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Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK (DfPP UK)

Dance can support people living with Parkinson's to develop confidence and strength, and provide the opportunity for creativity and self-expression, whist 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.

Introduction to dance for people living with Parkinson’s course

Presented by Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK at People Dancing and English National Ballet. 

When: Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020.

Where: English National Ballet, 41 Hopewell Square, London, E14 0SY.

Course leaders: Dr Sophia Hulbert; Kate Hartley and Nathan Tinker (English National Ballet Associates).

This course will provide participants with an insight into how to structure dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s, as well as focusing on the artistic imperative behind a Parkinson’s dance programme. Dance practitioners will gain an overview of the effects of the condition on dance participants, learn how to ensure safety for all participants and benefit from the practical experience of devising and delivering content for a Dance for Parkinson’s class.

Course participants must have successfully completed the Dance for Parkinson's online learning programme assessment before taking part in the practical course. 

Costs: Access to the online learning programme is included in the full course fee. If you have already successfully completed the online learning programme assessment, then please indicate this on the booking form and choose the appropriate course fee. 
Members of People Dancing benefit from considerable savings on course fees. More information about joining can be found on our website.
  Early Bird (offer ends Friday 31 January 2020) Standard
  Early Bird including online learning assessment Early Bird if online learning already completed Standard including online learning assessment Standard if online learning already completed
 People Dancing Members  £220  £180  £260  £220
 Non-members  £300  £260  £340  £300


Please note this course is designed for experienced community dance artists who are looking to expand their portfolio of skills. It is not recommended for those without any experience in community dance, students in training, sport or health professionals, unless you can also demonstrate significant dance experience.

You can book online here
Parkinson’s EQUIP bursary available 

Four bursaries are available for dance artists new to this specialist area of dance practice. The bursary value is £150 and can be used towards course fees, accommodation, travel and subsistence where needed.


Your professional base must be primarily in the UK
You will be able to demonstrate that you have been working in dance (leading and teaching, performance and creation) for a minimum of 3-5 years
You will have undertaken a course of further or education in dance and/or related arts or have equivalent experience
You will tell us why you should receive a bursary and what you hope to achieve through this training opportunity
You will want to contribute to creating more opportunities/developing high quality dance experiences for people living with Parkinson's in the UK.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from dance artists working in diverse dance forms as these are currently under-represented in this specialist area of dance practice.

If you are interested in this opportunity please send a CV and supporting statement of no more than 500 words to telling us why you are interested in developing your skills in this area of dance practice and why a bursary would be important for you.

The deadline for bursary applications is 9am on 1st February 2020.

Photo: English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson's, Tate Britain 2012. Photographer: Belinda Lawley

Professional development workshop

Exploring dance, health and wellbeing: for people living with Parkinson's – A curious approach

This event is presented by Plymouth Dance in partnership with the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK at People Dancing.

When: Sunday 26 January 2020 9.30am (10am start) – 17.00 GMT
Rehearsal Room 01, TR2 (Theatre Royal Learning Centre), 12 Neptune Park, Plymouth PL4 0SJ
Costs range from £40 - £150 for the online course and practical workshop package with substantial discounts for Plymouth Dance members, students and early bird offers (which end on 3 Jan 2020).

A day of adventure, exploration and analysis this workshop, led by Clint Lutes and Dr. Sophia Hulbert (see biographies below), will offer contrasting approaches to this specialist area of dance practice and is suitable for both experienced dance artists and those new to leading dance for people living with Parkinson’s..

What can ‘dance’ be in this context?
Exploring where dancers need to be challenged further, what this means to them and how we go about doing this
The inherent value of creativity and co-ownership: developing imaginative, inclusive and democratic approaches to dancing for people living with Parkinson's
Creating a practice, or a way of reflecting on a regular basis, where our participants more actively participate and shape their future development.

Please note that all participants are asked to complete the associated online learning programme assessment – offered by People Dancing/Dance for PD® – prior to attending this workshop.

You can book online here 

For more information or if you have any questions please call Plymouth Dance on 07760 164 254 or email

Photo: ©Rachel Cherry

Dr Sophia Hulbert biography

Sophia Hulbert is a Clinical Academic and Advance Practice Physiotherapist in complex Neurology and Parkinson’s with extensive clinical rehabilitation experience across the Health and Arts sectors. Her research primarily focuses on Dance and its combined artistic and physiotherapeutic potential for those living with Neurological conditions. As such, she is currently working on a number of exciting dance for health projects with people living with Parkinson’s, Dementia and Stroke at both the Universities of Exeter and Southampton in collaboration with Pavilion Dance South West.

Alongside her roles as a researcher and Physiotherapist Sophia is also a dancer and co-director of the successful ‘Parkinson’s Dance Science’ model delivered at Pavilion Dance South West. The model continues to grow across the region with more than 100 people with Parkinson’s dancing in weekly classes which she co-teaches and mentors as well as holding a strong research evidence base demonstrating positive, multifactorial effects. Sophia also sits on the steering group of the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership, UK and is actively delivering national training programmes in the Arts sector and in University courses for Dance.

Sophia has a dedication and passion for implementing novel and exciting research and rehabilitation into practice, presenting work nationally and internationally, and encouraging collaboration between the artistic and medical audiences. She strives to better understand how rehabilitation and the arts can combine to provide enriching and enhancing experiences for people living with complex needs and the promotion of self-management through the social sector.

Clint Lutes biography

Clint Lutes is an American in Paris. His choreographic work has increasingly become centered around working with non-professionals and uses dance as a vehicle to inform, connect and communicate. He participated in the research project Störung/Hafra’ah in Freiburg (D) in 2015, bringing together artists, scientists and people with Parkinson’s to study movement disorder.
Clint felt challenged like never before through the richness of the various collaborations, and felt he had discovered a million new ways to view and practice dance via this project. He went on to create the non-profit DaPoPa (Danse Pour Parkinson), which utilises choreographic, improvisation and somatic practices in its activities.

Clint has also joined the research group Labodanse, with improvisation, attention and togetherness being the basis for their studies. He has worked as a dancer, assistant and collaborator with the choreographer Eun Me Ahn for over 15 years, is co-founder of the LUCKY TRIMMER Performance Series in Berlin, and has worked on projects with non-professionals in collaboration with the Theatre National Chaillot, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Festival Paris Quartier d’Été, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Theater Freiburg and elsewhere.


Photo: Christine Marie.


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.
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.
Sophia awarded Steve Brown Bursary for 'Digital Dancing' work

Independent dance artist Dr Sophia Hulbert has been awarded the Steve Brown Bursary for her proposal, 'Digital Dancing' (in collaboration with Pavilion Dance South West and Attik Dance), to explore the physical 'experience' of dance for Parkinson's through 3-D motion analysis, by focusing on the question - 'what does dance make your body feel like?'

From both qualitative and quantitative studies of the evidence on the effects of dance for Parkinson's, it can now be said with confidence that dance has a positive effect on disease severity, balance, walking quality, endurance, and quality of life.

Yet the research still doesn't address the issue that dance also brings something unique and individual to each 'dancing body'. For some this may be better balance, the ability to walk better, or a better posture; for others, this may be a feeling of fluidity, flow, freedom of movement and movement confidence, or even something indescribable.

"The panel were hugely impressed with many of the proposals submitted and very much hope to continue this bursary scheme in the future," said Kiki Gale, Director of the Dance for Parkinson's Partnership UK (DfPP UK).

"The dance and Parkinson's sector across the UK is offering high quality innovative dance programmes for people living with Parkinson's, using the unique qualities that dance offers, and the DfPP UK is keen to support this specialist sector to continue to explore new ideas."

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

Classes and Workshops

Classes and workshops for people with Parkinson's

A full listing of classes, from around the UK, offered to people living with Parkinson's (and their carers) can be found on our website, please follow the link below.

Find a class in your area here

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.