Research

English National Ballet: Dance for Parkinson’s. An Investigative StudyEnglish National Ballet commissioned Roehampton University to conduct research into the effects of dancing with Parkinson’s as seen within the Company’s programme. The first phase of research carried out by Dr Sara Houston and Ashley McGill, MSc in in 2010 is now available online. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17533015.2012.745580 , A mixed-methods study into ballet for people living with Parkinson's, published by Routledge.

The research collected qualitative and quantitative data from the project using interviews, film footage, validated measurement techniques, diaries and observations.

The research study concluded that dancing, as seen within English National Ballet’s project:

- Aids people with Parkinson’s physically, mentally and socially
- Does not help with physical development in a uniform or linear fashion, but can help with mobility in the short term, particularly when there is musical accompaniment
- Gives participants the tools to increase body awareness and to increase confidence in order to use the mobility they have, but may not have had the courage to use
- Provides tools to help with activities in everyday life
- Gives participants the opportunity to experience different qualities and ways of moving
- Can loosen up the spinal area and help with stability and posture
- Can encourage a greater reach, focus and projection
- Provides a vehicle for social interaction
- Precipitates feelings of well-being, determination and achievement
- Provides opportunities to create movement and stimulate the imagination
- Provides an event for people with Parkinson’s that is about art, rather than about disease
- Provides opportunities to learn about ballet
- Provides an enjoyable way for participants to exercise as a group in a structured environment
- Allows participants to enjoy the excitement of being a part of the goings-on of a professional ballet company

Reference: Dr. Sara Houston and Ashley McGill, MSc, English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson’s. An Investigative Study Part 1.

English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson’s. An Investigative Study Part 2 is the second phase of research being carried out by Dr Sara Houston and Ashley McGill, MSc over three years. Phase 2 of the research is looking in more detail at the long term benefits to people with Parkinson’s and taking into consideration both the London participants and those in our regional classes. The research will be completed in 2014-2015.

International Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference – 24 June 2013, Bristol
This summer we were pleased to present our Dance for Parkinson’s programme as part of a panel of guest speakers at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference in Bristol. Chairing the panel was Programme Manager and founding teacher of the Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance for PD ® programme, David Leventhal. You can listen to the panel discussion and David Leventhals’ key note speech on the symbiotic relationship between people with Parkinson's and the dance institutions and professionals who work with them, revealing best practices that foster maximum engagement and access.

Bupa Foundation
Top medical charity, the Bupa Foundation, awarded Dr. Sara Houston , University of Roehampton, its Vitality for Life Prize for her research on English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme.

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