Louisa White has run her community dance practice for 20 years, which includes six years in dementia care, and throughout that time her work has been supported by The Point and Eastleigh Borough Council. She spoke to Suna Imre.
Q: What do you do as an artist?
A: I’m a dance facilitator, I go into care homes and work with people living with dementia, and through movement interaction I build a rapport and support engagement, movement, identity and reminiscence.
Q: And as a dancer? What’s your toolbox and what inspires you to move?
A: My toolbox is an awareness of the ground, my breath and my heart, an awareness of the space and the energy around me and between me and another. My very existence is my tool kit, and I guess what I want to do, what inspires me to move, is to share that awareness and bring that awareness to others so that they too can have the experience for themselves and their world around them.
Q: Why do you think that’s important?
A: We all need to know who we are and where we are - that’s the place of making authentic relationships whether that’s with our selves or with others.
Q: How do you think working in this way impacts your mental health?
A: Since lockdown I’ve noticed a big change; not being able to work and make connections has had a big impact on me. I’ve long known that having an embodied practice is good for me. It allows me to forget about the business of the mind - the bills, the troubles, it all becomes irrelevant. It feels as though it wipes the slate clean and then I feel revitalised. I’ve found a way of supporting my mental health by supporting others. By empowering other people I’m also empowering myself.