessions. “With all our Zoom classes, you can do as much or as little as you like, “ says Adie Nivison. “You can be seated or standing (some of our dancers choose to just do the upper body moves). The classes are all adaptable to different mobility levels and most of all, are lots of fun!”
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