Focus on: dance for people with Parkinson’s

SLiDE Dance Practitioner Katie Wheeler reflects on her involvement with our dance for Parkinson’s project.

I have been spending the last couple of years working alongside Gemma learning about dance for people with Parkinson’s and moving with some lovely community groups. The lockdown and subsequent shut down of our class was a massive shock to everyone. Leaving our gorgeous church hall to set up in small spaces at home took time to adjust, however, we carry on and we make it work! During a worldwide pandemic we have successfully managed (with surprisingly very few hiccups!) to continue reaching out to our regular participants. We have offered them dynamic and playful online creative dance sessions, that include lots of laughs, improvisation, and social time. Our participants have truly mastered the scary giant that is Zoom and smashed all technological barriers to meet every week since June 2020. I am so grateful that we are still able to connect online and, in turn, ease the loneliness and isolation often felt by people with Parkinson’s. This loneliness is often present and has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic. Whilst the world feels so dark and our mental health is so fragile, I am lucky to be part of something so magical that brightens every gloomy Monday for the participants, volunteers and myself.

In-person classes from 2019, photo: Sophie Standford

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