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Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK (DfPP UK)

Dance can support people living with Parkinson's to develop confidence, strength and provide the opportunity for creativity and self-expression, whilst also temporarily relieving some participants of symptoms in everyday life.

"...I've identified about eight or ten words to describe what we’re doing: imagination, creativity, language, colour, music, rhythm. And I’ve not come across anything, anything in my diverse life, which combines all those things. The breadth and depth of what is going on downstairs [in the studio] is significant."

"I feel released from the Parkinson’s, in more control of my body and with friends."

Participant quotes: English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson’s: An Investigative Study 2 - A report on a three-year mixed methods research study by Dr. Sara Houston and Ashley McGill MSc, April, 2015 with Prof. Raymond Lee, Katherine Watkins MCSP and Cameron Donald and Pavilion Dance South West, Parkinson’s Dance class feedback 2015/2016.

Why dance?

There’s an increasing appetite for dance these days and the broad ways it benefits our health and wellbeing. This is felt by people of all ages and physical abilities. One group that now attaches particular value to taking part in dance is that of people living with Parkinson’s.

A growing body of evidence points to the real physical, mental and social benefits experienced by people living with Parkinson’s when they dance. For example, research into English National Ballet’s (ENB) dance and Parkinson’s programme, published in 2015 by Dr Sara Houston of Roehampton University, concluded that dance as a group activity can:
  • Encourage feelings of inclusion and positive social interaction
  • Promote a sense of community that is particularly meaningful, motivating and energising for people living with Parkinson’s
  • Aid fluency of movement
  • Help people with Parkinson’s communicate and express themselves.
Next Event
Perspectives on Practice: online adventures in dancing with Parkinson’s

An opportunity for artists and practitioners to share ideas, challenges and opportunities 

Artists Heidi Wilson and Helen Gould share their insights, questions and ideas on digital delivery 

Monday November 30, 11:00 – 13:00. Free of charge, all welcome, 30 places available

Heidi will lead a practical session which aims to explore if we can build a sense of embodiment for both ourselves as practitioners and our participants when working over live-stream digital platforms. Key themes include: using sensory information; enabling a three-dimensional dance experience over a two-dimensional delivery platform; self-awareness and contributing to feelings of wellbeing; building community and belonging through virtual connections.

Helen's session will explore approaches to music integration when working on a live-stream digital platform. The practical session will draw on Helen's applied research in music for dance & people living with Parkinson's, focusing on ways in which music can enhance participant experience and improve connectivity. There will be time to reflect after each session.

What you will need:

  • A sturdy chair
  • Water Comfortable (and warm) clothing
  • Paper and pens/pencils

Book your place here

Photo Credits: left, Heidi Wilson, photo Bill Hart. Right, Helen Gould, photo Jonathan Bean Photography. 

Presented as part of the Living Well with Parkinson’s programme.



Tango in lockdown: The tango effect

The Tango Effect: Parkinson’s and the Healing Power of Dance explores the remarkable impact of Argentine tango on the experience of living with Parkinson’s. The book was published during the COVID-19 pandemic, shortly after the country went into lockdown.

Here, we are pleased to share recordings with you that were made by the author, Kate Swindlehurst, from March - July 2020:

“The months that followed, strange for all of us and fraught with challenge and grief for many, were thrown into sharp relief for me by the month-by-month structure of The Tango Effect. I thought it might be interesting to share extracts from the book for the key months of the crisis: a kind of Tango Lockdown Story.”


Please note: these recording are available to both People Dancing Members AND non-members and will be published weekly from 26 August 2020.

Find out more

Dance with Parkinson’s roundtable discussion

This 90-minute roundtable discussion is co-curated and facilitated by Cheryl McChesney (Freelance Dance Artist) and co-curated and chaired by Kiki Gale (Project Director, Living Well with Parkinson’s).

The conversation with artists, producers and dancers brings together a range of perspectives on dance with people with lived experience of Parkinson's during lockdown.  

Contributors share personal stories, give honest and insightful accounts of their experiences, speak candidly about the loss and challenges posed by life in lockdown, and consider some of the positive possibilities and joys brought about in these changing times.

To accompany this recording there are also some additional signposts to films and resources that you may find useful.

Please note: this film is available to both People Dancing Members AND non-members.

View here

The freedom that dancing can offer

Dr. Sara Houston has led prize winning research, speaks internationally on the subject and has just published a book, 'Dancing with Parkinson's' where she illustrates the freedom that dancing can offer to people

Read Sara's blog here 

Pepperland and beyond

Dance artist and writer Kate Swindlehurst reflects upon her experience of the opening night of Mark Morris Dance Group’s UK Pepperland tour and the next day Dance for people living with Parkinson's - Looking ahead: a one-day interactive symposium at Sadler’s Wells, London in March 2019 

Read Kate's blog here

Partnership set to build

Kiki Gale MBE, Director of the Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK, explains the change from a Network to a Partnership. She looks forward to a spirit of collaboration continuing to give all those in the UK living with Parkinson's the opportunity to enjoy and engage in the creative, dynamic and aesthetic experience that participation in dance can offer...

Read Kiki's blog here

We all want to dance… including people living with Parkinson’s
Where we are now...
Much of the developing interest in dance on the part of people living with Parkinson’s has been encouraged by the work of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK, now relaunched as the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership (DfPP UK).

The DfPP UK, established in October 2017 to give new focus to the diverse and growing practice of dance for Parkinson’s across the country, has now been adopted as a key project by People Dancing until 2022 and is being supported up to 2018 by a generous grant from the Baring Foundation.

People Dancing have been a vital supporter of the Network since 2012 and the move to this more significant collaboration will provide a valuable strategic opportunity for the DfPP UK given the synergy in our joint commitment to dance for people living with Parkinson’s. It will enable the DfPP UK to concentrate on its’ key ambition that everyone with Parkinson’s has the opportunity to engage in high-quality, diverse and creative dance.

In partnership with People Dancing and others across the UK, we will also continue to support the artists, practitioners and researchers developing and leading this work, through Introductory courses and Continuing Professional Development events and workshops, and our keen interest in taking an inquisitive approach to the development and delivery of dance for people living with Parkinson’s.

Where it all began...
Originally inspired and supported by the work of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD® in Brooklyn, New York and driven forward by a committed group of individuals (Toby Beazley, Mel Brierley, Daphne Cushnie, Joanne Duff, Amanda Fogg, Dr Sara Houston, Dr Sophia Hulbert, Anna Leatherdale (as a representative of People Dancing), alongside English National Ballet and Pavilion Dance South West), the Network has played a key role in developing more opportunities for people with Parkinson’s to participate in dance. It was always committed to bringing this community together to share, exchange and develop good practice.

Since 2009 the Network has worked with the UK dance sector to initiate training and continuing professional development (CPD) activity in this specialist area of dance practice, securing significant funding to help scale up provision, supporting independent practitioners, dance companies and organisations to make dance accessible to people living with Parkinson’s.

Why we need this new partnership...
Partnership working has been key to our success to date, and it is with this spirit of cooperation that we believe our ambitions can be most effectively realised, hence the change to our shape.

The DfPP UK is now poised to build on the achievements of the Network. It is well positioned to help achieve a long held ambition to give everyone in the UK who has Parkinson’s the opportunity to enjoy a high quality dance experience and engage in the creative, dynamic and aesthetic experience that dance offers.

There are early plans to explore a qualification for dance and Parkinson’s, as well as to provide regular opportunities for dance artists and teachers to participate in CPD workshops, advanced sessions and webinars. A comprehensive UK map of dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s has already been put in place, and we look forward to seeing this grow in number and location.

This new partnership, continuing the strong emphasis on collaboration within the sector, will work to be a powerful and confident advocate for the all-round impact and creative value of dance for people living with Parkinson’s.

A note about the term 'partnership'

We use the term partnership to imply a way of working - a collaborative approach - rather than to imply a partnership in legal terms. The Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK is operated by and housed at People Dancing. 
A film exploring Parkinson's and dance

Dancer, choreographer and PD Movement Lab creator Pamela Quinn
has produced a new short dance film featuring a duet she choreographed for David Leventhal and herself.
Find a class

Find a Dance for Parkinson's class in your area using the Google map below. You can zoom in and out of the map and click the green flag close to where you live to find out more.

Dance classes and groups run throughout the UK. They are usually open to friends and carers, as well as people with Parkinson's. It's always best to contact the group leader before going to your first class.

If you can't find a class in your area, please contact

The Google Map is updated fortnightly - if you run a class and would like it to be listed on the map please follow the link below, complete the form below with full details of your class and click the submit button.

Please note: You will not be contacted once your class is listed so please do re-visit the map to check.

Google Map listing form

UK Dance for Parkinson's class map
Online Learning Programme

People Dancing and Dance for PD® have, with the assistance of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK, created an online learning programme designed to help dance practitioners gain some of the background knowledge needed before embarking on practical learning associated with the safe delivery of dance sessions for people with Parkinson's.

Comprised of eight units, the course gives learners essential information about Dance for Parkinson’s core principles, the medical condition, and the effects of symptoms and medication on dance class participants.

It provides specific, expert guidance on conducting a risk assessment, cultivating safe practice, establishing inclusive class structure and design, incorporating adaptations and embodying effective teaching techniques. The interactive programme includes video clips and research reports, as well as text and audio resources that make it engaging and fun to do.

Read More


English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson's: An investigative study

English National Ballet and Dr Sara Houston and Ashley McGill of Roehampton University.

Read the report