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An Introduction to Dance for Parkinsons © Sara Teresa

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Dance for Parkinson’s | 2018

Dance for older adults living with Parkinson's, and professional development opportunities for dance artists working in this field

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About Dance for Parkinson’s | 2018

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 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.

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.

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