Category Archives: free sessions

Autumn 2018

Here are dance groups inviting new participants this month:

Fifteen dancers are improvising, with three duets smiling in the foreground

Mixed-Abilities Dance Group: A new inclusive dance group is starting on September 20th. Mixed-abilities dance group sessions are free and are on Thursdays 1:00pm-2:00pm. The group includes people who experience disability as well as people who don’t experience disability.

Photo: two adults dancing facing each other looking down

55+ Dance Group: An inclusive, collaborative dance group, mostly 55years+ (but younger folks welcome), starts with a free introductory session September 21st. 55+ Dance Group sessions are Fridays 10:30am-11:30am at Cedar Hill Rec Dance Studio.

Photo of ten people dancing, some holding hands, some on their own, five people seated and five people standing.All Abilities Dance Group: A Monday morning all abilities dance group in collaboration with a local non-profit organization.

Invitation for ideas and suggestions: This season we will be checking in with folks through a survey about what types of sessions or groups people would like to be part of in 2019. The survey will be sent through the Dancing for Wellbeing newsletter; if you would like to sign up your email please use the contact page.

Dancing in the Morning – Wed. Jan. 4th

Dancing in the Morning: an inclusive dance session
Art of 8 people dancing in front of a rainbow, three seated and five standing; below is a heart, humminbird and music notes
Art by Naomi Kennedy.

Wed. Jan. 4th, 2017
at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre’s auditorium (3220 Cedar Hill Road), in Lekwungen (Songhees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Homelands.

All abilities welcome.
Wheelchair accessible.
Please refrain from wearing perfume/scented products on the day of the event; thank-you.

(Donations welcomed: all funds raised will go to the Dance Alchemy project, for dance sessions with people who are refugees and newcomers.)

Dancing in the Morning brings together participants from various community dance groups and interested community members. The event is hosted by Dance Alchemy & the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, in partnership with Saanich Parks & Recreation, and facilitated by Joanne Cuffe.

Session details: There will be a warm-up in a big circle, dance activities for meeting new people and interacting in smaller groups, a dance party, and a cool-down in a big circle. There are chairs available if you would like to be seated some or all of the time.

If you would like to donate but cannot attend the event: please donate by cheque to the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria with “Dance Alchemy” in the memo line (or donate online through CACGV’s website) and please send a note to Joanne with your name so that we can make sure your donation is allocated to the dance sessions with people who are refugees and newcomers. Thank-you very much! For a description of the project, please see the Dance Alchemy page.

If you require support to participate, please come with a caregiver, friend, staff or translator. Thank-you! We very much apologize that there are not accessibility funds available for this event (e.g. no bus tickets, etc.).

Dancing in the Morning on Jan. 4th is focused on adults. Participants from day programs, group homes, seniors’ residences, dance groups and local communities are welcome. If you are part of a group that will be attending the event together, please RSVP estimating how many will be in your group.

To be in touch: for questions and accessibility requests, please contact Joanne.

Optional photo area: Please note that there will be two designated areas in the room throughout the event: 1) an area near the main entrance for people who do not want to be in any photos, and 2) an area at the far end of the room for people who fully consent to being in photos at the event. Joanne Cuffe will be the caretaker of the photos, which will be used in spreading the word about community dance initiatives with Dance Alchemy (see below), the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, Saanich Parks & Recreation and Creative Momentum (this website).


Photo of a dozen people dancing, a few holding hands, some on their own, five people seated and five people standing.The Dance Alchemy project began in 2015 through the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria and facilitated by Joanne. In 2016 four artists collaborated with four community dance groups, with people with diverse abilities, older adults, and newcomers, and five dance groups came together for a Celebration in June 2016, Photo of 11 adults in a circle, with everyone reaching one or two arms up above their heads. Some are holding hands. Three people are using wheelchairs and eight people are standing.with funding from the BC Arts Council.

Photo: 7 women facing the camera, smiling, posing with arms out holding ribbons.Participants with the Wellspring dance group came up with the idea of having an event inspired by the Friday Namaste Music program but focused on dancing.

Photo of 6 dancers (ages 30-100) seated in a semi-circle, each with their right hand reaching to their right foot, and smiling to the camera.Dancing in the Morning is focused on everyone present being participants. The next time the event happens, it could also include a bit of time for performing, if a few dance groups would like to each share a dance they have created as a group.

If you have a suggestion for an accessible venue for future Dancing in the Morning sessions, please be in touch (the Cedar Hill Rec Auditorium is booked most weekday mornings except Jan. 4th). Thank-you.

For other upcoming opportunities to dance (e.g. Adaptive Dance classes Mondays at 1pm; 50+ Dance Troupe Mondays at 2pm, etc.), please see the dancing page.

Want to help create a 50+ Dance Troupe?

Dancing in community is an excellent way to engage with aging.

This is an invitation to join a new dance group, which will be shaped by participants’ interests:

50+ Dance Troupe
*the group will come up with its actual name once it meets.

Mondays 2:00pm-3:30pm
At Cedar Hill Recreation (3220 Cedar Hill Rd) in the Dance Studio.
Free. Facilitated by Joanne Cuffe in partnership with Saanich Parks & Recreation.

Oct. 17 – Nov. 14 (5 weeks): Dancing + Brainstorming sessions. Sessions include an hour of movement (a warm-up and guided improvisation activities for moving as a group) and a half-hour of brainstorming ideas and discussing what everyone is interested in.

All abilities welcome. No prior dance experience needed.

50+ is just a suggestion; adults under 50 are welcome too if there is room.

No need to register – just come by the dance studio on the dates that you can make!

If you are interested in the dance troupe but not available this autumn, there will be an opportunity to join the group in the New Year (there will be an intro session on Monday Jan. 23rd at 2:15pm-3:30pm at the Cedar Hill Recreation Dance Studio).

For more information: contact the facilitator or just come by a session!

Background context:
-Earlier this year, participants in Joanne‘s Dance for Brain Health class at Cedar Hill Recreation suggested creating a seniors’ dance troupe. We’re glad to move the good idea ahead!
-Dancing is fantastic for brain health, as well as physical, emotional and social well-being. Research has found that frequent dancing is one of the best activities for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Dance Without Limits – Tuesdays 5pm, ages 5-15

Dance Without Limits is a free adapted dance program by the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC. Children and youth of all abilities are welcome, ages 5 to 15+.

I had fun facilitating the first Victoria class today, with a great group of participants, families, support workers and volunteers!

And there is room for more to join: if you know anyone who might be interested, please share this link: The classes are Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, from Feb. 9th-March 8th at Cook Street Village Activity Centre (parking lot entrance). To register, call 604-408-9484, or email

p.s. Here is a short video from the program in Vancouver:


Dancing at Our Place

Want to dance like no one’s watching? There are free drop-in dance sessions on Fridays at 1pm at Our Place (919 Pandora Ave.), on the second floor in the interfaith chapel.

Art of 8 people dancing in front of a rainbow, three seated and five standing; below is a heart, humminbird and music notes
Creative Momentum art by Naomi Kennedy.

No prior dance experience needed. (-:

On Fridays we’ll do a simple warm-up and then a variety of dance activities. The focus is on moving in new ways, releasing stress, being creative & having fun.

The overall style is freestyle / dance improvisation, with guided activities, where we each choose how we feel like moving & interacting. Music requests so far have been rock, reggae, swing, disco, hip hop, salsa, Arabic, soca, dub, + more ideas are very welcome.

You are welcome to dance seated, or to stand. Activities are adapted for the group. Facilitated by JoanneQuestions? Ask Joanne on Friday just before 1pm or be in touch. The sessions began in September and will continue over the winter until February.

Accessibility: To use the elevator to access the second floor, please ask at the front desk. To confirm in advance that the elevator is working, or to check about the width of the doorway into the chapel, call Our Place 250-388-7112.

Dancing for brain health: demos memo

I had fantastic times at the Dancing for Brain Health demos last week! Thank-you to everyone for your great reflections and feedback.

Last Wednesday at the Monterey demo we fit 19 of us in a smaller room and filled the place with laughter. We warmed up with the BrainDance, and mid-way through the demo, each person suggested a fun dance move for the group to follow. We began the cool-down with mini dances (dancing with just one part of the body at a time, inspired by a Margie Gillis activity) to Dancing Queen by ABBA.

An image of the brain with a few sections labeled.
Image of the brain, from OpenStax College*

On Friday in Cook Street Village, we were in a much bigger room, although with around 24 of us in a big circle we filled up the space. We did a simple social dance step in twos, sparking new connections and boisterous conversations. We played a human-sized tic-tac-toe game, and then waltzed with scarves while singing along to Que Sera Sera by Doris Day. Most participants were in their 50s-70s, although the age range varied from 30s-90s.
A side note… on Friday a participant left behind a brassiere – if you forgot to take your bra with you, please find it at the Cook Street Village Activity Centre lost & found!

Although the demos were big groups, the upcoming series of classes will be kept smaller so that we have more space for moving around. Each week will include a variety of dance activities and types of music. There is still some room in the series on Wednesdays at the Monterey Centre and Fridays at Cook Street Village Activity Centre.

Is there anything that you are wondering in terms of what the upcoming sessions will be like, or whether it will be a good fit for what you are looking for? If so, please be in touch (see the Contact page for contact info – there is also a sign-up form for the monthly Dancing for Brain Health updates there). And please feel free to share this memo with any friends you think might be interested.

Thank-you everyone, and I hope to dance with you soon,


*Creative Commons brain image by OpenStax College: The Central Nervous System. OpenStax CNX. May 10, 2013

Upcoming Free Sessions!

You are warmly invited to these free classes:

  • Monday Aug. 25, 11am: Dancing for Brain Health 11am at James Bay Community Project (547 Michigan Street). To register: Lisa 250-388-7844 ext. 308.
  • Monday Sept. 8, 1:45pm: Dancing for Wellbeing (all abilities) at Cedar Hill Recreation (3220 Cedar Hill Rd, Saanich). RSVP to the Saanich Arts Centre: or 250-475-5557. Drop-ins welcome.
  • Thursday Sept. 11, 7:30pm: Intro to Dancing for Wellbeing at Heart & Hands Health Collective (851 Cormorant Street). To register: contact Joanne. Drop-ins welcome.
  • Wednesday Sept. 17, 2:30pm is FULLDancing for Brain Health at Monterey Centre (1442 Monterey Ave, Oak Bay). To register for the series that starts Sept. 24th: 250-370-7300 or online.
  • Friday Sept. 19, 11am: Dancing for Brain Health at Cook Street Village Activity Centre (1 – 380 Cook Street). To register: 250-384-6542 / Drop-ins welcome.

Click on any of the above dates for details about that session.

Dance Games in the park! + Pride flashmob?

Would you like to help create a simple dancing flashmob for Pride?

Come by Wed. June 25th to come up with a flash mob together. It will likely be based on dance improvisation games, so that it is easier for people to join in. There will be no need to remember a routine or fancy choreography. No particular dance skills needed.

Photo of a rainbow crosswalk and 7 people crossing the street towards the camera
Rainbow crosswalk, photo by Travis Lupick:

We’re meeting up behind the Fernwood Community Centre (1240 Gladstone) – either on the field, or on the basketball court if that is more accessible for anyone. For a map: it is at William Stevenson Park in Lekwungen Homelands.

7:00pm Dance Games warm-up facilitated by Joanne

7:30pm Planning a flash mob for during the Pride festival (Sun. July 6th) and/or Alt Pride Community Festival (Sat. July 5th), if we have enough people confirmed. If not, we’ll hang out and have a picnic in the park. (-:

For some ideas for the flash mob, here are some video examples – perhaps the flash mob could involve the liveliness of this flashmob in Mumbai (YAARIYAN presents MUMBAI QUEER FLASHMOB 2013), include a ‘follow-the-leader’ game perhaps led by a child (e.g. Little choreographer), and there could be an option during the flash mob for some people to do a bit of free-form partner dance that people will be learning on June 28th at a Homospun eventDo you have any examples of flash mobs that you really like? Feel free to comment below or send the link. Thanks!