UCLan dance students continue dance classes for people with Parkinson's

Weekly dance classes for people with Parkinson's are running from 22 September to 8 December.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 3:45 pm
The classes are led by Dr Melanie Brierley with the help of the UCLan students.

Next week, dance students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are resuming a popular weekly dance class teaching local people living with Parkinson’s.

The final year dance and performance teaching students will work with dance and health artist and researcher Dr Melanie Brierley, from Conscious Bodies, in workshops designed to help participants with mobility, balance and movement confidence.

Funded by Arts Council England, the weekly hour-long classes are being organised by LPM Dance, an artist-led, not-for-profit organisation established by George Adams and Helen Gould, as part of LPM’s Preston Moves project.

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The dance classes help people living with Parkinson's.

UCLan Dance was involved in the successful project before the pandemic and classes will begin again on the 22 September at 2.00pm at the University’s dance studios in the UCLan Media Factory building.

Dr Brierley, who specialises in teaching dance to people living with Parkinson’s, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming back the participants who get a lot out of the class physically and mentally. It’s a great social experience too. Many participants develop a great rapport with the students they work with and it’s lovely to see these relationships blossom.”

Dr Briereley will be joined by around 10 UCLan students who each partner with a class member to help them during the lesson.

One of these students, Paige Douglas, said: “Being involved with this project has given me a deeper understanding of how I can adapt movement to suit all participants needs. After I graduate, I can take the new knowledge I have gained in adapting movement to make my own facilitation practise more inclusive within the community.”

The classes have been successful in the past.

Fellow student helper Chloe Morrisey added: “Being able to shadow and support Helen Gould and Melanie Brierley in these classes has really improved my ability to be inclusive and adaptable during my facilitation and choreographic practice.”

The students are involved in the project as part of their community dance module, led by UCLan senior lecturer in dance performance and teaching, Ruth Spencer.

Ruth said: “The dance and Parkinson’s sessions give students opportunities to work with members of the public alongside experienced and well-respected dance artists. The students see first-hand the potential of dance in supporting physical and mental wellbeing and improving quality of life.”

The project has proved to be such a success it has been included as an example of best practice in a new participatory arts toolkit, The Proof is in the Pudding, which is available nationally to support dance artists working in participatory settings.

For more information about the classes, which cost £3.50 each or £38.50 for the whole course, visit www.lpmdance.com/dance-and-parkinsons or email Helen on [email protected]