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Partnership set to build on progress of Dance for Parkinson's Network
Date posted: 27 November 2017
With a change of name to The Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK, the former Dance for Parkinson’s Network is now well positioned to support the collective ambition to give everyone in the UK living with Parkinson’s the opportunity to engage in the creative, dynamic and aesthetic experience that participation in dance can offer, blogs Kiki Gale...
Kiki Gale - Director, Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK. Photo by Rachel Cherry
After reviewing our success to date, our opportunities for future development and considering the most effective organisational structure to take all our work forward in the dynamic specialism of dance for Parkinson’s, we relaunched the Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK, this autumn, as the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK.

The name change may seem a small semantic shift but it feels vital and reflects the spirit of collaboration through which we believe our ambitions can be most effectively realised. Many people were actively engaged in this process; there were conversations with practitioners and artists across the UK, the former advisory group, those who have undertaken training, our funders and other stakeholders.
 
The Network was set up by a dynamic group of UK based practitioners, with inspiration and support from Dance for PD® and David Leventhal in the USA, plus People Dancing, English National Ballet and Pavilion Dance South West, amongst others. Its success to date can be seen in the increasing skill and expertise of dance artists leading this work and the increased number of classes taking place in locations across the UK, with a growing demand from people living with Parkinson’s who are increasingly aware of the value and impact of participation in dance.

With vital and generous support from the Baring Foundation the post of Director of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network was created in 2015 and I was lucky enough to secure this role. When I started I had the opportunity to travel across the UK and visit dance for Parkinson’s classes in many diverse locations – from small village halls to dance studios, community centres to hospitals. 

What struck me was not only the quality of work but also the partnerships in action – partnerships between artists and local Parkinson’s groups, between neuro-physiotherapists and dance artists, between dance artists and musicians and with health centres, researchers and universities. At the heart of these partnerships were the individuals living with Parkinson’s, many of whom are playing a key role in initiating activity and advocating for the value, impact and creative opportunity participation in dance can offer.

In re-aligning the Network to a Partnership, we are acknowledging the contributions of many of these individuals, and committing ourselves to working in a shape that can work in collaboration to support, where needed initiate, and always be a champion for the continued development of this specialist area of dance practice. Re-aligning to a partnership model feels vital because together I believe we can really achieve something; that is, to develop innovation in dance practice and activity of the best kind, in a way that places our participants at the centre of this adventure, alongside us. Everything we have achieved so far has been in partnership with others, in a myriad of ways. 

The Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK is now poised to build on the achievements of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network. It is well positioned to support our collective ambition to give everyone in the UK who is living with Parkinson’s the opportunity to enjoy and engage in the creative, dynamic and aesthetic experience that participation in dance can offer. Our support to the individuals leading this work will carry on through training, continuing professional development workshops and mentoring – sharing different approaches, debating values and impact, celebrating diversity, access and inclusion.


Kiki Gale MBE
Director
Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK
parkinsonsdance@communitydance.org.uk