Dance for Wellbeing: With Dementia

A dance class holds hands in a circle as they dance

Dance for Wellbeing: With Dementia
With Jacqui Simmonds and Debora di Centa

Update due to coronavirus

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we are postponing all Dance for Wellbeing classes presented by Belconnen Arts Centre for the foreseeable future. Your health and safety are the most important things to us, and we will be working as quickly as we can to find ways to redesign the program so it can be presented safely. We will do everything we can to keep the classes connected during the coming weeks while it isn’t possible for us to come together in person. We will keep you up to date as we work out the details.

In the mean time, keep dancing at home using our online instructional videos, available for free here.

Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to dancing together again very soon!

Belco Arts is providing the first regular dance program in the ACT for people living with dementia. Classes include a variety of different dance and movement activities that can be seated, standing beside a chair, or moving independently if appropriate, always to fabulous music. Classes are aimed at providing a dance class that offers a gentle workout for the brain and the body, resulting in positive emotional responses, increased mobility, elevated quality of life and opportunities for relaxation for people living with dementia and their supporters. Scientists have discovered the neurological benefits of dance and movement, and it has been found that the mental coordination that dance requires activates several brain regions which can strengthen neural connections and can improve memory.

About the tutors

Jacqui Simmonds (BA, MFA) has been involved in dance education for over three decades, developing, directing and delivering tertiary dance degrees, and in senior management, overseeing student engagement. Jacqui’s approach to teaching dance is underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of the body in movement and of the elements of dance, and ongoing exploration of making dance accessible to everyone. She is currently working with Ausdance Victoria to develop a Creative Ageing Skill Set, teaching dance to older people. Jacqui is Artistic Coordinator for Canberra Dance Theatre and Co-Artistic Director for CDT’s GOLD Company. A qualified Iyengar yoga teacher, she also teaches at Canberra Yoga Space.

Debora di Centa is a Canberra-based independent dance artist and choreographer. Debora grew up in Italy and started dancing at a young age. She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and she is an expert in Laban Movement Analysis. Debora has studied and collaborated in dance works, research and performances with various artists and dance specialists around Europe, US and Asia. She teaches, performs, choreographs, and directs dance events and, since 2016, is leading the Canberra Contact Improvisation community, as well as training pre-professional contemporary dancers at Dance Development Centre Canberra. As an independent artist, she works through her label ISEMS PROJECTS. Her motto is ‘Dance for All!’.


$10 per person, per class

Paid carers and those accompanying Companion Card holders are free.

What to bring

Participants must be accompanied by a support assistant. Please wear clothing suitable to move in and light shoes, and bring a water bottle.


Participants do not need to enrol in advance, just turn up on the day. All new attendees need to complete a registration form at their first class, which is available at the front desk at Belconnen Arts Centre.

More info

Please contact Dance for Wellbeing Program Officer, Philip Piggin, via email or phone (02) 6173 3300.

Part of the Dance for Wellbeing program, an initiative of Belco Arts, supported by Parkinson’s ACT. Thanks also to Musica Viva AustraliaCanberra Theatre CentreLorna Sim PhotographyAusdance ACT and the National Health Co-op.