Viv Gordon, Mean Feet Dance Awarded Arts and Health South West 2015 Individual Prize

08 July 2015

Professional Dance Artist Viv Gordon is the founder and Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance in Somerset, specialising in dance for individual and collective wellbeing, working with people of all ages and abilities, particularly those on the margins of society. Viv’s own lifelong mental health issues and her own experiences of the stigma and discrimination around Mental Health have informed her work and practice in this area.

In 2009, Viv initiated the One Step Forward for Good Mental Health programme championing cultural inclusion for people with this hidden disability – as a means to stay well and gain artistic voice to challenge stigma and discrimination by speaking up about experiences.

In 2014, Viv became the GDance (Gloucestershire Dance) Disabled Choreographic Fellow. She is currently piloting the I Am An Egg Dance Company offering dance training to professional and community dancers with mental health needs. She is also making her first solo show, I Am Joan, a hopeful comedy about trauma recovery.

The prize was awarded by Arts & Health South West (AHSW) and kindly sponsored by the Fine Family Foundation. It celebrates inspirational arts and health projects and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field in the South West of England. AHSW is a nationally recognised, registered charity which promotes the use of the arts to encourage health and wellbeing.

The winners were selected from more than 50 organisations across the region and were announced at a prize giving event at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on 8 June, held to coincide with the exhibition, William Hogarth: Painter and Printmaker. Hogarth was a founding father of Arts and Health through his work with the Foundling Hospital.

Mean Feet Dance were awarded a high commendation for work across Somerset with their One Step Forward dance and mental health programme. Running since 2009, this project promoting positive emotional wellbeing through the use of creative dance has empowered hundreds of individuals to boost their wellbeing and achieve or maintain good mental health. Dance in particular combines both the physical benefits of exercise with the expressive potential of the creative arts.

Viv and Mean Feet Dance continue to build on this great work with I Am An Egg Dance Company holding a taster day for new members on 22 June at Bridgwater Arts Centre, Somerset. This work has kindly been sponsored by The South West Foundation, The Learning Curve and Somerset Skills and Learning.

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