New dance classes launched

New dance classes launched

Weston Park Cancer Charity is proud to fund a new series of dance classes run by Dancing for Health.


Organiser, Tracey Barnes, tells us more about the dancing initiative…


The Dancing for Health classes are FREE, partner dance classes for people going through or recovering from cancer treatment. The classes engage people in a new, fun and interesting physical and social activity. It provides benefits to well being for individuals and their partners through a partner dance intervention therapy programme.


If you would like to give dancing a try, join Dancing for Health every Tuesday at St Andrews United Reformed Church, Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield. For more information and to book, visit


Who are the classes aimed at?

The classes are aimed at people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to go along to a public class. We want to enable people to learn to dance with a partner of their choice within a safe community group setting, where other group members are going through similar experiences or difficulties to their own. For those participants without partners, we can team them up with others or a dance volunteer. Leading a physically active lifestyle during and after cancer is linked to an improvement in many of the adverse effects of cancer and its treatments. We want to help find ways for participants of the course to live well, supporting movement in a gentle environment, and fostering supportive relationships both for people living with cancer themselves and those who are supporting others.


Is it free for both the cancer patient and their partner?



Do you need any experience of dancing?

No previous dance experience is needed. Our classes are a gentle way of getting their bodies moving. The style is gentle and safe, low impact and low intensity, like walking to music. The classes are designed in such a way so goals are easy to achieve and strive for. Getting everyone involved no matter what their ability.


Do you need any specific level of fitness?


Dancing for Health programmes are specifically designed to accommodate patients with restrictions in movement or reduced fitness levels. Ideally participants will be able to walk unaided but we can also cater for those that use walking sticks. Participants take the class at their own pace, and can rest at any point, as and when necessary.


What can people hope to achieve from the dance sessions?

We hope the Dancing for Health sessions will have a beneficial effect on physical, emotional, social and psychological health for individuals and their partners.


Classes are relaxed and fun, with easy to follow dance moves. Dancing is a multidimensional activity that contributes positively to many aspects of a persons overall health. Dancing keeps both the body and brain active which is vital for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Because dancing is weight-bearing, it can help improve bone density and offset some of the risks associated with osteoporosis, for example, this is especially important to counter act the medications from breast cancer treatments that reduce oestrogen levels and weaken bone density. It can also improve flexibility, muscle strength, balance and coordination, which is something that is especially important in older people. Dancing also boosts happiness and mental health. Psychologically, dancing offers an opportunity to be with others, which helps with stress, fatigue and raises self esteem and self confidence. The music that accompanies dancing can heighten energy, motivation, mood and generally provide an enjoyable time.


Their partners,(family members or friends) may also feel grief, anxiety about the future, and potentially stress associated with a new caring role. Coping with cancer can feel isolating. These factors may contribute to changes in relationships, giving rise to a ‘carer/cared for’ relationship. The dancing for health classes will build on their social and emotional connections with their partner by way of active participation.


What would you say to encourage someone to give the class a go?


No matter what your ability or fitness level, we can work out a dance routine to suit you. We have had patients that walk aided by a walking stick and even patients using crutches, who believed they would never dance again be completely amazed by how much they could actually do, when placed in ballroom dance hold with a partner supporting them. One patient had a dream to learn salsa but thought she never would when she was diagnosed with cancer, we made that dream come true. Another remarkable patient recovering from cancer of the jaw had, had his fibula bone used to re section his jaw. This left him with a weakness in his leg and affected his balance. After taking up one of our classes, not only did his mobility improve, but his balance along with his self confidence also returned. This patient felt like a new man and life was good again. So when you think your dancing days may be over, they may have only just begun. – Give us a try!


If you would like to give dancing a try, join Dancing for Health every Tuesday at St Andrews United Reformed Church, Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield. For more information and to book, visit