Dance in Hospitals

“To have [the dancers] all year round would be lovely.”

Hospital Staff

We believe that art can have a powerful impact on health and wellbeing. Akademi works with hospitals across London to provide performances and workshops in atrium spaces and within the wards. Our artists work with all ages from young children on the paediatric wards, to older adults and those with long term health conditions; as well as visitors, relatives and staff.

CW+ performances feature on BBC News. 


Akademi has a long-term partnership with CW+ and presents two performances by Indian Classical dance artists in the atrium of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital once a month from 13.00 – 13.45 pm as part of CW+ Lunchtime Concerts. The performance is free, and open to all. After the performance, the artists complete ward rounds, performing and delivering participatory work with patients.

Akademi also provides weekly ward performances at West Middlesex Hospital with one Indian Classical dance artist. These performances take place every Tuesday afternoon across the older peoples’ and paediatric wards.

CW+, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, has commissioned Akademi to present these performances.


Breathe Arts Health Research is a social enterprise company based in London and founded by Yvonne Farquharson. A spin-out organisation from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Breathe delivers a diverse performing arts and health programme across Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Akademi works regularly with Breathe to provide performances as part of their Lunchtime performing arts programme in the central hall of St Thomas’ Hospital. These performances are free and open to patients, staff and visitors.


rb&hArts runs an innovative arts programme at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.  Akademi has a long-standing relationship with rb&hArts, delivering participatory workshops since 2016 for those with long term health conditions such as heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Harefield Hospital.

Akademi and rb&hArts were chosen to showcase their work at the Aesop National Arts in Health Conference and Showcase on 19 April 2018 alongside 24 other organisations. This presentation highlighted the work at Harefield Hospital since 2016 and outlined the project’s next steps towards clinical research in 2018 into the impact of South Asian dance classes on the health and well-being of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients.

In April 2018 Akademi and rb&hArts were granted ethical approval from the Health Research Authority to carry out a 12-week dance intervention study with cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients. This study will encompass physiological and psychological measurements before and after a 12-week dance intervention. The results will be published in early 2019.

Vital Arts

Vital Arts is the arts organisation for Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest Trust in the UK, charitably funded to deliver arts projects for the wellbeing of patients, staff and the wider hospital community. Akademi has been working with Vital Arts since 2016, delivering participatory workshops at the Royal London Hospital for patients alongside the Older Peoples’ Services Occupational Therapy team. An evaluation report of this project can be found here.

Akademi has also provided participatory workshops within the older peoples’ wards at Newham Hospital in collaboration with the Dementia and Delirium team. These workshops bring South Asian dance to those who are bedbound and not able to access group workshops.

Vital Arts and Akademi are also partnering for Tate Exchange 2018 alongside Musicians in Hospitals and continuing to  bring Akademi’s dance artist to more hospitals within the trust.

“Therapy teams should utilise external agencies such as Dance Well – Akademi to enhance service delivery.”

Occupational Therapy team, Royal London Hospital Older People’s Services


Royal Free Charity

The Royal Free Charity Support Hub opened in February 2018 at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead to support and information to people affected by long-term health conditions and their carers.  Akademi and the Royal Free Charity are partnering to offer those attending the support hub access to Dance Well workshops. These workshops will support the ongoing management of their health conditions as well as providing opportunities to socialise with others in the same position.  Workshops take place at the Royal Free Hospital Rec Club in Hampstead.


Imperial Charity

Akademi began working with Imperial Charity in 2018 to deliver Dance Well workshops for older adults on the Lady Skinner ward at Charing Cross Hospital. The Dance Well workshops, delivered within the ward, complement the ongoing rehabilitation of patients to prepare them for discharge from hospital and return to home life. Imperial Charity work across Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and The Western Eye hospitals and are an independent charity raising funds for projects, research, equipment and training.