World Mental Health Day: UK film festival turns to Bollywood dance therapy

World Mental Health Day: UK film festival turns to Bollywood dance therapy

The Tongues on Fire UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) has teamed up with Bollywood Dance School UK and Imperial College London’s Indian Society for a unique “Get the Nation Dancing” event as part of its Talking Therapy initiative to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The free dance workshop, to be broadcast via Zoom between 1600 and 1700 GMT, will be led by celebrity choreographer Shruti Shah – originally from India and now based in the UK.

“The dance workshop is in partnership with Imperial College and we are inviting students from across the UK to take part and post a video of themselves doing the hook step taught during the workshop on to their social media handles,” UKAFF said in a statement.

“Since dance and exercise is a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety, we have joined forces to organise a free and fun dance workshop. To mark the day and unanimously raise mental health awareness, participants can wear a yellow item of clothing,” it added.

The workshop organisers are calling out all dance lovers to:

  • Wear yellow when taking part in the dance workshop

  • Record themselves doing the hook step

  • Post the video clip on social media platforms

  • Tag: @bollywooddanceschool.uk @shrutishah999 & @imperialindiansoc

  • Hashtags #Hear4U #GetTheNationDancing #YoungMind

Given that around 45 universities across the UK have confirmed cases of coronavirus, leading to large numbers of students self-isolating, the workshop is visualised as a way to encourage young minds to combat the fear of Covid-19 through the joy of dance.

Recognising the adverse mental health impact of the pandemic, especially on artists and filmmakers, UKAFF had launched its Talking Therapy initiative earlier this year as part of which therapists provide an over the phone support service. The service offers emotional support, signposting of problems, advice and information with details of organisations and support available for individuals. Led by UKAFF Founder-Director Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE, a qualified psychotherapist, the support line helps individuals dealing with issues such as bereavement, depression, anxiety, stress, worry, feeling lonely and isolated, having relationship problems or suffering domestic abuse.

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