Filipa Pereira-Stubbs’ Story

Filipa Pereira-Stubbs’ Story

Filipa Pereira-Stubbs travelled to the USA in 2014 to learn about dance programmes for older people.

The Fellowship

Filipa is a dance artist with 25 years’ experience working in dance and health. She is currently the director of DanceMoves, a Cambridge-based company committed to extending the life-affirming and therapeutic benefits of movement and dance to healthcare and community settings.

For her Fellowship, Filipa visited three leading city hospitals in the United States, researching how Wellness and Arts programmes served patients, staff, caregivers and the wider hospital community. She also spent time with a number of other dance and creative practitioners who work with older people.

A highlight of the trip was participating in a dance class with the then 94 year old dance legend Anna Halprin on her sunlit outdoor dance floor in California. Filipa enjoyed hearing about how Anna maintains her sanity and health by dancing in her studio and creating afresh, every day.

The Fellowship caused Filipa to reflect on how to challenge and shift concepts and practice around the creative potential of older people, particularly towards maintaining health, wellbeing, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life, with and without illness.

The Results

The thinking and practice developed by the Fellowship has allowed Filipa’s work in the community and in hospital to grow in scope and strength. A recent award of charitable funding from the Dunhill Medical Trust to develop and embed the dance programme for older people in Cambridge University Hospitals will enable DanceMoves to increase delivery and widen the scope of their work. This will also fund a specialist nurse specifically to support the programme for a further two years. In addition, the work will receive academic research and evaluation, which will be crucial to disseminating information and good working practice. In the two year funded period, DanceMoves will work with 6,500 older patients.

In the community, DanceMoves are currently developing a new project which will give older people, who might not normally have access to local cultural heritage, the chance to develop creative work in new settings, such as the illustrious Fitzwilliam Museum.

DanceMoves recently collaborated with Kettles Yard, the University of Cambridge’s modern and contemporary art gallery, on a project based in a care home which aimed to map the stories of the people of North Cambridge. While enjoying classic songs, dancing and movement, people were invited to share stories about their lives. One resident remarked that “Memories are made of love”. You can watch a film about this project below.

Read Filipa's report here

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Read more Fellows' Stories in Creative Ageing