Participation and Communications Volunteer Opportunities for the spring term 2018

We have an opportunity for two people to gain valuable experience within Green Candle Dance Company working with children, young people and older adults.

At Green Candle we believe in providing professional development opportunities and experiences for dance artists new to the field, or looking to enhance their knowledge. We are currently looking for two participation and communications volunteers to join our team for the spring term 2018. This is a unique chance for artists to gain practical learning and leadership skills in the community arts. We are seeking enthusiastic and motivated individuals who can assist in the delivery of weekly sessions for a variety of groups, and support the office with communications and general administrative support.

These two new roles are suitable for those interested in developing skills working with children and young people, older people and those with dementia. Candidates will assist classes led by the Green Candle team at our home in Bethnal Green as well as in a variety of settings in the community that may include care homes, day centres, nursing homes and schools.

Both candidates will need to be available for one or two of the following days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – consistently throughout the summer term, which runs from week commencing Friday 12th January to Thursday 29th March.

The opportunity to assist will offer the successful candidates the chance to experience dance delivery in a variety of contexts. Due to the nature of the environment where our dance sessions take place, we expect the candidates to be open-minded and have a warm, friendly persona. Candidates must hold a current enhanced DBS certificate. This is an unpaid position; however, the Company will cover travel expenses within London.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send your CV and a covering letter outlining your reason for applying to or call 0207 739 7722 for more information.

Application deadline: 12 noon Wednesday 3rd January 2018
Interviews: Monday 8th January 2018 by invitation only at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, London, E2 6HG.

Fundraising Officer – New Freelance Opportunity

Green Candle Dance Company is creating a new post of freelance Fundraising Officer and seeking to recruit an enthusiastic and creative individual

Freelance part time post: 2 days per month with provision to increase dependent upon results (specific days to be agreed upon appointment)
Salary: £150 per day self-employed (inclusive of travel expenses)
Please note that this will be a freelance contract and you will be responsible for your own Public Liability Insurance, Tax and National Insurance.

Green Candle Dance Company is one of the country’s leading dance companies working with and for children, young people and older adults. The company is now looking to recruit a fundraising officer with proven experience of fundraising for participatory arts. S/He will be responsible for researching and developing new funding streams to support the increased call for participatory projects and will demonstrate prior knowledge of applying to trusts and grant-giving bodies.

The successful candidate will be contracted on a freelance open-ended contract at 2 days per month, with a 6 month probationary period from start date. The fundraising officer will be based at the company’s office in Oxford House, Bethnal Green and will report directly to Artistic Director Fergus Early.

Closing date for applications: 12 noon Wednesday 11th October 2017.
Interviews: Invitation only interviews will be held in the week of 30th October 2017.
Start date: November 2017 (specific days to be agreed upon appointment)
Probationary period:  6 months from start date

For more information or to request an application pack and job description email:
Vicki Busfield, Community & Education Manager at:

Green Candle is an Equal Opportunities employer. Appointments will be subject to references and Enhanced DBS checks.

Job Opportunity – Communications and Marketing Officer

Green Candle Dance Company is creating a new post of freelance Communications and Marketing Officer and seeking to recruit a creative, enthusiastic and skilled individual

Freelance Part time Post: 4 days per month (specific days to be agreed upon appointment)
Salary: £120 per day self-employed (inclusive of travel expenses)
Please note that this will be a freelance contract and you will be responsible for your own Public Liability Insurance, Tax and National Insurance.

Green Candle Dance Company is one of the country’s leading dance companies working with and for children, young people and older adults. The company is looking to recruit a marketing and communications officer with experience of managing digital communications, developing marketing material and delivering a social media strategy that extends the reach of our work, engages new and current audiences, and builds our brand and profile.

The successful candidate will be contracted on a freelance open-ended contract at 4 days per month, with an initial 6 month probationary period commencing from start date. The role will be based at the company’s office in Oxford House, Bethnal Green and s/he will report to the Community and Education Manager.

Closing date for applications: 12 noon Wednesday 4th October 2017.
Interviews: Invitation only interviews will be held in the week of 16th October 2017.
Start date: November 2017 (specific date to be agreed upon appointment)
Probationary period:  6 months from start date

For more information or to request an application pack and job description email:
Vicki Busfield, Community & Education Manager at:

Green Candle is an Equal Opportunities employer. Appointments will be subject to references and Enhanced DBS checks.

Moving into Maturity October 2017

A two day introductory professional development workshop:
Leading Dance with Older People and Dance & Dementia

24th & 25th October 2017

Due to popular demand Green Candle Dance Company is pleased to announce they will be holding a second Moving into Maturity workshop in October 2017. Booking is now open for this two day introductory course, for those interested in leading dance for older people and dance for dementia.

Moving into Maturity is a specially designed introductory professional development course for people who are working or intending to work with older people. Suitable for professional dance artists, health care professionals and students, this course will introduce you to some of the key skills needed to lead dance sessions, both seated and standing, with older people and people with dementia. Attendees are welcome to take part in the two days or join us for one of the days – depending on their interests.

Both days will include the unique opportunity to share in the knowledge and experience of participants who regularly take part in dance activities with Green Candle – the Green Candle Senior Dancers on day one, and the participants of the Remember to Dance programme for people with early to mid-stage dementia and their companions and carers on day two. This session will be accompanied by live music.

When: 24th and 25th October 2017, 9.30am-4.30pm

Where: Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG

Fees: One day – £70 / £55 concession; Two days – £120 / £95 concession (students, unemployed, 60+)

Thank you for a great training day on Wednesday, it was very interesting and informative. I particularly enjoyed the practical session with the Remember to Dance group, what an inspirational they all are! I was aware the fusion of live music and flow of movement created a dynamic and holistic approach allowing individuals to immerse them selves quite spontaneously and with much enjoyment.

I shall certainly be integrating my learning into further development of my dance practise and workshop delivery.

Day one: Leading Dance with Older People, Tuesday 24th October 2017

Led by Fergus Early, participants will take part in practical sessions for older people as delivered by Green Candle (standing and seated), including warm ups, stretching, improvisation, a choreographed sequence and cool downs. A wide range of discussion about ageing and the empowerment of older people will be facilitated.

Day two: Dance and Dementia, Wednesday 25th October 2017

Our second day will address leading dance specifically for people with dementia. Fergus Early will focus on the application of dance sessions for people living with dementia including practical activities and reflective discussions, and in addition a Dementia Awareness presentation will be led by experts from the Alzheimer’s Society.

To find out further details and book a place contact:
Community and Education Manager, Vicki Busfield:, Tel: 0207 739 7722 

Moving into Maturity is an excellent introduction to Green Candle’s Diploma Course ‘Leading Dance with Older People’ accredited at Level 3 and running for 6 weekends between October 2017 – April 2018

Diploma in Leading Dance for Older People

Places still available for Green Candle’s unique and hugely popular Level 3 accredited course starting in October 2017.

Suitable for teachers, dancers and dance students, health care workers, occupational therapists and activity coordinators, the Leading Dance for Older People Diploma provides an understanding of how to lead safe, effective and enjoyable dance and  movement work with older people.

‘The course gave me new insight into practical aspects of teaching and acted as a spring board for potential areas of theoretical research.’   Course participant 2016-17

For full details of the course, how to apply and 2017-18 dates take a look at our Courses page.

Reflections on Sagacity 2017

At Green Candle we are thrilled with the response from Sagacity 2017 and as we reflected on the success of another fantastic festival of older people dancing, we also wanted to celebrate our 30th Birthday year with some of the participants and performers who make the event so special.


Our Sagacity workshop day this year was themed around the year 1987 – Green Candle’s founding year and a memorable year in popular culture, music and dance. Participants in our workshop day learned sequences from Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ and Dirty Dancing, as well as learning the Jive to Jackie Wilson’s ‘Reet Petit’ and developing creative choreographic ideas based on the Bangles ‘Walk like an Egyptian'; all from the year 1987.


The dancers thoroughly enjoyed the fun and variety offered on the day and shone in their performance sharing session:


“We had the most amazing time. The dance instructors were fantastic, friendly, enthusiastic and encouraging. It was lovely to see the dancers from other groups, and the food was lovely. Thank you so much.”

“Great fun. Great music. Meet lovely people. Brilliant learning new routines and seeing it come together. Thank you.”

SagaCity! 2017

Sagacity! 2017, Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ workshop 

SagaCity! 2017

Sagacity! 2017 Dirty Dancing workshop


On day two we were thrilled to host six high quality older dancers companies who performed an eclectic range of dance work in the theatre at Oxford House. Performances were by ‘Boundless’ from Trinity Laban, ‘no Dance no Joy’, ‘Hornsey Dance’, ‘D2D’ Dance Company, ‘Slo Mo’ and ‘Dancing to the music of time’ from Greenwich Dance.


“What a beautiful evening celebrating how wonderful older people are. A brilliant much needed positive representation of what older people can do. We need it!”


“Inspiring and motivating dancers. Fabulous performances, thank you for all your good work.”

The Green Candle Senior Dancers also performed a promenade piece which led the audience through Oxford House and out into the sunshine of Weavers Fields, taking inspiration from the landscapes of our East London home and engaging a wider audience of evening onlookers in the park.


Green Candle Senior Dancers - Art in Motion

Green Candle Senior Dancers - Art in Motion


Thank you to all the performers and participants who joined us in making Sagacity 2017 such a great success. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!


~ The Green Candle team ~

Sagacity! 2017 is here!

Monday 3rd & Tuesday 4th July 2017

Green Candle Dance Company’s annual festival celebrating older people dancing is back for the fifth year running!

Sagacity! is held over two days offering a range of free dance activities for participants to get involved in, or if you don’t fancy dancing yourself you can choose to sit back and enjoy watching some unique older dance companies for free in the gala performance.

Day One: Monday 3rd July
‘Back to ’87’ – Participate and Enjoy!
This year Green Candle is celebrating it’s 30th Birthday and to celebrate this we are going ‘Back to ’87’ with themed dance taster workshops inspired by some of the popular music and film highlights of the year.
After working up an appetite during the morning workshops enjoy a free tasty lunch and then to round up the day join us to watch a free film screening in the Oxford House theatre of the classic 80’s film Dirty Dancing!

For the full Sagacity! schedule on offer click here to take a look.

“Sagacity gets better each year. Thank you guys for all your hard work. Great fun, love meeting different people, learning new dances and having fun.”  Sagacity 2016 participant

Day Two: 4th July
Gala Performance
Join us for an evening of “marvellous and unique”* performances by some of London’s most diverse and vibrant older people’s dance companies.
*audience member Sagacity! 2016

Green Candle Dance Company

“Eclectic mix of dance, very high standard, innovative, provocative and entertaining. Long may it continue.”
“I didn’t know what to expect but I completely and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very inspiring!”
Audience members Sagacity! 2016

Sagacity! is a free event but booking is essential.

To book or enquire contact Vicki Busfield, Community and Education Manager;
Tel: 0207 739 7722

Sagacity! is supported by Tower Hamlets Council


best day ever..!

This Spring we held a youth gala performance platform in the theatre at Oxford House as part of our partnership with the THAMES Dance Consortium which saw performances produced by East London dance organisations Laban, Chisenhale Dance Space and East London Dance through bespoke dance activities in Tower Hamlets Schools.


Students from Redlands and Smithy Street Schools performing Blame it on the Bollywood, Photography by Rachel Cherry

At Green Candle we worked with our Youth Dance Company BanglaHop! based at Secondary School Mulberry School for Girls, along with two feeder Primary Schools – Redlands and Smithy Street – who worked with a fusion of Bangra, Bollywood and Street Dance to create their performance piece Blame it on the Bollywood.


Students from Redlands and Smithy Street Schools performing Blame it on the Bollywood, Photography by Rachel Cherry

The students had a fantastic experience which they shared with us as well as joining in celebrating our 30th birthday in the lower gallery of Oxford House after the show.

100 097

I will never forget this moment

Lovely varied programme, nice to see different ages and styles

It was amazing, I loved every second of it. Thank you! :)

Students from Redlands and Smithy Street join in Green Candle’s 30th Birthday Celebrations:

Dementia Awareness Week 2017

Here at Green Candle Dance Company we have been working with older people in dance for nearly 30 years, and over the past five years we have raised the profile of high quality artistic dance activities for people with dementia. Through creative, inspiring and uplifting dance projects we bring together people with dementia through music and dance, with proven benefits to participants’ active daily living, socialisation, mental and physical health and wellbeing. We believe that everyone has the right to access dance and that public interest and demonstration of our work can help to break down preconceptions of dementia and attitudes towards the visibility of older people in our society.


Remember to Dance is our flagship dance and dementia programme – launched in 2013 as a two stranded project, Remember to Dance in the community, taking place weekly during term time at Oxford House in Bethnal Green, and Remember to Dance in Hospital, taking place twice weekly in the assessment unit for patients with acute dementia at Mile End Hospital.

Following a rigorous research process by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, alongside the initial two year programme, the report, Remember to Dance: Evaluating the impact of dance activities for different stages of dementia, was released in February 2016 and can be found at

The research demonstrates that dance has the potential to help address choice and control in decision making, development and maintenance of relationships, physical and mental health, wellbeing and engagement and contribution to their community for people at different stages of dementia.


Continuing on from this two year process, with the evidence of results from ground-breaking research, we continue to run weekly Remember to Dance classes at Oxford House for people with dementia, their family and carers, who gather together to enjoy the uplifting experience of dance, live music, social interaction, artistry and creativity which stimulates the imagination and promotes overall wellbeing.


We spoke to the wife and principal carer of one of our regular participants, who reminded us that Remember to Dance provides an important opportunity for carers as well as participants with dementia:

Remember to Dance is a giggle, it is a place where my husband is able to keep active and, personally, it meets a need to unwind. It’s a place to form friendships and let down my hair, but most importantly it allows me to laugh!

Whether the participant has dementia or not is not of importance; through Remember to Dance, every participant shares in the laughter, enjoyment and pleasure.

Everybody knows somebody with dementia. To make those people aware of the pleasure gained and the laughter shared through Remember to Dance is vital. The environment created is very social and relaxed, there’s a sense of freedom; everyone involved is of equal importance and endless opportunities are offered for participants to excel in their movement. This equality needs to be shared with the public.

– Wife of participant with dementia, Remember to Dance weekly classes


Last year, as part of Dementia Awareness Week 2016, participants of Remember to Dance shared their experience in a public workshop for the first time at an interactive sharing event in Walthamstow. Members of the Remember to Dance group took part in a performance at Walthamstow Town Square in the event ‘All Together Now’, enabling the general public, friends and family to celebrate the achievements of the group members, and raise awareness of the importance of arts activities for people with dementia.

Walthamstow Dementia Awareness Week May 2016

Fergus Early, Artistic Director of Green Candle, reflected on the significance of the public presentation:

One of the more surprising results from the research is that, using a standard ACEIII cognitive test, the mean score for the community group rose from 50.8 at the start of the project to 55.3, out of a possible maximum of 100, after 2 years. On another level, I was very aware of a marked improvement shown by the group as a whole over the 2 years – their range of movement, their ability to remember sequences and their skills in recognising and executing expressive  movement were all far better  – if nothing else, this strengthens my belief that dementia shouldn’t be seen as just a slow retreat down an ever darker corridor, but we should recognise that people living with the condition can learn, gain skills and retain a valued and valuable place in society. I was very proud of our public appearance and particularly delighted when a good number of the audience jumped up and joined us on stage!

Members of the Remember to Dance group were overwhelmed by the experience and the amplified energy that the public demonstration gave to the group.

… the pleasure both the participants and audience members received was enormous! Carer, Remember to Dance


The benefits of programmes such as Remember to Dance find recognition through public demonstrations such as this; most significantly, these opportunities give participants an added chance to demonstrate their learning and achievements. In addition Green Candle Dance Company believes that everyone, regardless of age or ability, has a right to dance, and public demonstrations of our work can begin to change public perception and attitudes towards dementia and the artistic value of dance with older people #unitedagainstdementia #DAW2017

The reflective role of a community dance artist

Danielle Teale considers the multifaceted nature of best practice…

This spring term, Green Candle Dance Company was commissioned to deliver a project across Norfolk in collaboration with Creative Arts East for their Spirit of 2012 funded project ‘Our Day Out’. This project aims to reach older people at risk of isolation and people with dementia living in the community, along with their partners, family and carers, to engage with fun and creative dance and music activities:


Rural and regional touring has always been a staple of Green Candle’s performance history and participatory work is a central part of this. With our growing reputation for high quality dance delivery for older people and people with dementia, Green Candle is now increasingly in demand to develop and deliver bespoke dance projects within this field of practice across the UK.


In this current period of growth within the field of dance and health the focus is increasingly directed towards evidence gathering to advocate for dance as a positive intervention for the health of people living with long term conditions such as dementia. We at Green Candle have added to the body of knowledge that now exists, with our in depth research into the successful Remember to Dance programme that we deliver for people living with dementia and their carers in London – now two classes, one in Tower Hamlets and one in Redbridge.


However, for this project we have been interested in the nature and format of the delivery of these sessions and what the value and role is of a specialist practitioner. With a long standing commitment to high quality, specialist practice, Green Candle has always sought to develop knowledgeable and reflective practice and ensure that our dance artists represent this quality in all our participatory work.


We invited our Community Dance Artist Danielle Teale to discuss the multifaceted nature of the delivery of these sessions and what is required of a skilled artist working with such a diverse range of people across multiple locations…



“When reflecting on the planning and delivery of these sessions I began to recognise the sheer breadth and scope of the role I and other dance artists in my position hold when it comes to managing a delivering a class of this type. These include:


  • The exploration of movement with diverse bodies, experiences and needs in the room;
  • The accessibility of the activity and the use of various forms of communication through the body and verbally
  • The navigation of sensitive relationships between carers, partners, artists, and in some cases staff members;
  • The set-up of the space for maximum engagement and safety;
  • The management of the energy and atmosphere of the session and the sensitivity to shifts in dynamic and mood;
  • The use of resources such as music and props to develop that atmosphere;


“The role of a dance artist could be described as that of a mediator – ensuring the delicate balance between all these multifaceted layers is maintained in order to provide an experience that is fun, engaging, supportive and nurturing for all dancers, as well as safe and effective as an activity. No small task!


“Due to the nature of this project, (4 venues, each with 6 sessions every other week over a period of 3 months), there was time to reflect on the delivery in a much deeper way than is usually possible. In addition, I filled out a reflective log after every class – a fantastic tool that Creative Arts East have implemented in order to capture learning and build on the project and skills required over three years.




“Some of the key things that have stayed with me within these categories I feel are worth discussing in more detail.


“It is a constant ebb and flow process during a dance session of this diverse nature to ensure that the challenge of moving is engaging but not overwhelming, and that achievement is possible for all members of the group. When the challenge of effective communication is at the forefront, as it often is in dementia settings, the ability to attend to each individual in the room and ensure they are achieving their fullest capability is often demanding on the dance artist.


“On the subject of challenge – I have often encountered a misconception that older dancers and dancers with dementia need a diluted, simple or ‘slow’ version of a dance exercise in order to achieve. However, I would recommend that challenge is an important tool to develop muscle memory, strengthen neural pathways and build confidence.


“For people with dementia, challenge could be defined as pushing the boundaries of physical movement capacity; enabling the contribution of ideas and improvisation; or working with new people and in new spaces that are unfamiliar. All of these things can cause anxiety, concern or distress if mismanaged, however in the dance setting where there is no right or wrong and all contributions are valid, there is no better place to introduce new challenges.


“Whilst these sessions in Norfolk were set up for participant and carer or partner to dance together, it is not expected that the carer has a knowledge or understanding of how to support their partner to achieve their movement potential. In fact it is a valuable aspect of the programme that the carers often attend in order to enjoy and appreciate dance for themselves, so that their care giving and supporting role can be alleviated for one hour of their day.


“It was really apparent to me that there are two major difficulties for a dance artist to overcome when it comes to partners or carers, and both can result in a reductive or negative expectation of what is achievable by the dancer with dementia.


“The first is vulnerability – the partner of a person with dementia can often be uncertain in a new setting and sensitive due to a shift in their role within the relationship or concern about how their partner will react. Ensuring the partner’s confidence is considered is a vital role for the dance artist and can often be more challenging than working with the dancer with dementia. Some carers will put up boundaries in order to protect themselves and their partner, others will stop their partner from trying for fear or negative response.


“This leads to the second of two challenges – control. In the new role as a carer the partner may want to reduce the potential for spontaneity in order for them to manage in a scenario which is increasingly challenging to predict and impossible to control. The result can be reductive or negative behaviour from the partner, stopping the dancer with dementia from partaking fully in the class.


For the dance artist, this issue can be carefully managed over time if subtle tasks are introduced where the partners move chairs, dance with other people in the group, or can begin to see that their spouse is comfortable dancing with a volunteer or the dance artist themselves. In this project it felt we were just getting to these small breakthroughs in some settings and I would suggest that consistency and longevity are key to these achievements being maintained over the long term. Trust in the dance artist can only be built up by the partner and dancer with dementia over time.


“Whilst both these points are pivotal to the success of the classes, there were many other considerations that arose during this project are:


Group Size: A small group can create intimacy but it can also lack energy. A big group can be chaotic and often results in people being overshadowed; but it can also create a powerful dynamic and vibrant energy of collectivity and togetherness.


Venue: Familiar venues can bring a sense of comfort but can also mean that people are less likely to sacrifice their comforts such as their favourite comfy arm chair in order to enter into the mind-set of the dance setting. New venues or settings enable the dance participant to see this as special or unique and take the activity seriously. However, unfamiliar surrounds that take a person with dementia out of their normal routine could be distressing if not handled appropriately.


Longevity of the group: Is this an existing group or a group of individuals coming together for dance… and if it is an existing group have they ever danced before? Whilst they may have less inhibitions when asked to do creative tasks, they may also have a lack of respect for the unique environment of the dance setting and could find it difficult to adapt to new ideas or new people. Although a group of relative strangers coming together as individuals may take a while to build in confidence and rapport, the long term impact for them could be greater as a result of the shared journey together through dance – learning and appreciating the skill and artistry of dance will bring them new perspectives shared together in the experience of the classes.


“This project along with many others I have delivered with Green Candle Dance Company has given me much to consider, reflect on and learn. Most importantly, a reminder of the humanity that is present in all settings when working with people, and the importance of recognising each unique person and their multiple emotional, physical and social needs within one session. Clear and honest communication and empathic understanding are at the heart of my practice and of all the work of Green Candle Dance Company – getting to know the individuals is my key to success.”