Dance to Health participants in Handsworth interviewed their Dance Artist Laura Purkiss as she came to the end of her time with the group. She spoke about life as a dancer and what it has been like being part of Dance to Health.
Laura has been leading Dance to Health in Handswworth and is also a soloist for Birmingham Royal Ballert She has achieved a great deal as a professional dancer, from choreographing flash mobs to even being the subject of an award-winning documentary on the life of a dance, Balance.
Reflecting on her time with Dance to Health Laura said, “it’s been amazing right from the very beginning…it’s really nice because you all want to be here”.
There was an unexpected similarity between the experiences of the Dance to Health participants and Laura the ballet dancer. Both are very wary of injuring themselves during their day to day lives. This shared concern has certainly helped Laura connect with her group. One of the participants remarked to her “your encouragement is not a ‘push-you’ sort of encouragement, it’s a gentle encouragement that makes us try things”. Laura recounted her most memorable moment: “It would probably be when David walked through the door with his walker rather than having someone help him in. And he said “I got the bus”, we were like “WHAT?! You got the bus here? How did you manage that?”. I think it was mostly confidence and being with such a lovely group of people he felt that everybody wanted him to do well”.
Laura has benefitted in several ways from her time with Dance to Health and is keen to continue working with community dance as a result of her positive experiences with the Handsworth group, “I think I’m definitely going to try and teach a bit more”. Laura feels she has learnt a lot from her time with Dance to Health, “It’s been really fun and it’s great seeing you every week”.
When asked to sum up Dance to Health in a few words Laura decided on “fun and inspiring”.
We are sad to see Laura leave us but glad that she has had such a big impact on the people attending her group, in their own words “it’s lovely to have a nice teacher that you get on with”.
Thanks to Laura for her time and commitment to Dance to Health and best of luck for the future.
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