Step Change

About Step Change

Step Change was conceived as part of a national drive to create healthier and more active communities by enabling people to take greater control over their lifestyle choices.

It ran in schools and youth groups; with adults and active over fifty-year-olds; with people with learning and physical disabilities, and with the frail elderly in residential care centres and homes. 

Step Change built upon Take Art’s increasing knowledge and experience of delivering major participatory dance projects.  By developing the organisation’s relationships with Arts Council England, Sport England, NHS Somerset and Somerset County Council, Step Change addressed their shared Arts and Health objectives through an ambitious programme of dance in the community. 

The project has had a significant impact on people and communities across Somerset and has left a tremendous dance legacy for the county.

To request a full version of the film Step Change: The Story on DVD please contact

I was attracted to this new adventure. I liked the idea of doing something active and creative that wasn’t fuddy-duddy or bop-bop. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

Dancer in Porlock

Between September 2008 and March 2010 Step Change:

  • Provided the opportunity for 1,900 people in Somerset to take part in regular affordable dance classes
  • Helped participants improve their physical and mental health in a supportive social environment
  • Enabled a team of 12 professional dance artists to work with 63 dance groups in over 35 locations across Somerset
  • Worked with a wide range of people, including children (5-14), young people (14-19), people with learning and physical disabilities, adults (20-50) and people over the age of 50, including the very frail
  • Provided training and mentoring opportunities for over 80 support staff, volunteers, teachers and dance professionals to continue dance activity independent of Step Change

What the people say

“Efforts to improve health and well-being need to reach everyone in our society. Dance has a long history of successfully working with hard to reach groups and building a sense of social cohesion within communities.” Caroline Flint , Former Minister for Public Health

“I have noticed changes in my body. I feel that with continued attendance my body has become stronger and more precise in its ability to move. The dance class always leaves me with a feeling of being uplifted, joyful and satisfied with life.” Lyndsay, an older dancer from the Wincanton Group

“I’m glad I came to these dance sessions because if I hadn’t, I would probably just be sitting on the sofa, watching TV and eating a packet of crisps!” James, a younger participant from the Riverside Youth Centre in Dulverton

“Delivering physical activity initiatives within the community can increase the opportunities available to Somerset residents by reducing barriers to participation.” Louise Woolway, Public Health Specialist, NHS Somerset

“The fact that Step Change is delivered in the village or the next door village is the most important thing. If it’s accessible on your doorstep you’ll get far more people than if you ask them to travel.” Jill Parker, an older dancer from Holcombe, East Mendip

“Coming into Step Change was like reconnecting with myself as an artist and a teacher and I feel really confident now that this is a new area of practice for me, particularly working with the over 50s.” Sue Way, Take Art, Dance Artist working with older people 

“It just feels really valuable. It feels like this is something in their life that might make a difference. So we are talking about changing their life as opposed to just taking part in a dance class for an hour.” Katey Leader - Dance Practitioner working with Youth Dance

Contact Dance Director, Alison Lord | 01460 249450