Queensland Ballet’s (QB) Dance for Parkinson’s participants came together last Sunday on World Parkinson’s Day to find joy through movement.
Through dance, the participants are working on their balance, coordination, and memory, which are often impacted by Parkinson’s Disease.
The class allows participants to break through their limitations by sharing in the empowering and joyful act of dancing, all choreographed to beautiful music from a live pianist.
The program was founded in America in 2001, with QB launching a pilot program in 2013 under Director of Dance for Parkinson’s Australia, Dr Erica Rose Jeffrey. Since then, it has successfully run every weekend, bringing people together to share movement, music and friendship.
“The impact of dance for people living with Parkinson’s include physical, emotional, social and cognitive benefits. These include improvements in gait and tremor, decreasing rigidity and overall improvements in quality of life, as well as exploring creativity and artistry” said Dr Jeffrey.
Led by QB Education Teaching Artists, the class often features repertoire from both classical ballet and modern pieces, and regularly links to QB’s season repertoire.
Last weekend’s class lined up with World Parkinson’s Day, which aims to increase awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and its effects on society.
“World Parkinson’s Day is about advocacy and awareness. It’s also an opportunity to highlight all of the ways in which people living with Parkinson’s are engaging in positive quality of life activities, such as dance, music, and painting, and how through artistic approaches we are finding different ways of engaging in new possibilities,” said Dr Jeffrey.
“I feel so fortunate to be teaching Dance for Parkinson’s classes, as I have the opportunity to see and share in real moments of connection and joy between loved ones, partners, family members and friends on a regular basis,” she added.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which involves loss of dopamine from an area of the brain called the Substantia Nigra, affecting the person’s movement and speech, and causing difficulties with everyday bodily movements. According to Parkinson’s Australia, on average, 37 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed in Australia every day.
QB Dance for Parkinson’s participant Julie Trewin, has been attending the dance class since early 2016.
“For myself and so many other participants, Dance for Parkinson’s is one of the highlights of our week,” said Ms Trewin.
“There are so many different aspects of the class that I enjoy. It’s the sense of community, the involvement we have with the instructors, and the connection we feel to the QB Company.
“The QB teachers treat us with respect and with an understanding of our condition. I feel like the class cleanses my week, and while it makes me feel relaxed, there is a great level of stimulation too,” she added.
“The class has truly helped me both mentally and physically,” said Ms Trewin.
QB’s Dance for Parkinson’s class is held every Sunday at 11:30am at QB’s studio in West End, Brisbane. The class allows each participant’s carer or family member to join and will follow with a morning tea.
To find out more info or to book a spot, click here.