Updated: Feb 1, 2020
A class with an energetic dance vibe and great music, from a DJ who regularly spins the discs at Boteco do Brasil in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Mango in Glasgow.
This is just one of the great quality classes available via Musically Active Dudes (MUSAC), a dance, music and movement charity set up in 2008 by Livingston resident Ruth, who wanted a meaningful activity for her son to do. He still attends, 11 years later, and the group now offers a range of movement and music classes for people of all ages who have severe to complex additional support needs.
“Our attendees range from young adults who come here when they graduate from their school environment, as well as older adults. The groups are also suitable for those in the early stages of dementia,” explains Sophie, who is on the committee of volunteers and whose brother has been enjoying MUSAC classes for eight years.
I attended the Brazilian dance class at Crofthead Community Centre in Dedridge one December morning, to get an idea of what the group offers. It’s busy and energetic with a great buzz. Each person attends with their support worker. The class is run by Beats of Brazil, which is one of the three professional companies who provide four different classes for MUSAC. After a few sets of toe-tapping tunes, I got to find out a bit about the group and what drives it. West Calder resident John Dirkie’s love of all things Brazilian led to him starting dance workshops a number of years ago; one thing led to another and now, along with his (Brazilian) wife, they run a programme of classes for special needs schools in North Lanarkshire, as well as the Livingston classes for MUSAC and a range of other classes and performances throughout Scotland. The two MUSAC classes are Samba dancing on a Monday and Brazilian-inspired percussion on a Thursday.
“It’s so good to see people getting out to the classes, being active and social,” says John, who is also on the committee of MUSAC. “They always leave with a smile on their face. There are almost certainly people within West Lothian who are looking for meaningful activities to get out of the house, and who could benefit from the classes, but they don’t know about MUSAC yet. We’d love to welcome them!”
Besides the Beats of Brasil classes, MUSAC offers dance and movement via Indepen-Dance, a Glasgow-based company which provides classes for both disabled and non-disabled. Participants use their imaginations to inspire and create routines and to develop rhythm and movement. Singing and vocalisation classes are also offered via Hear My Music, allowing participants to express themselves and their thoughts and feelings through singing.
All of the tutors are experienced not only in their area of music and dance, but also in working with the disabled community, so you can expect a very high quality experience offered at each class. Participants are supported to retain, relearn and develop skills, improve fitness, physical and mental health, as well as socialisation. It also offers support workers the chance to meet each other and further their professional development.
There is nothing else like it in West Lothian. “It definitely beats sitting around at home. There are spaces in all the classes, and new members will be warmly welcomed.”
For more information please contact MUSAC on
Call Ruth on 07890 522864 or Mary on 07876 073710
There is a small contribution of £7 per session with membership (membership is £5 per year) paid in blocks of 6 weeks. (£8 for drop-in without membership). Come and try first class for £6.
MUSAC is a charity registered in Scotland SC040674
Published in Konect February 2020
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer