Arts & Culture Education Health

Street dance project to explore issues around mental health in young people

By John Charlton

The ‘M’ Word, led by Body Politic’s Emma-Jane Greig, is a year-long street dance project exploring issues around mental health in young people. The ‘M’ Word is aimed at 12 – 16 year olds in Blackbird Leys, Wood Farm and Rose Hill.The project is the development of a 10-week dance project held in Wood Farm last year which engaged a large group of young people, all of whom wanted it to continue.

Dance fully engages young people and meets key health and well-being needs by combining physical activity, social interaction and creativity with emotional expression. The project will offer a wide range of opportunities helping to build interpersonal skills and leadership development.

Whilst offering high quality and enjoyable dance opportunities to young people from some of Oxford’s most deprived communities, the project will focus on improving their mental health. With current pressures on youth provision, The ‘M’ Word will be a positive activity for its participants and will have a commitment to longer-term sustainability. The dancers will have ownership of the project by steering its development over the year, and shaping its long-term future. The ‘M’ Word will launch with a series of taster sessions in each area followed by weekly dance sessions. The sessions will run during term-time and offer opportunities to engage with the various city-wide dance festival events linking in with Dancin’ Oxford.

Emma-Jane Greig said, ‘I am really looking forward to launching this project. Through working with Oxfordshire Mind and, more recently, Littlemore Mental Health Centre I witnessed the positive impact dance can have on physical and emotional wellbeing. Plus, it’s fun! What’s more, the partnership with Dancin’ Oxford will enable young people to experience new skills, watch professional companies and gain a unique insight into the dance industry.’

Further information Emma-Jane Greig at or call 07791 905851