Care Community Blog: Dance Cafe York

Kay visits the Dance Cafe in York - hosted by the Alzheimer's Society for for People with Dementia, their Carers, Family and Friends

Retired Care Pro Kay visits a Dance Cafe organised by the Alzheimer’s Society for people with dementia, their carers, family and friends in York. This is part of her blog series to discover the huge range of possible activities for older people in York.

In the interests of my research into activities for our Home Instead clients and families I spent a lovely afternoon at a Dance Café. I danced, I chatted to some brilliant people and, to top it all, I won a bunch of Spring flowers in their raffle. I really have the best job imaginable!

The Dance Café is held every second Tuesday of the month at St Clements Hall on Nunthorpe Road, York. They open at 1.30 and run until 3.00pm. There is no parking at the Hall, but it’s a short walk from Nunnery Lane car park. Some people come by taxi.

Up to thirty people regularly attend the café, but it was quieter this week as it was half term and some of the members had other commitments.  Nevertheless, everyone who came was warmly welcomed with refreshments and promised an afternoon of music and dancing.

Tarin, who organises the group on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society, told me that sessions were free and anyone could come along for a taster session to see if it suits them. If they decide to come along regularly they are asked for some details so that the group can keep in contact with them and are aware of any health or mobility issues that might affect them.

After tea and a chat, the dancing started. First were waltzes and a foxtrot to proper old-time music – Moon River, The Blue Danube and Fly me to the Moon. You don’t need to bring a dance partner as there are always plenty of single people in the group and the organisers make sure that everyone is included. Then the music went a little more upbeat – proper fifties style jive. People danced at their own pace and there were no points for fancy footwork! It was all very relaxed and a lot of fun.

After a short break for more refreshments, I joined the group for circle dances. They had some real party classics: Reach up for the Stars, the Hokey Cokey, Tiger Feet and Agadoo are popular. What I find amazing is that words and steps from decades ago come back to you when you hear an old familiar song playing. It turns out that I still know all the words and actions for the Birdie Song, even though I can’t remember the last time I danced to it. I felt like a teenager again!

After the dancing I had a chat to some of the regulars. One of them told me that she started coming with her husband, who had dementia, and carried on coming after he died as she had found a supportive community at the Dance Café. Another came with his wife, who has dementia. Dancing always used to be something they did together and the dance café made it possible for them to continue their hobby in a supportive, understanding environment. One carer came with her mother, who didn’t want to dance but loved to listen to the music and have a chat.

There was a raffle called at the end of the afternoon. I was chuffed to bits when I won one of the lovely table decorations – bunches of daffodils with rosemary sprigs. My afternoon at the Dance Café put a smile on my face and a spring in my step!

If you fancy an afternoon of dancing, or you care for someone who does, give the Dance Café a whirl.

For more information contact Tarin Puckering on 07708 081680, or simply turn up for a taster session at St Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, 1.30 – 3.00pm on the second Tuesday in the month.

For more information about activities for people living with dementia contact

You can read Home Instead’s guidance on how to age well here.