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“Why Dance?” feasibility study


PDSW collaborated with researchers, Dr Dorit Kunkel and Dr Sophia Hulbert from the University of Southampton who led on phase one of a feasibility study (2016/17) called ‘Why Dance?’ The aim of the study was  to determine if integrating a self completing questionnaire within existing classes was feasible and to draw on and evaluate any benefits that show whether or not the Parkinson’s Dance class is having an impact on those participating.

Parkinson’s Dance classes are led using the Parkinson’s Dance Science model, co-founded in 2012 by Neuro-physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and dance artist, Aimee Hobbs with support from PDSW. Classes offering Parkinson’s Dance Science model as a practice aim to provide fun, stimulating and supportive environment through which people with Parkinson’s can explore and develop movement and expression (Hulbert & Hobbs, 2017, unpublished).

Between April 2016 and June 2017, the study invited people who started dance at three Parkinson’s Dance classes (Bournemouth, Sherborne and Dorchester) to take part. This involved filling in a questionnaire at the beginning of starting dance classes with us and then again in 3-month increments for a 12-month period.


Taken from the ‘Why Dance?’ report 2017 (A feasibility study to evaluate exisiting community dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. PDSW Dance Research Report 2016-17. Researchers: Dr Dorit Kunkel, Dr Sophia Hulbert & Aimee Hobbs). 

The study design was:

  • Feasible – recruitment, retention and quality of return.
  • It was acceptable and accessible.
  • Limitations were identified.
Results suggest:
  • Visual analysis suggests improvements in global physical symptoms and quality of life for dancers over time.
  • Significant improvements in health related quality of life were found between baseline and 6 months for wellbeing, stigma and discomfort (PDQ39) following dance.
  • On visual observation – majority of dancers maintained or improved freezing symptoms and mobility.


This effective relationship between PDSW, Dr Sophia Hulbert and the University of Southampton has allowed for a second phase to extend this study further (2018/19), continuing to recruit and focus on the current three classes and adding a fourth class at New Forest Arts Centre, New Milton in February 2018.


For more information on the above classes click here
For more information about the above research contact

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