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Development   /  Lauren Rose Beck


This dance community is transforming the lives of an unlikely group of people forever.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Lauren Rose Beck

  • PRODUCER Molly O'Conner



In a world where we are increasingly disconnected, Dancehall culture is bringing hope to Australians. For retiree John it offers a way to rebuild his self-esteem post-divorce but, having never danced before, can he learn the steps? For workaholic Kayla, finding a place to express herself around other women of colour is a lifeline. For grieving Sam, dance is helping her to process her trauma. Will this unlikely troupe help each other heal as they prepare to take to the stage?

SHAKE celebrates some of Jamaica’s most prolific dancers, now living in Australia, and the many lives they have transformed through their inclusive Dancehall programs. Each dance step in Dancehall has been created to reflect real life: whether it’s dishing out the rice at dinner, collecting your paycheque from the ATM, loving or fighting, Dancehall offers participants a radical, endorphin inducing way to express themselves. And it’s taken Australia by storm.

This film is about much more than dance, it’s about finding social connection, meaning behind movement, physical empowerment, and a way to process trauma. SHAKE reimagines our notions of dance by celebrating culturally and gender diverse participants aged from 7 to 70 on stage for the first time. This dynamic, feel-good film will have audiences dancing, literally!

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0% funded
  • $120,000.00

  • $0.00

  • September 2023

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Many Australians across age demographics, have been struggling with loneliness and social isolation. A staggering 1 in 3 Australian’s surveyed have reported feeling lonely on a regular basis. This has devastating effects on our physical and mental health. Social isolation has also been linked to mental illness, emotional distress, the development of dementia, premature death, poor sleep, and poorer immune function (Hawthorne 2006; Holt-Lunstad et al. 2015).

Compounding these negative effects, our inactivity further threatens our national health. Our collective trauma is literally getting trapped in our bodies, but the good news is, dance can help. Dance therapy has been shown to help release trauma from the body for patients suffering ptsd. (Levine, 2016). Moreover, encouraging community connection which incorporates dance can help members improve physical, social, cognitive and emotional outcomes. Now more than ever, we need a dance community where everybody is welcome.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our dream is to facilitate new modes of human connection and activity to ensure a healthy, happy population. We want to promote productive conversations around mental health, and to encourage audiences to question their modes of self-care. Most of all, we want people from all gender expressions, ages and cultures to feel inspired to take action and to reach out to their local artistic community, or to create their own inclusive group.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Stimulate conversation around mental health and physical wellbeing.
Question personal barriers to artistic expression and community engagement.
Try something new; join the post-screening dance class!

Audiences to seek out their local community arts organisations or start their own.
Arts organisations to find ways to modify their programs to make them more inclusive.
Councils to implement more community-building arts programs.
Local businesses and organisations to help existing art organisations to run/ fund/ promote their programs.

Improved health and well being for the nation.
Improved respect for cultural traditions.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Outcomes will be achieved through broadcast and community screenings of the film, through workshops supported by talks from the filmmakers and mental health professionals and through targeted social media strategies from the filmmaking team, impact partners and community groups themselves to engage with and direct people to reach out to and participate in their local community.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

This film is being made in partnership with a variety of dance and arts organisations including the Jungle City Dancers, The Burn City Queens, Dance Jamaica, I Love Dancehall and the Jamaican Food and Wine Festival.

We have also partnered with a local group of clinical psychologists who have been consulting on the ways in which dance can help people release trauma from the body and heal. Not only have they informed the project thus far both on and off camera, but they will continue to advise during the editing process and community screenings programs.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Following the film screening, we will urge viewers to:

Engage with the project's social media page to stay up-to-date with upcoming events and get involved with the conversation around wellbeing.

Participate in the dance class or arts activity following the screening.

Join a local community arts organisation or create their own

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will be measuring the success of the program through social media engagement data, the number of attendees at public screenings and events, the number of views on SVOD platforms and the number of new members joining our creative arts organisation partners following the tour. Success would involve both regional and city engagement and community screenings across all states and territories with 5 000+ new members on the film’s social pages and partnering arts organisations reporting a significant increase in membership in relation to their capacity and current levels.

Alongside these quantitative measurements we will also ensure we are collecting qualitative data through interviews with attendees at community and focus group screenings.