Dance for Health
Saturdays, Sept. 29 to Nov. 17, 2018
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Ralston Center, 1st Floor Wellness Center
3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Dance for Health, weekly dance sessions and social activities that promote brain health and healthy living among participants in West Philadelphia, will return to the Ralston Center this fall. With the support of the Penn Medicine CARES grant, the program is free and open to the public. Classes will be held at the 1st Floor Wellness Center in Ralston Center, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Dance for Health is offered to participants who are at least 55 years of age and are willing to participate for at least three months. The classes are structured with all participants in mind, including people with some level of cognitive impairment.
Wearing comfortable clothing is recommended to participants so that they are able to enjoy the routines. Class begins with the participants dancing a few routines they already know with the instructors. The instructors will add new choreography to the routines later in the session. The dance numbers remain short and simple enough for participants to join. Instructors David Earley and Selena Williams have taught a few dances classes at the Ralston in the past years, providing an upbeat and fun atmosphere for participants.
Nearly 500 dancers have been brought together since the start of the program, and the program aims to keep West Philadelphians active.
Last semester’s program included three dancers who PMC profiled in a feature: Mildred Johnson, Diann White, and Jakki Brown. For over eight years, Mildred Johnson has participated in Dance for Health, and she has enjoyed how the instructors make it easy for her to follow along with the routine. The social atmosphere has even encouraged some members to form close friendships, like Diann White and Jakki Brown, who became known for loving music and dancing among the other participants.
Originally started by Dr. Terri Lipman of Penn Nursing and brought to Penn Memory Center by Tigist Hailu, the former coordinator of diversity and research, Dance for Health welcomes University of Pennsylvania Master’s in Public Health (MPH) students, Penn School of Nursing undergraduate students, and students from local high schools to become involved in various aspects of the program, such as tracking pedometers, dancing with the participants, and participating in intergenerational activities.