Anyone who has let themselves loose on the dance floor knows how good moving to music can feel. For those in recovery from addiction and mental health issues moving to music can have additional benefits to their mental health. Learning to express thoughts and emotions through movement can be an extremely therapeutic process to heal by helping to share experiences and feelings.

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is a non-discriminatory dance theatre company that works with people to support them in recovery from addiction in all its harmful forms. In residence at Chester’s impressive Storyhouse theatre, Fallen Angels use workshops of movement to explore themes related to wellbeing and recovery.

In 2017, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre were successful in receiving financial support as part of Active Cheshire‘s Active Minds investment. The Active Minds investment looked to promote positive mental health and well-being through physical activity as a health tool. The ‘Inspiring Angels’ project was developed by Community Inspirers and is placed at three centres in West Cheshire.

The Inspiring Angels, individuals who have come through their own journey with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, received  various training, including with Turning Point, a social enterprise, providing specialist and integrated services that focus on improving lives and communities across mental health, learning disability, substance misuse, primary care, the criminal justice system and employment. The project officially launched on the 28th February at the celebration event for the West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission – a network of community, voluntary, faith and public sector organisations, as well as ‘community inspirers’ who have lived experience of poverty, which aimed to tackle and eradicate the root causes of poverty.

Kelly’s Story

One ‘Supporting Angel’ – Kelly – has also begun her development to becoming a workshop leader, leading alongside a professional to develop family workshops. Kelly began her Fallen Angels Dance Theatre journey in 2015. She had experienced adversity in the past, including homelessness, which led to addictions. When three months off living on the street, she found out she was pregnant and made the decision to get clean. Kelly says it was her three children that kept her sober.

Speaking about joining Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, Kelly said, “I was so nervous about getting involved, I had danced before as a child and loved it. I knew I needed to do something for myself. I spent most of my time in the house. My confidence was low, and I never believed in myself. Now I am able to go out and do something different, something I love and have a true passion for it is just amazing.” Kelly described how Fallen Angels Dance Theatre allowed her to connect with people and share experiences, in turn building her confidence to go out more, not just to dance.

Kelly moved through the Fallen Angels Dance Theatre progressional pathway to become a ‘Supporting Angel’, supporting other people to participate in the group by taking on other roles and responsibilities. She said, “I want to give people the powerful experience that I had through dance – enabling them to find connection and belonging through the Fallen Angels family.”

Due to physical challenges, Kelly is currently unable to dance, so is driving forward her role in advocacy and presentation. In this project, Kelly will be delivering presentations to inspire local vulnerable people to improve their mental health by being active. The outreach work will open doors to those in recovery to make the step into Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, helping to remove barriers of that initial ‘step’ over the threshold, which for many people can be a difficult challenge to overcome.

For more information on Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, or the Inspiring Angels project, visit the Fallen Angels Dance Theatre website.

Rehab 4 Addiction offers a free hotline dedicated to helping people suffering from drug, alcohol and mental health issues. Rehab 4 Addiction was established in 2011 by people who overcame addiction themselves. You can contact Rehab 4 Addiction on 0800 140 4690.

Photo credit: Andrew Millar