To celebrate Valley and Vale’s 30th year as one of Wales’ leading Community Arts for Development Charities, we are gathering 30 stories from our work over the years. We’ll be putting these on our website, and at the end of the year we will be putting them all together as a printed or online publication.
by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts
I was facilitating a dance project for Asylum Seekers and Refugees at Trinity Church in Cardiff, getting down and funky with the All Women Drop In session at Trinity Church, teaching them social dances and partner work.
The women involved are from all over the world. For some of them this was their first class with me, and for others it was their sixth! The dancing encouraged the women to interact, have fun, boost their confidence and understand the delivery in English.
Towards the end of the class one of the women came up to me and said ‘I have recently been suffering with depression and the medication I am given does not work. This dance class filled me with energy and made me feel so happy again! … I don’t think medication is the cure, I think dance is!’
Another of the women (who I later found out was going through Chemotherapy) went home and phoned her children in their home country after the dance session, telling them how energised she felt after dancing. Apparently it was the first time she had danced since leaving her country and it was a great comfort for her to experience something so close to home.
It is responses as beautiful as these that make moments of my work feel so personal. In my dance workshops these women could let their hair down and not worry about the boundaries they were previously used to in their cultures. It felt truly rewarding to know that I could have such a positive affect on these women.