Roehampton Dance Movement Psychotherapist helps people living with young onset dementia

People living with the rare diagnosis of young onset dementia will take part in a pioneering series of participatory dances led by Dr Allegranti from the University of Roehampton.

Posted: 12 May 2017

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are approximately 42,324 people in the UK who have been diagnosed with young onset dementia, which affects people usually between the ages of thirty and sixty-five years.

Funded by the Arts Council England, Dr Allegranti’s new project is entitled I’ve Lost You Only To Discover That I Have Gone Missing. The project includes a series of Participatory Dances to help improve the lives of the people living with young onset dementia by re-connecting with their partner/spouse/carer. The participatory dances include creating bespoke choreography and music based on the couple’s experiences of living with dementia.  The dances explore the concept of ‘kinesthesia’ defined as the ‘sense of movement’ which is informed by all the senses and can help participants to gain insight into each other’s perspectives.

Dr Beatrice Allegranti said “Exploring past and present kinesthetic experiences combined with artistic-therapeutic practice help people living with young onset dementia to access, or re-find their memories. They may find sensations that have been lost, and at least for a moment, reconnect with their partner/spouse/carer and to themselves.”

The participatory dances have contributed to the development of a Dance Theater work-in-progress in collaboration with composer professor Jill Halsted (Grieg Academy) and four professional dancers. It will be shown at the Open Senses Festival on the 19th of May and Crouch End Festival on the 16th of June. The work aims to confront social and medical taboos about loss, hope and intimacy as well as raise awareness about young onset dementia.

To find out more about the dance theatre showing at the Open Senses Festival, please click here. To keep up to date on Dr Allegantri’s artistic and research project, please click here.

Dr Allegranti’s research project is in partnership with Re-Bourne/New Adventures, Dementia Pathfinders, St Georges NHS, Bupa UK, and the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames Arts Service. A series of Professional Development Workshops for dance artists, family carers and healthcare professionals will follow in the summer and autumn.

The Psychology Department offers an outstanding postgraduate degree in Dance Movement Psychotherapy enabling graduates to be eligible to register with the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the UK as pathway towards UKCP registration.  

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