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Cover image from SFC report  Scotland's Research Contribution to National and International Challenges

Research Impact

The wider benefits of dance are being more closely understood through a pioneering research and knowledge exchange partnership between Scottish Ballet and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).

A diverse series of research projects between the two partners has encompassed both physical and mental health, and included work with vulnerable at-risk young people as well as those living with dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

By enabling it to access research skills and expertise not readily available to performance arts organisations, the collaboration has supported Scottish Ballet in its mission to ‘inspire on stage and beyond’. For researchers at RCS, their work with Scottish Ballet has provided them with a unique research environment and unprecedented access to contribute to the under-researched area of Dance Health.

The partnership dates back to RCS’s involvement in ‘The Close’, a project which introduced at-risk young people to dance and music for the first time. It was designed to develop personal and social confidence and interpersonal skills through creativity.

In working with people with multiple sclerosis, dementia and Parkinson’s, Scottish Ballet’s aim has been to both improve individuals’ quality of life, mitigate symptoms, and create a joyful dance experience. It has sought to extend the benefits of dance in a way that meets the specific needs of each group.

A tenet of the RCS research has been to recognise the importance of inviting dancers to share their experiences, and to be active participants in the research. The impact of this research has been passed on to the client groups through the subsequent refinement and development  of  Scottish Ballet’s outreach programme.