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Scottish Ballet Brings the Health Benefits of Dance to You in 2021 With Classes and More

With a new term of online classes running February-April 2021, the courses will range from Absolute Beginners to Intermediate.

Scottish Ballet Brings the Health Benefits of Dance to You in 2021 With Classes and More

Today, Scottish Ballet launches an expanded programme of ballet classes, community engagement programmes and health resources to bring the benefits and joy of dance to everyone, this new year.

Committed to connecting with communities, Scotland's national dance company is offering a range of ways to improve physical and mental wellbeing, help alleviate stress on the body, and use creativity to inspire audiences of all ages.

From today, a new programme of adult and children's ballet classes go on sale, offering the opportunity to learn from Scottish Ballet's own company dancers. With a new term of online classes running February-April 2021, the courses will range from Absolute Beginners to Intermediate, bringing ballet directly into people's homes. Participants of all abilities will be able to practice and perfect their technique via Zoom, and there are dedicated classes for 10-14-year-olds and over 60s too.

The importance of movement for the body and mind is central in the pioneering work of the SB Health team, who launch a new series of online movement classes for people living with dementia, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's from Monday 1 February via Zoom. Dance for Parkinson's Scotland, Elevate™ and Time to Dance form the SB Health programme that is sponsored by Baillie Gifford. Dance for Parkinson's Scotland is run in partnership with Dance Base, Edinburgh.

Following the launch of the award-winning Health at Hand™ programme for frontline workers, Scottish Ballet is continuing to collaborate with NHS Scotland to create resources to help alleviate the physical and mental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health at Hand™, the series of breath and movement resources created for NHS staff and keyworkers, which won the 2020 Achates Philanthropy Prize for Scotland, will be rolled out to NHS 24 call-centre staff, and is also available to all online.

In addition, a pilot project will run in Erskine Home, Bishopton during February-March 2021 to reach those who are particularly isolated and vulnerable. A series of digital movement sessions will be offered in small groups and 1 to 1, to support physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

Dance is the creative tool woven throughout all the work at Scottish Ballet, and today the company launches two new creative engagement projects, Haud Close and the Safe to Be Me Festival, that aim to connect and inspire people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Haud Close is a multi-artform project inspired by Scottish Ballet's film Haud Close Tae Me, initially created by filmmaker Eve McConnachie in 2017, with choreography by Christopher Hampson and poetry by Scots Makar Jackie Kay. Using the film's resonating themes of connection, reflection and visibility, Haud Close brings together choreographer Jack Webb, visual artist Brian Hartley, and storyteller and dramaturg Philippa Clark, to work remotely with participants from Erskine Home, Bishopton and the dancers from Dance for Parkinson's, Elevate™ and Time to Dance, to create three new dance films.

As part of the Haud Close project, a global callout is inviting people living with dementia, MS or Parkinson's to submit a 20-second video, to feature in one of the new dance films. Deadline for submissions is Monday 22 February.

And finally, working with young people will continue as the ground-breaking programme Safe to Be Me™ moves online to formulate Safe to Be Me Festival 2021; a digital festival of dance to celebrate diversity, made possible with the support of Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Working with schools and groups throughout March 2021, the festival is an opportunity for young people aged 10 to 23 to engage with the programme's focused areas of racism, homophobia, bigotry, ableism and transphobia. Delivered in line with key Scottish Government targets to address bullying in these areas, young people will explore themes of acceptance, identity and respect through creative multi-art form workshops, digital dance sessions and inspirational talks.

CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson, said:
'At Scottish Ballet, we are committed to connecting with our audiences and using dance to engage with our communities. We are dedicated to using our skills and expertise to support everyone, bringing the benefits of movement and the joy of dance to people of all ages and backgrounds during these challenging times.'

Catherine Cassidy, Director of Engagement at Scottish Ballet, said:
'As we look to the new year, the SB Health team continue to focus our attention on connecting with people. Engagement work is vital in making a difference to communities, and we will continue to produce work that helps support people's physical and mental wellbeing.

We are proud of the work that we are offering to people across all areas of society, and will continue to use dance and movement as a connector to improve people's health, and inspire creativity.'

Scottish Ballet invites people to join the SB community, to make the most of all these digital experiences and to stay up to date with Scotland's national dance company. Anyone can sign up to join Scottish Ballet's free Membership programme, and many of the dance classes are available exclusively to members.

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