The Chief Executive of a Thornton Heath charity for older people has used the lockdown to combine his passion for dance with enhancing his qualifications. 

Joseph Jeffers the CEO of ASKI (Advice Support Knowledge Information) in Brigstock Road, has returned to studying dance at the age of 60 after a career in dancing.

He combined his time during the pandemic studying with top dance professionals and delivering well over 4,000 cooked meals to older people as part of the COVID-19 response in partnership with Cassandra Learning in Norbury.

His studies with Suzanne and Dawn Mendonca at DanceMode UK Ltd and the International Dance Teachers Association resulted in him gaining both Associate Level at Merit and Dance Exercise Diploma with Distinction.

ASKI delivers dance to people over 55  as part of its Active Ageing programme, a health and well-being initiative which aims to reduce social isolation. The chair-based and standing dance movement programme is specially designed to engage older people with dance and movement. Joseph started dancing at the age of 11 and went on to gain a BA Degree in dance followed by a career that took him around the world to Japan, Italy most of Europe. This led to choreography work for fashion shows in the Midlands.

Joseph said: “ASKI employs a number of teachers that teach Zumba, Disco, African, yoga and Asian dance all targeting people over the age of 50 plus. 

“We use dance as a medium for bringing communities and people together and our work supports people to use their bodies to express themselves.”

ASKI’S work is expanding in 2021 to work with people living with dementia. 

He added: “We moved our classes online during COVID-19 and as the CEO I have seen how COVID has increased isolation amongst many in society in particular older men and women . 

“I believe that dance and music are tools which can be used creatively to reduce the sense of isolation we are all experiencing at this time.”