Dance in the Park

Group formed at Redcatch to “spread the joy of dance.”

Dance in the Park. Nicola Percy Photography

A dance group which started outside during the coronavirus pandemic so people could exercise safely is proving popular for older people.

Meeting at Redcatch Park on Saturday mornings – the idea is to ‘spread the joy of dance’ and get people out of the house – giving them others to move with.

Started by former professional ballet dancer and fitness teacher, Alex Pickdord (72) – the aim was to help keep herself and others fit and healthy.

Alex, who already belongs to three dance companies herself, was attending classes on Zoom during lockdown – and once people could start to go outside again – she wanted to continue.

She says: “Everyone in the company said it was a shame we can’t be together and as soon as we could go outside, I thought: ‘let’s do it’ – and that’s how it started.

“I teach three classes a week and feel much fitter and stronger and have lost weight put on in lockdown.”

Alex says the sessions are meant to be more relaxing as they are based on improvisation.

She explains: “We warm up and I guide it and everyone really enjoys it because they don’t have the stress of trying to learn steps – they move the way they like. I’ve found this is a great way of getting through to people.

“Our happy hormone endorphin is released through movement and we leave sessions feeling happier and healthier.”

Attendees can also suggest any “inspiring music” for everyone to dance to.

And afterwards up to six people can stay for a socially distanced chat if they wish – “so they can support each other” – which many are grateful for.

Alex says people of all abilities are welcome – and she wants the group to be multicultural.

Alongside the classes she is also putting on events with other dancers and artists called The Joy of Dance – involving multicultural dance and music and held outside at Windmill Hill City Farm.

The final performances are on 17 October and 14 November at 7pm at the city farm – with dancers aged from 30 to into their 70s.

Dance in the Park sessions are held at 11am every Saturday at Redcatch Park and 11am on Wednesdays at Greenbank Cemetery. If the weather is bad people can go for a walk instead – or sometimes the group just embraces the chance to dance in the rain.

For more information contact Alex Pickford on 0753 507 4296.