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Flamenco fun for people with a Zest for life

Zest Group flamenco dancing
Members of the Zest group had a go at Flamenco dancing during their latest session at Harmonia Village

Published on 10 March 2020

Poetic pensioners unleashed their creativity during the latest Zest session at Harmonia Village at Dover.

The hub at the ground-breaking dementia village in Randolph Road welcomes artists from charity Bright Shadow for the sessions each week, with activities focusing on a different theme.

On Thursday, with artist Sachi Kimura, the group penned poems about childhood memories, composed and performed their own song and had a go at Flamenco dancing.

Harmonia deputy manager Katie Faulkner said: “The Zest sessions are one of my favourite parts of the week and it’s lovely to see everyone interacting, sharing stories and getting creative.

“I am always in awe of the artworks they create, whether it’s sculpture or needlefelting, or composing songs or poetry.

“The Zest team are fantastic at getting everyone involved and we have seen some lovely friendships develop, as well as people growing in confidence through their work with the artists.”

Clare Thomas, chief executive of Bright Shadow, said: “We are absolutely delighted to bring our award-winning Zest sessions to the Harmonia Village at Dover.

“As an arts organisation we share the Trust’s vision of an inclusive, creative community supporting people to live well with dementia.

“Our sessions are open to both residents and non-residents of the village and take place in the purpose-built hub space, which is a great place for people to come and spend time with other people having shared experiences.”

The group works with professional artists to create new work in a range of forms including visual art, theatre, music and dance.

One of the participants, Norma Nunn, who is 83, said: “The Zest sessions really get you out of yourself.

“I used to do Scottish dancing and ballroom dancing, and my husband was a beautiful ballroom dancer. So I really enjoy the music and dancing, but I enjoy all the sessions, and you get to meet lots of people and have fun.”

Zest is recommended for people with memory problems, people living with dementia, and their families and friends, and takes place on Thursdays from 10am to noon.

The first session is free, and subsequent sessions operate on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, with a suggested donation of £3 per week.

For more information call 01227 467272 or email zest@brightshadow.org.uk        

Harmonia Village is holding two open days next month for people to meet the team and look around: Tuesday, 7 April from 11.30am until 6.30pm and Saturday, 18 April from 9am to 3pm.

For more information visit www.harmoniavillage.org.uk