Improving Young People's Mental Well-Being through a Dance Programme (2020-21)

Body Politic logo: the letters B and P with geometric designs in black

Project Lead:

Dr Bahar Tunçgenç   l   School of Anthropology   l   University of Oxford

Partner Organisations:

Body Politic


According to a 2017 NHS survey, 12.8% of youth in England have at least one mental disorder. The main predictors of mental disorders are living in deprived areas, lacking social support and overall poor well-being. Mounting research shows that engagement with arts and physical activity can incur individual mental health benefits and facilitate' social relationships and functioning. Building upon this body of knowledge, this project aims to examine the efficacy of a 5-week-long community-based dance programme on improving at-risk youth's mental well-being, social relationships and school performance.

This project involves the partnership of Body Politic, a theatre company conducting dance programmes to improve the mental well-being of at-risk youth, and Dr Bahar Tunçgenç, a psychologist with years of experience researching how physical activities such as dance improves children's social relationships.

The project is a 5-week dance programme in schools. During the programme, participants will first focus on a topic of interest (e.g., managing aggressive behaviour) and produce a dance piece representing this topic in small groups, and a variety of evaluation methods will be used.

Findings will be shared in due course.