Government of Canada promotes healthy lifestyles through dance

Poster for the Sharing Dance Program

Sharing Dance programs under Canada’s National Ballet School improve health and wellbeing of children, youth and seniors.

Active lifestyles support good physical and mental health. Dance has been shown to have many positive health impacts­ – including improved aerobic power, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility and balance – contributing to a lower risk of illness and injury, regardless of age.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, was joined by John Dalrymple, Chief of External Affairs at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), to announce funding for NBS’s Sharing Dance programs. This community outreach initiative targets youth and aging populations who don’t have access to formal dance programs. Sharing Dance engages participants to develop healthy minds and bodies through free and fun dance programs in safe environments.

Sharing Dance is tailored to a range of community settings, including schools, recreational centres, long-term care facilities and the home, and is adaptable for all ages and abilities. It includes a health and wellness dance program for seniors that focuses on creative movement, injury prevention and improving quality of life, as well as a program for boys and girls that incorporates dance activities to build physical literacy. These programs combine live participation with online resources, including written guidelines, demonstration videos, music and live-streamed classes.

The programs will be tested in 20 communities across Canada, and are expected to expand to more than 120 communities in the next five years.

Quick Facts

  • 80% of adults and 90% of children do not meet physical activity guidelines; approximately six out of ten adults and one out of three children and youth are overweight or obese.
  • As a sustainable activity throughout life, dance provides added benefits not typically obtained through traditional sport, such as improved gait, posture and balance.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing nearly $5 million in funding over five years in the Sharing Dance programs.
  • This partnership project is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Multi-sectoral Partnerships Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease. Through this approach, the Agency has invested $49 million, and leveraged an additional $43 million from partners, to promote healthy eating, physical activity and wellness, and to address common risk factors that underlie major chronic disease.
  • The project supports the Government’s vision for a healthy Canada, a holistic and pragmatic approach to health that focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.


“We are proud to partner with Canada’s National Ballet School. The unique Sharing Dance programs not only provide an opportunity for children and youth to get active and improve physical literacy in a safe and fun environment, but also promote healthy ageing, both physically and mentally, for older adults.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P. – Minister of Health

“NBS is thrilled that the Public Health Agency of Canada recognizes the impactful role dance provides for better health through movement with our Sharing Dance programs, making this one of the first federally funded national public health intervention strategies at this scale that is an arts program. Providing funds to nationally expand these dynamic programs indicates the importance and value that Canadians place on the arts, and dance specifically, as a means of transforming lives and enhancing quality of life.”

Mavis Staines, C.M. DHumL – Artistic Director and CEO, Canada’s National Ballet School

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