COLEG CAMBRIA is to pilot a dance programme for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Led by National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) the free virtual classes will be for those living with the condition, as well as carers, family, and friends.
As part of an affiliated hub of English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme, the initiative was launched in 2015 in South Wales and moved online following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, with the support of Digital Communities Wales, giving all participants the confidence and skills to use their laptops and tablets to access the sessions.
Now targeting new members in the north of the country, classes this Spring will focus on two dance films from English National Ballet’s recent digital season – Senseless Kindness by Yuri Possokhov, and Arielle Smith’s Jolly Folly.
Jamie Jenkins, Curriculum Leader for the Creative Industries and Performing Arts lecturer at Coleg Cambria Yale in Wrexham, said: “Dancing has been shown to have a positive impact on people with Parkinson’s, through mobility, movement and muscle memory.
“This is a brilliant pilot project that will help participants to express themselves and improve their health and wellbeing, and there is also the community and social aspect to it.
“Eventually, when it is safe to do so, we will be holding the sessions at our new dance studio in Yale, which will be amazing and bring people together under one roof.
“Having that routine can only benefit those who join us, it will give them – and us – something to look forward to and we are so proud to be a part of it.”
Alex Thomas, Assistant Principal for Technical Studies at Yale, added: “Coleg Cambria is at the heart of the community and always looking to help those who need it most – that’s what we do.
“To be part of such an innovative and positive project for those living with Parkinson’s is something we are honoured to be involved with.”
In Wales, there are estimated to be around 6,000 people with Parkinson’s – the majority aged over 50.
The Dance for Parkinson’s classes are expressive, creative and promote feelings of freedom from the physical and social constraints of the condition.
Guy O’Donnell, NDCWales’ Participation Producer said: “We are really pleased to be able to work in partnership with Coleg Cambria and provide this support in North Wales.
“While we are unable to be in person together at present the ability to connect online has enabled existing attenders to take part from the comfort of their own home and stay connected to people sociably.
“The feedback we’ve had so far from our loyal participants is that they wanted to still feel connected and still continue to feel the benefits on their health. They were keen and wanted to be adventurous and learn about technology, and fortunately with the continued support from Digital Communities Wales we have been able to do this.”