Project Description

Dance Carousel

Dance Carousel started in 2019. It was a women-only class (ages 14+) sharing International dances from around the world. It spawned to encourage fitness, wellbeing, social interaction and engagement of cultures in a safe and friendly environment. The project encouraged women to dedicate an hour and a half each week to doing something for themselves. Running in six week blocks, attendees had a chance to try out different styles of dance including African, salsa, Latin fusion, flamenco and Egyptian belly dancing.

Multicultural Cumbria’s Tina Borgia led the project. She said: “I am delighted to be able to offer this exciting project. It has been created after speaking to some women from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority backgrounds who told me they don’t feel able to access exercise because of cultural modesty and either a lack of a support network, such as having family members to look after their children, or due to financial constraints.”

Free childcare was available for those who needed it, making the sessions accessible to those who did not exercise because of family commitments.

Multicultural Cumbria teamed up with iCan to run the in-person dance sessions, which had just established a new dance studio space. The project was also supported by the This Girl Can initiative, which encourages more women to get active, have fun and lead a healthy lifestyle.

During the 2020 lockdown, classes moved online online due to COVID restrictions. This was funded by Sports England. These online Zoom classes ran from September 2020 to December 2020. They were led by two tutors – Shweta Ajay led the Bollywood classes and Joy Dale led the African dance classes.

The classes started with a warmup at the beginning and finished with a cooldown at the end. Women were able to join and engage from the comfort of their homes during lockdown. The classes were projecting from the Dance Carousel Project at the iCan gym that took place every week.

We felt it was important to continue classes during lockdown as many people were suffering from mental health issues and isolation. It became a way of many women feeling a part of the community, being able to feel healthy and active and improve their mental health. Women who had language barriers were able to embrace the language of music through their tutors and feel connected via Zoom. Every week was a progression and at the end of both sessions women were in practice of a new cultural dance and feeling fit mentally and physically. The classes were very successful and enjoyed by the women attending, giving them a way of being comfortable while keeping fit and socialising.

In 2021, as we stepped out of lockdown, it was extremely important to be social and enable women to interact with others. Multicultural Cumbria launched a project entitled ‘Dance Around the World,’ teaching Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical) and Bollywood dance for an interval of six weeks for each block. Taking into consideration that Zoom enabled us to connect with Cumbria on a wider scale, we offered an option for online classes too.

These classes were conducted by Jayashree Naveen, with Shweta Ajay leading Bollywood dance. Elaine Bromley led the warm ups and cool downs and supported everyone in looking after their bodies during the sessions.

We wanted to enhance the experience by facilitating the classes in a new dance studio at the University of Cumbria.

Culture has many strands, one of which is dance. Like food, dance brings people together having a language of its own that we all can be part of and enjoy the rhythm of life.

Dance Carousel started in 2019. It has been a women-only class sharing International dances from around the world.

Dance Carousel

Join Our Cause

As a charity, we have to raise funds for local projects and core costs. Activities we deliver are:

Culture Bazaar – An annual multicultural event in Carlisle that averages 4,000 visitors over the February half-term weekend.

During Covid-19 Lockdown, we have produced Culture Club Magazine online, to share experiences, knowledge & skills to keep connected and raise awareness of the cultural diversity in Cumbria


Join our community of volunteers who have over the years ensured our community stands united and proudly together. There are lots of activities to get involved in, get in touch!