“Dance – New Moves in Health Care”, the 2020 Forum on December 11, comes at a time of challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The topic has become even more prominent and relevant as individuals and communities seek to adapt and self-manage in the face of such physical, mental and social health challenges.
The forum presents an overview of a number of different approaches and dance-based programs already implemented across Europe and the US. We focus on the successes and the challenges of other countries and their innovation and future developments. We bring together international experts and practitioners from the fields of dance for health, dance sociology, neuroscience, health economics and health insurance who present current best practices and research that will open up the Austrian discussion. Oliver Graber, composer and neuroscientist, will talk about recent neuroscientific research findings. Kai Lehikoinen from Finland will provide a European perspective on Dance for Health, and Edith Wolf Perez will focus on the situation in Austria. While there are a number of exemplary initiatives, the discussion about it has only started last year with the workshop “Arts for Health” by the Federal Ministry of Art, Culture, Public Services and Sport. Arts for Health Austria will be presented to the public at the forum. This newly founded association aims to address the structural shortcomings in the field. Begoña San José highlights the recent developments in e-health, while David Leventhal, director of Dance for PD, presents ‘virtual’ applications of dance-based programs that target at-risk populations. During this time of confinement dance practitioners were forced to develop an online alternative to maintain what is for many a physical and social lifeline.
Many positives came from this necessity as practitioners discovered that ‘virtual’ dance actually facilitated access to quality dance-based programs and overcame geographical, social and cultural barriers. Clare Guss-West and Andrew Greenwood, the directors of the Dance & Creative Wellness Foundation predict that this on-line offer is here to stay and organisations such as Dance for PD® (USA), Switch2Move (NL), MoveDanceFeel (UK), Konzert Theater Bern (CH) will continue to develop creative on-line interventions to supplement live activities long after the lockdown measures have been lifted. This forum itself offers multiple-access possibilities by providing a ‘hybrid’ format of both live and virtual attendance via the interactive platform ZOOM of the MQ Vienna event. The forum is interactive and will provide room for discussion live and online in smaller groups. “Dance – New Moves in Health Care“ is hosted by the Dance & Creative Wellness Foundation and Arts for Health Austria in collaboration with the Department of International Cultural Affairs at the Federal Ministry of Art, Culture, Public services and Sport, as well as MQ Vienna.
By Edith Wolf Perez, D&CW Advisory Board