Shirley Ballas joins Alliance to celebrate Social Value of Movement and Dance in Parliament

Shirley Ballas, Marius Iepure and the Alliance's Movement and Dance division at the event ()

The Sport and Recreation Alliance, in collaboration with figures from the movement and dance world, convened at the heart of the UK's political landscape to mark the public launch of the groundbreaking report – ‘The Social Value of Movement and Dance’.

The evening brought together influential individuals who contributed to the creation of this report and also aimed to share its findings with those who have the power to influence and effect change.

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sport, Kim Leadbeater MP, took on the role as host and was able to extend a warm welcome to distinguished guests representing the movement and dance sector, as well as esteemed parliamentary colleagues.

Kim Leadbeater, Shirley Ballas, Julie Elliott at the Movement and Dance event ()

The occasion was provided with additional glamour by the presence of Shirley Ballas, Head Judge of the renowned BBC dance-show sensation, Strictly Come Dancing. Shirley was joined by professional dancer, Marius Iepure, as they lent their support and star power to the celebration.

In her address, Shirley Ballas expressed her perspective on the multifaceted impact of movement and dance, saying, "It is not just the health and wellbeing benefits we should focus on, but the ability it has to bring communities together. Dance events and festivals provide platforms for cultural exchange and celebration of heritage. They promote understanding and appreciation of different cultures, fostering social cohesion and unity."

Reflecting upon the report's recommendations, Ballas highlighted, "Emphasising dance as a tool for societal improvement is now imperative. Promoting the use of dance in schools, community centres, and local classes can benefit our nation in so many ways.

“Dance activities encourage creativity, self-expression, and confidence, empowering individuals to realise their full potential. By recognising the profound benefits of dance and actively incorporating it into educational and community settings, individuals and society as a whole can reap the rewards of improved mental health, physical vitality, and a stronger sense of unity."

Lisa Wainwright MBE, Shirley Ballas, Eve Knights and Marius Iepure ()

Lisa Wainwright MBE, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance spoke passionately about the report's significance and the potential it holds to revolutionise society. She stated, "This report enables us to showcase the collective strength of movement and dance, allowing it to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the traditional sports sector in demonstrating the many benefits it offers."

She added: "The significance of this report encompasses every sector of society. It presents us with a compelling case for using movement and dance to enhance outcomes in areas such as health, education, crime prevention, and social cohesion. We hold in our hands an opportunity — an opportunity to effect meaningful change and forge a brighter future for our communities."

She concluded her address with an impassioned call to action, stating, "Together, let us seize this moment and embark on an exciting journey—one that leverages the power of movement and dance to enrich lives, uplift communities, and create a more vibrant and inclusive society for all."

For further information about the Social Value of Movement and Dance Report and to access the executive summary and full report, please visit the following links:

Executive Summary

Full Report

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Shirley Ballas at the event ()