Thursday 3 October saw the D Dance Bollywood ladies, of Woodlesford, Oulton and Crossgates, don their dancing shoes and perform at the launch of the Age Proud Leeds campaign at the Time to Shine marketplace event. The campaign aims to raise awareness of ageism and change negative attitudes about ageing and older people. The event was held in the impressive Leeds City Museum which was filled with stalls for all the projects awarded Time to Shine funding this year to help ease loneliness and isolation among over 50s in Leeds.
D Dance has recently expanded to Crossgates and nowholds two classes per week in Leeds. Classes are led by established Bollywood dance teacher, Chiragi Solanki who was recently asked to perform with her dance troupe Chiragi’s Bibas at Leeds Arena. D Dance group members are now over 60 strong, with over 30 attending on a regular basis. The age range is from 50 to an impressive 89 years young at the last count! Some are recovering from serious illness and others just wish to smile a few times a week while learning a new skill and meeting new people. At the Time to Shine event, the ladies proved their fitness levels were improving as they maintained a high energy performance across three songs.
Time to Shine Programme Manager, Linda Glew, said:
“It was fabulous to have (D Dance) with us! There has been so much fantastic feedback about the ladies who brought so much energy into the room and were a shining example of Age Proud.”
Jenny Wilson, Treasurer and dancing star of D Dance explained:
“Our ladies jumped at the chance to attend the event. We were honoured to be asked to perform and to help launch the Age Proud campaign. Katharine and the Time to Shine team have been a massive support to us. Without them we wouldn’t have had the means or the confidence to give the project what it needed to get started. They really believed in what we were doing and we’re very grateful for all their help. Our ladies love our classes and really see a difference in their overall well-being and fitness levels. It’s great when we all get together after class too for coffee and a chat. Continued support from Time to Shine has helped us expand our dance classes to Crossgates and the projects they have helped in each funding round are all fantastic.”
Katharine Greathead, Head of Evaluation and Impact for Leeds Community Foundation has supported the D Dance concept from the start – getting over 50s involved in a project to help ease isolation and improve social connections and well-being – enjoyed the performance,
“Many congratulations to you all – such a fantastic project and fantastic people – I hope Crossgates get the Bollywood bug and it spreads across Leeds!”
The event was also attended by Leeds City Councillor Asghar Khan who was very impressed with the dancing. An opening speech was made by Bill Rollinson, Chair of Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF)¸ and the audience was treated to ‘What do you see’, an insightful short film, written by and starring Roger Harington, Vice Chair of LOPF, exploring Leeds and if it really is the best city to grow old in. Finally, retired physiotherapist, writer and blogger Joyce ‘Grandma Williams’ said in her speech that the D Dance ladies “were the best illustration of all that can be achieved!”
Overall, what a fantastic event. A ‘Bolly’ good time was had by all. What a wonderful way to celebrate ageing!