A creative animated response to the Why Dance? study. This animation was created by illustrator Corrianna Clarke in collaboration with Jo Tyler (audio) and Gary Hayton (music) with input from Dr Sophia Hulbert


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:

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.

Classes were based with partner organisations; PDSW, Artslink Sherborne, Dorchester Arts and Forest Arts Centre.


For more information and to access the full report please email, Participation Producer for Health & Wellbeing; lisal@pdsw.org.uk

*The study was not designed or powered for significance testing, so all results are presented as descriptive analysis.

Click for the summary report and to watch the animation



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