"He oozes joy, positivity and warmth..."
Benjamin Dunks is the creator of the Renaissance MSP programme.
Ben has a long history of working with movement in many different forms.
He has spent the past 25 years working in Dance, having been trained in Contemporary Dance and Classical Ballet. He created and performed with companies in Australia, UK and Ireland. These companies included Dance North, Expressions, Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre, Protein Dance, Bare Bones, Coisceim Dance Theatre and Attik Dance. He performed in opera with Opera Queensland and worked on a number of shows with Wildworks.
For the last 12 years Ben's dance work has mostly focused on community, education and participation contexts. In this time he has led workshops and lessons for all ages, from 2 year olds to 85 year olds, for professional dancers to complete novices and for upwards of 80 000 participants.
Ben's movement experience also encompasses a variety of martial arts, from a range of Kungfu styles including Wing Chun, Chow Gar and Hung Gar, Escrima and the beginnings of grappling.
Ben brings all of this experience, and in particular all of his experience in teaching movement and building movement learning processes to ensure participants can learn and explore movement quickly and easily, to the Renaissance MSP programme.
Alongside the core Falls Prevention focus of the Renaissance MSP programme is a commitment to creating a movement programme that is not difficult or daunting to do, but still enables the participant to explore complex movement without having spent years 'training'.
And in making this programme he wanted to focus on themes of gentle exercise, with this focus on balance and strength for older people.
Alongside the Renaissance programme Ben has a range of other movement and dance programmes he has devised and leads.
The biggest is his Primary School Dance programme. With more than 80000 participants in the past 10 years this has been hugely successful. This primary movement programme is now called Real Dance, and is part of the Create Development canon of Primary PE curriculum programmes.
Ben runs a Youth Dance company called Dartington Making Company at Dartington in Devon. This is a company with a focus on exploring release based contemporary dance technique through Improvisation and creating and making dance. This is open to anyone who wishes to join and this is also the only youth company in the UK who work with motion capture and immersive technologies.
Ben has a parkour programme he teaches in secondary schools and also teaches teachers how to lead. He is near the end of a study on the impact of this programme on the heart rate of participants from year 8 in 3 separate schools in Plymouth and Cornwall.
Ben is also a boot camp instructor and is soon to achieve a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning qualification. He currently runs a Kettle Bell focused strength and fitness session 3 times a week for anyone who wants to get stronger and fitter.
There is a theme across all of Ben's work and that is we should all be moving, in many different ways, and in ways that are unique to us. Movement and exploring your body and how it works gives us a unique sense of identity, and there are many ways of moving that give you strength, wider range of motion and confidence in yourself to do new things.
To buy the Renaissance programme click here
Ben talking about Falls
"This programme is brilliant! It has changed my life in so many ways! I am so much more sure of myself when I'm out and about, I'm more adventurous, more confident, so I'm doing much more than I did before..."
Balance is not something that some 'lucky people' are just 'born with'... you can have it too!
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