Circle dancing for people with dementia

In 2014 I received training with Dementia UK on how to run circle dancing workshops for people with dementia.

The course prepared me:

  • To provide circle dance sessions for people with dementia
  • To enhance users’ well-being by providing an activity which provides connecting with others despite diminishing communication, exercise and movement, and offers scope for further reminiscence work
  • To offer scope for appropriate cultural re-linking through the range of music used in Circle Dance
  • To offer an achievable activity for care staff to use in their programmes
  • Identify situations where they may personally find it difficult to be assertive and strategies for dealing with these
  • To revise skills on group work, use of music, observation and monitoring, sharing project work within the workplace, and to be aware of legalities of using recorded music in care settings


Dance and Movement have successfully been included in care provision activities for people with dementia for many years. Making use of rhythm, music, touch and movement, for people who experience difficulties with communication and loss of confidence has been evidenced as promoting their well-being. Since the late 1990s, there have been a few dementia practitioners offering Circle Dancing in Day Centres and Care Homes.

What is Circle Dancing?

Circle Dancing has developed from traditional folk dance from around the world. There is now an extensive network of groups in the UK. Circle Dance emphasises relationships, group belonging, emotional and physical aspects of being. All the dances are done in a circle, usually holding hands.

How can it work for People with Dementia?

Dances from the Circle dance repertoire have been carefully selected and adapted. The features of being in a group, touch, holding, gentle swaying, promotes relationships, sound, stimulation – all help to retain feelings of personhood.

The cultural range of dances can also re-link both users and participating staff with their cultures. The leader needs to have experience of working with people with dementia and an interest in dance and movement.

Circle Dance Logoness