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Dance for Parkinson's Partnership (DfPP)

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.

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).

The DfPP, established in March 2017 to give new focus to the diverse and growing practice of dance for Parkinson’s across the UK, has now been adopted as a key project by People Dancing until 2022 and will be 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 given the synergy in our joint commitment to dance for people living with Parkinson’s. It will enable the DfPP 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 and practitioners 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 (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 Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK has played a key role in developing more opportunities for people with Parkinson’s to participate in dance. It has been 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 lead training and continuing professional development (CPD) activity in this specialist area, securing significant funding to help scale up provision, supporting independent practitioners, dance companies and organisations to make dance more accessible for those 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 move to a partnership model.

The DfPP is now poised to build on the achievements of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK. 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 growing 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 value and creative impact of dance for people living with Parkinson’s.
Workshop: An Introduction to Dance for Parkinson’s

A two-day workshop at Yorkshire Dance, Leeds

Saturday 14 April 2018, 9.30am – 7.00pm and Sunday 15 April 2018, 9.30am – 5.00pm (plus an optional class from 8.30am).

Dance Transports - Dance for Parkinson's © Sara Teresa

Course leaders: Dr. Sophia Hulbert and visiting artists from English National Ballet.

Presented by Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK and People Dancing, in partnership with Yorkshire Dance.

Get an insight into how to structure dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s, as well as the artistic imperative behind a Parkinson’s dance programme. Dance Transports is an exciting regional training programme for Yorkshire which offers teachers, dance artists and those involved in the delivery of dance an opportunity to work alongside professional dance companies and gain valuable insights and training.

The workshop offers dance practitioners the chance to:
  • get an overview of the effects of the condition on dance participants
  • learn how to ensure safety for all participants
  • 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 to take part in the course. Access to this learning programme is included in the course fee.

Bursaries are on offer, making workshop places available at £125, from:

• The Yorkshire Dance bursary for artists living in Yorkshire
• The Parkinson’s EQUIP bursary for artists living anywhere outside Yorkshire.

To apply for a bursary and/or book a place please visit:

Yorkshire Dance website

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

Training bursaries to continue, thanks to Parkinson's EQUIP

Ray Wegrzyn - Parkinson's EQUIP Founder and Chair

Parkinson’s EQUIP is continuing its generous support of the Parkinson’s EQUIP bursary to support the training of individuals in leading high quality dance activities for people living with Parkinson’s. This follows a successful pilot programme.

It means that People Dancing can continue to offer subsidised places on its dance for Parkinson’s training courses and workshops over the coming year. The next Introductory dance for Parkinson’s course takes place in Leeds in April 2018 – full details can be found on the Yorkshire Dance website.
Dance for Parkinson's bursary celebrates Steve's love of dance

The Steve Brown Bursary for dance for Parkinson’s practice and/or research provides an opportunity for an individual or group of individuals to be supported to undertake an adventure in their practice or research in dance for Parkinson’s with a bursary of up to £2000.

Steve Brown, who died in March 2017, was a regular at his local dance for Parkinson’s class in East Sussex. After working in the City of London for 55 years, Steve was able to give more time to his passions for walking, music and dancing. The bursary has been made possible by generous donations from his friends and family.

The Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership doesn’t want to confine and limit what this activity might contain or the focus of the piece of work you wish to undertake; it only asks that your application identifies how your proposed activity will:

Enhance your own dance for Parkinson’s practice or research
Contribute to creating more opportunities/developing high quality dance experiences for people living with Parkinson's
Contribute to the development of this specialist area of dance practice in the UK
Stretch the knowledge and thinking of the dance for Parkinson’s sector in the UK
Demonstrate commitment to the values of the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK – diversity, access and inclusion
Result in a sharing in a public arena eg blog, article, seminar, performance, workshop.


Your professional base must be primarily in the UK but your activity can take place anywhere in the world
You will be able to demonstrate that you have been working in a dance and Parkinson’s context for a minimum of five years
You can use this award as part of a larger project you have planned as long as you can demonstrate that this also meets the aims and criteria of this bursary
You must complete the proposed activity within 12 months of receiving this bursary.

Please submit a short written proposal (approximately 500 words) or filmed presentation identifying clear outcomes for your project alongside a detailed income and expenditure budget. 

Deadline for submissions: 31 January 2018
Please email your submission to

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.

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.