Yorkshire Dance

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Yorkshire Dance supporting Dance for Parkinson’s

Fri 11 May 2018
Part of: Dance for Parkinson's | 2018
An Introduction to Dance for Parkinsons © Sara Teresa

Over the past 12 months, Yorkshire Dance has been developing relationships with the Parkinson’s UK Leeds Branch and the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK to make steps to establish a more cohesive Dance for Parkinson’s community in Yorkshire.

Parkinson’s affects one in 500 of the UK population and has an annual cost to the UK economy £449 million.  The prevalence of Parkinson’s increases with age, although 1 in 20 of those living with Parkinson’s are under 40 years old.

Dance for Parkinson’s can significantly improve the quality of life for people living with the condition. The attention dance can give to flow of movement, to its changing qualities, as well as to pathways through space, produces ways of moving that differ from the habitual patterns of everyday actions influenced by Parkinsonian hesitancy, indirection, and boundness. An approach that looks beyond the functional benefits that dancing can bring, that explores the different qualities – visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic cues, such as music, imagery, and movement structure – enable those dancing to move more freely and therefore promote feelings of competence and confidence.

Over 27 participants joined a two-day course coordinated by Kiki Gale (People Dancing) and led by Dr Sophia Hulbert, Yvette Wilson and Helen Woods (English National Ballet). The course included a live-class with local people from the Leeds Branch of Parkinson’s UK.

Programmes Director, Hannah Robertshaw commented, “It was a beautiful moment to see 50 people all taking part in a Dance for Parkinson’s class, moving together with such joy and expression. It’s certainly inspired the community of dancers who are interested to develop this work in the Yorkshire region.”

The course will be followed by a 12-week programme of Dance for Parkinson’s led by participants that attended the training. Funded by Leeds Get Active, the intention is to give newly trained dancers the opportunity to embed these skills through direct experience of leading dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s in the community. Beyond the 12-week programme, Yorkshire Dance hopes to continue to support independent artists in the region to develop their practice through reflective days, networking, sharing and exchange.

“Attending the Dance for Parkinson’s course in Leeds really exceeded my expectations! From the facilitators who were so inspiring and such a joy to meet and be taught by.

“I learnt so much and has given me the confidence to continue to work towards my vision to work towards planning and devising a class(es) for people with Parkinson’s in my local area.

“Now I shall explore a bursary and look forward to more training, gaining knowledge, learn more about research and raise awareness of Parkinson’s as much as I can.”
Sarah Smith, course participant.

“Our collaboration with Yorkshire Dance has proved to be an excellent example of partnership working to achieve our ambition that everyone living with Parkinson’s has the opportunity to participate in high quality creative dance classes in their local area. I look forward to populating our google map with classes across Yorkshire and continuing to support Yorkshire Dance and local dance artists in this specialist area of dance practice.”
Kiki Gale, Director of the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK

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