Joie de Vivre is a collection of images designed to showcase the beauty and vitality of older dancers with the aim of encouraging others to take part.

Joie de Vivre will be displayed in the corridor of Witney Community Hospital between the hospital’s reception and café from 27 April to 1 June from 10 am to 5 pm.

Older woman dancing outdoors

Sandra Thibault from Retrospectif Dance Company. Photo by Kevin Clifford.

The exhibition has been brought to Witney Community Hospital by the Creating With Care programme, which is designed to use the creative arts to improve the experience of patients and carers and has been developed by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Paula Har, Clinical Nurse Specialist Mental Health and Dementia, said: “It’s wonderful that we’ll be hosting the exhibition. It’s showing people how they can continue to live well in older age no matter what your illness, whether you’ve had a stroke or dementia. It’s about including older people and giving them the opportunities to express themselves and be heard.”

Creating with Care

Group of older people crouching

Members of Inner Ground Dance Company. Photo by Matt Austin.

Creating With Care is part of the council’s priority to enable residents, particularly those in vulnerable groups, to gain better access to health and wellbeing services and activities and has been funded from developer contributions.

The two-year programme began in January and is offering workshops in drawing and painting, poetry and storytelling along with dance and movement sessions at patients’ bedsides as well as in groups.

Hospital staff also have a chance to dance at lunchtimes once a week while every month a dancer dressed in 1950s-style clothes serves tea and cake in the day room and wards.

Older woman dancing

Jane Chadney from the SAPTA dance company. Photo by Kevin Clifford

Diana Shelton, Shared Head of Leisure and Community Services at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “These images are not just fantastic photographs but offer inspiration for everyone to enjoy dance. It is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages.”

The photographs have been sourced from Bournemouth-based national dance development organisation Pavilion Dance South West. Pictured are Graham Jagger, Graham Turner and Steve Cook from Salisbury dance company Dance Six-0 (image credit: Kevin Clifford).

Chief Executive Zannah Doan said: “This exhibition demonstrates the beauty and power of the older body. Dancers can be old as well as young. Dance makes a unique contribution to health and wellbeing as it involves music, creativity, exercise, social interaction and touch – all of which contribute to making a person feel healthier or happier. So keep on dancing!”