Scottish Ballet have been holding dance classes for those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease since 2016. The prestigious dance company now hope to expand their programme
- 17:07, 27 AUG 2023
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Scottish Ballet were inspired to put on the weekly dance classes after witnessing the impact Dance for PD, which was founded in 2001, had across the pond.
Since staring in 2016 the programme, created in partnership with Dance Base, has continued to grow and help people from across the country.
Lisa Sinclair, Scottish Ballet Senior Dance Health manager, says a lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the classes on offer are suitable for people at any stage of their journey with Parkinson's.
She told Glasgow Live: "In 2015 our director engagement, Catherine Cassidy was introduced to the programme.
"She was totally blown away by how creative and beautiful the environment was that had been created, she felt this was something Scottish Ballet could and should be doing.
"We connected with Dance Base and together we initiated the Dance for Parkinson's Scotland Network. We worked for over six years to develop programme, undertake specialist training and mentoring.
"We now have a thriving network of classes from Inverness to Peebles to support those with Parkinson's. We can help people, their companions and carers to feel more confident and have some enjoyment."
Over 100 participants take part each week in classes across Scotland delivered by the prestigious dance company.
Lisa believes that the physical exercise can help those suffering with the disease in a number of ways.
The Senior Dance Health manager said: "The earlier you get into these activities the longer you'll feel the benefits.
"These classes are open to anyone at whatever stage of diagnosis.
"There are physical, emotional, cognitive and social benefits. It helps boost your fitness levels and is really helpful for those with Parkinson's because it helps with posture, alignment and balance.
"These classes help the brain figure out different ways to perform specific actions because there are a whole range of ways we can support a person's brain fully.
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"Although someone may struggle to execute certain things there are other ways we can support then to achieve physical outcomes.
"Most importantly it is about creativity, expression and reconnecting with ourselves.
"It also allows you to strike up friendships in the community. They feel safe in this space because there are people around them who understand what they are going through.
"You aren't defined by your diagnosis."
The dancers who have taken part in the classes over the last seven years have been left beaming.
Now Scottish Ballet hope to expand the programme and support people with Parkinson's from around the world.
Lisa said: "We've seen overwhemingly positive feedback from not only those with Parkinson's but also their companions or carers who come to the classes as well.
"It removes that patient carer dynamic, they can come here and enjoy quality time together.
"Two classes take place on a Tuesday at the dance studio, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. There is also a social cafe which takes place between them.
"So everyone who attends can meet each other.
"We also run a monthly class on zoom which is open to anyone across the world. There are also shortened pre-recorded resources for people who are unable to attend.
"There are also classes running all across Scotland in person. A new hybrid model is also just about to launch in autumn.
"People from around the world will be able to connect with the classes at the studio."
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