‘I applied to volunteer with Dance Voice in the year 2000, not having any knowledge of what the role entailed, as I had never worked with my chosen client group before, and definitely not knowing what Dance Therapy meant. I was met with enthusiasm from all the team, who have always been pleased to see me and appreciative of my input. The client group are always happy to see me, especially if I have missed a week or two, making me feel really pleased that I come along every Friday. It is so lovely to work with the group, collectively and individually, really making me smile when you see a client achieve something new, observe anything from a smile, occasionally a sadness which one can move to a new gesture, expressing themselves in their own personal style. It is so rewarding to see the clients growing in confidence and cheerfulness,, knowing that in some small way I am contributing to that. I am invited by the staff to partake in the annual public Showcase performance, and any other event which could assist them in some small way, I am always pleased to be included.’
‘I bring a middle aged lady to Dance Voice, on a Friday morning ,which she enjoys very very much I find she benefits from going there as, she seems to find herself , socialises ,and expresses herself in dance and movement , relaxes and interacts well with in the group , I am sure she would miss all of this if it was to be taken from her ,to her it is a safe haven ,a place of enjoyment also a learning class for her to respect others.’
‘I don’t hear voices when I’m here…ideas from other members help me share my feelings…it’s a release to get out of my head and into my body, able to confide in a group things I like to say to other people which I can’t say anywhere else.’
‘I initially came to Dance Voice as part of treatment for active addiction. When I was here I was lost inside myself and I didn’t really know who I was and Dance Voice gave me a safe environment to learn to enjoy, laugh again and to have fun and to express how I was feeling…I just want to carry on learning to be myself again.’
‘I first came to Dance Voice when I first came out of hospital…I was very down and …feeling very, very unwell. And through the years it has really helped me…in lots of ways… and it makes you feel very secure and that, and no one pushes you to things you don’t want to…I just feel sometimes like I am with family…I would really miss it if I had to leave.’
‘I don’t always feel good in the mornings, but I find that by the time I’m here and I’ve been with the group and dancing I feel so much better. This morning…I really felt miserable when I arrived, but now its cheered me up no end and I feel much more relaxed.’
‘It’s a space where you can be yourself in any way you like…I suffer from depression, which cuts me off from being able to go out into the world. And a lot of the sort of groups that are on offer…you have to talk to someone. Where as you can come-like this morning, I rolled around on the floor wrapped up in a big piece of blue material for half an hour, and had a little sob, and felt loads better.’
‘I came to Dance Voice because it’s brilliant…it’s changed my life profoundly. I used to be in a real mess, very, very depressed, very distressed and wouldn’t share with people…Sometimes it’s hard to be here…but I discovered a new me, in myself. I’m finding out who I am and making a real life for myself now. And I can share with people things that I haven’t been able…because people will hear it and listen to me and they will care. People care here, that’s some reason why I come. They care constantly. They are here week in week out, they only close for Christmas…I don’t know where I would be now if it wasn’t for Dance Voice.’
Testimonials on behalf of our Learning Difficulty work
‘3 Trees community support Ltd has been using Dance Voice as a dance and movement therapy session for several of our service users since our inception in 2000. Personally I have also attended sessions with service users from other organisations for over 20 years.
The benefits to people with learning disabilities that I have witnessed have been profound and wide ranging. I have seen very small changes where an individual has gained the importance of turn taking and an appreciation of listening to and watching others thus improving social skills. Some people have increased their ability to express themselves through movement and body positioning whilst others have gained massive quantities of confidence which has allowed them to perform on a stage in front of a paying audience in a professional production.
Each person I have had the privilege to attend the sessions with have been encouraged as an individual to take what they needed from the therapy, to use movement and dance in a unique way to enable them to develop in many ways but especially, most impressively I feel, emotionally and socially.’
‘My son, who has severe learning difficulties, epilepsy and autism has been attending dance therapy for over a year. We’ve noticed an improvement in the fluidity of his dance movements and his enjoyment of dance. The greatest surprise however, was when he recently took part in a public performance before a paying audience of over 200.
He has had opportunities to perform in public before but was always too shy on the day. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience both of performing himself and watching others perform. He had the confidence to approach one of the therapists whom he knows less well and speak to them.
I feel he’s made great strides forward in his social skills but is also much happier and confident in himself.’
How Dance Voice helps me
(By a client who attends the dance movement psychotherapy mental health session)
- Interactive movement, dancing, moving around
- Opening up to others – talking
- Mixing with others, I enjoy meeting others
- Connecting with others
- Letting out thoughts and feelings in a safe environment
- Getting out of my head and into my body
- I don’t get voices (auditory hallucinations) when I attend Dance Voice
- Makes me smile and feel happy
- Takes my mind off my problems
- We support one another
- It is something to do and look forward to each week (my time out with others is otherwise limited mainly to seeing my sister twice a week)
- I enjoy being in and taking part in the annual performances
- I feel as if I achieve something
- My overall experience is very good and satisfying.