Coventry University students tackle the emotive issue of dementia through dance

University news

Wednesday 02 May 2012

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Coventry University students Memories in Motion will be presenting their original dance piece looking at dementia and its affects, to coincide with the start of Dementia Awareness Week (May 20th – 26th).

As part of the SPECTRUM 2012 performing arts festival – which takes place at the University throughout May – Natalie Wilson (22) and Sophie Fithern (21) have created ‘Imagine not knowing...’, a dance piece that focuses on communication, memory and how, in the later stages of the dementia, there is a deterioration of both body and mind.

This idea started from a module both students took as part of their Dance Making and Performance course that looked at the connections between our minds and bodies. Linked with Natalie’s work as an Activities Coordinator in a nursing home, they based their final projects on dance movement therapy and the benefits this can bring to older people and those living with dementia.

Currently, 16% of the UK population are over 65 years of age, and this is expected to rise to almost a fifth of the total population by 2030*, naturally leading to a higher numbers of dementia cases. It will therefore be increasingly important to look at a range of treatments and the possible role dance therapy could play in this.

Natalie said:

“We developed ‘Imagine not knowing...’ to highlight the real stories of dementia suffers. We have gained a lot through studying at Coventry University, and have used this to help present a unique interpretation of the illness.”

Memories in Motion will be performing ‘Imagine not knowing...’ at the Start-Up Café on campus (behind the Hub). There will be three performances taking place on 18th May (donations welcomed).

SPECTRUM 2012 is Coventry University’s annual festival celebrating the huge diversity of imagination and talent of its final year performing arts students. The festival forms part of the undergraduates’ Degree Show 2012, which exhibits the original work of the UK’s next generation of creative talent.

For further information and images, please contact Sarah-Jane Dean, Communications Assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7688 8245 or email

*May, H & Perrin, T. (2000) Wellbeing in Dementia An occupational approach for therapists and carers (Churchill Livingstone: Edinburgh)