The Parkinson’s Dance Science class approach has been developing since 2012 by co-founders Neuro-physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and Dance Artist, Aimee Hobbs with the support of PDSW. It combines physiotherapeutic effect and the artistic experience of dance to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Its aim is to provide a ‘personal, social, artistic and creative dance experience with a theoretical, evidenced and therapeutic underpinning’ (presentation – Hulbert & Hobbs, 2015 – Parkinson’s Awareness Day).
At the heart of classes are the Parkinson’s dancers who continuously inspire us and further fuel our aspiration to bring dance to people living with Parkinson’s. This alongside the rollout of 3 further classes in Dorset/Hampshire and with over 20 practitioners trained in the Parkinson’s Dance Science teaching model, the natural next phase was to begin to research and underpin why this dance model made a difference.
In 2016, we took that first research step through an investigative collaboration between Pavilion Dance South West and the University of Southampton, with research led by Dr Sophia Hulbert and Dr Dorit Kunkel.
WHY DANCE? was a unique 3-year longitudinal feasibility study with two key aims:
To find out if it is feasible to collect and measure long-term outcomes of the Parkinson’s Dance classes for dancers
To explore what long-term impact Parkinson’s Dance classes might have on measurements of quality of life?
This questionnaire-based study saw 46 dancers from four Parkinson’s Dance classes share their progress in measured physical ability and quality of life transitioning over 2 years.
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