Dancing classes aim for better health

The Parkinson’s WA Dance for Parkinson’s program addresses Parkinson's specific concerns such as balance, flexibility, coordination, gait, social isolation and depression.
The Parkinson’s WA Dance for Parkinson’s program addresses Parkinson's specific concerns such as balance, flexibility, coordination, gait, social isolation and depression.

Due to overwhelming public demand, Parkinson’s WA will introduce Dance for Parkinson’s classes, facilitated by Ausdance WA professional dance teachers, at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, on Tuesday, September 13.

Parkinson’s WA’s support programs coordinator Jodie Palmer said since the program was introduced to the worldwide Parkinson's community in 2001, research had shown the positive benefits of structured dancing and movement for people with Parkinson’s.

“The Dance for Parkinson’s program integrates movement to engage participants’ minds and bodies,” she said.

“It emphasises dancing for dancing’s sake, while addressing Parkinson’s specific concerns such as balance, flexibility, coordination, gait, social isolation and depression.

“Our Dance for Parkinson’s program will be offered to people with Parkinson's, as well as their carers’ and partners, in Mandurah and surrounding suburbs and towns.”

Ms Palmer said the program had received the support of health care professionals in the Peel region.

“Due to the physical and mental health benefits of dancing for people with Parkinson’s, health professionals in the community and aged care facilities are recommending their clients' participation in our Dance for Parkinson’s program.”

Ms Palmer said participants in the program were encouraged to approach movement like dancers rather than patients.

“Project evaluations have shown the psychological, behavioural, and process benefits of the Dance for Parkinson’s program,” she said.

“Results of those evaluations have determined that where classes are held in dedicated dance studios, and are facilitated by qualified Parkinson's dance teachers, participants’ resulting sense of pride, achievement and physical benefit is greatly enhanced.”

Ms Palmer said the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre had agreed to provide a dedicated dance studio free of charge during 2016.

“We have had such an amazing response. The first classes are already booked with a waiting list,” she said.

City of Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone said the Dance for Parkinson’s program was supported by the City of Mandurah’s partnership fund, which helped to deliver projects that increase community participation and involvement in Mandurah.

“The program is a great example of how city funding grants help to boost the capacity of groups and associations who deliver a great range of activitiesand events,” Mayor Vergone said.

For further information on dance classes offered through Parkinson’s WA, call their office on 6457 7373 or visit parkinsonswa.org.au