Dementia Dance

Reporter: Cassie Silver

It's the debilitating condition over 300,000 Australian's live with every day.

"Well in Western Australia we have over 25,000 people living with dementia" Jason Burton from Alzheimer's Australia WA says the happier and more relaxed dementia sufferers are the more managable the condition is. "Whilst we dont have a cure yet and we cant change the damage to the brain what we can do is change quality of life for people"

Michelle Locke from Perth has created Wu Dow. A dance based therapy mixing movement with music. "I was looking for a way to marry the two like bring together dance which is really healing by itself and using my knowlege of chines medicine to help work the organs in tthe body. Music takes you into your own self expression so you're expressing yourself in your own uique way"

After a back injury cut short her career as a ballerina with the WA Ballet Academy.. Michelle found a new way to heal herself and others. "I was always looking for how can i actually work with people so that I dont have to put my hands on them and they can work with their own healing process and thats how wu dow can about

Wu Dow is a combination of yoga, dance and Tai Chi. It works to balance energy whilst relaxing the mind and freeing the imagination.

Michelle says "all the different movemnets work the different organs, so if you lift your arms above your head that works your lungs for example and once you have all your organs working properly you're going to feel more energised and balanced. It really works to lower the symptoms if they get agitated or uncomfortable or they're feeling a but anxious number one but also just to bring back that joy that enjoyment of life is really really important"

Jason says "When the well being increases we often see a reduction in symptomology in many ways anxiety levels educe, people are more motivated general health and well being increases"

Michelle says "When you're dancing you're actually engaging both sides of your brain so your having to use your logical mind to remember the sequence and we do that alot with everyone but your also engaging your imagination"

With Alzheimer's affecting 38 million people worldwide... Wu Dow has gone global, "we've just opened in new york actualy and different classes in different countries South Africa, Japan and Brazil, New Zealand aswell"

For these dementia sufferers it was definately a memorable experience.

Michelle says "by the end of it they are feeling very happy and thats a big thing to get to you want to be working to having quality of life and enjoyment and everyone needs that"

For further information in relation to dementia please call Alzheimer's Australia WA on 1800 100 500 or log onto

For information on Wu Tao dance therapy please contact:

Michelle Locke at or call: 0417 989 397

Wu Tao website addresses: