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Generation Dance

Posted on April 19, 2011

A dance troupe of senior citizens, aged between 75 and 102, will perform at Queen’s University, Belfast on April 20, at a special event to promote dancing among older people across Ireland.


Black Widows, the Arts Care dance troupe, will take to the floor during Generation Dance, a cross-border event organised by Queen’s and the University of Limerick to promote dancing in care for the elderly. Around 70 older people, care providers and policy makers will join dance instructors and academics to learn new dance moves and explore the links between dancing and health, well-being and independence in old age.


The event is organised by Dr Jonathan Skinner of Queen’s School of History and Anthropology, who is also a former Ulster salsa champion. Dr Skinner said: “Research has shown the social, mental and physical benefits of dancing for older people. It alleviates the feeling of isolation and quite literally helps take away the aches and pains associated with older age. This is something that healthcare providers and policy makers should bear in mind when planning for Northern Ireland’s ageing population.


“Our society is getting older, and in the next 20 years the number of over-50s in Northern Ireland will increase by more than 30 per cent. This presents huge challenges in terms of future health and social care provision. Generation Dance aims to inform decision-makers of the benefits of dancing in counteracting decline in ageing, and encourage them to improve dance provision for senior citizens across Ireland. By helping older people maintain a better level of health, fitness and independence, regular dancing can make them less reliant on health and social care services

“Ultimately, we hope to help older people across Ireland dance their way towards improved health and happiness.”


Generation Dance takes place from 10am–2pm on Wednesday, April 20 at the Harty Room at Queen’s School of Music and Sonic Arts. The event is free. If you would like to attend, contact Dr Jonathan Skinner on 028 9097 3705 or email

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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