Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland

The Movement and Dance sessions are run every Wednesday from 11.30 until 1.30pm in Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU. The last half hour is social time with fruit and biscuits, tea and coffee. There is no charge for the sessions.
The aims are to:

  • wake up stiff muscles and improve flexibility
  • encourage mind-body connection
  • improve co-ordination and balance
  • increase self-awareness and self-esteem

in a supportive and joyful environment.

The social time at the end of each session is a chance to make connections and feel part of the dance community. Partners and carers often participate in the dance sessions, finding the classes fun and therapeutic for themselves as well as for people with Parkinson’s.

The classes are facilitated by specially-trained dance teachers (Jen Cunningham, Christina Duncan and Sophie Younger) and musician Robert Briggs, with volunteers kindly assisting. The teachers have a wonderful sense of light-heartedness and fun which they bring to the classes. Live music is an essential ingredient, and we have a talented pianist, Robert Briggs, providing the accompaniment, so the music is used flexibly to encourage movement and development of sequences.

Each session begins seated to provide a stable base for warm-up exercises then progresses to gentle choreographed movement around the floor. All sequences are adaptable for individual situations of more restricted mobility.

The Branch has been running this activity since 2010 when it was one of the earliest groups established in the UK following the principles of Dance for PD®. The original concept, arising from collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group in New York, is now increasingly practised worldwide among the Parkinson’s community. The Edinburgh Movement and Dance sessions are connected with other classes in the USA and beyond, linking up through the internet and visits.The class is now being supported by Dance Base and Scottish Ballet, through funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The funding was awarded to run Dance for People with Parkinson’s classes, which also have a research element, in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Dr Bethany Whiteside of the Royal Conservatoire, Scotland, presented a review of the Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland programme at the March 2018 Branch Meeting and you can downlad her presentation as a pdf file by following this link:
Evaluation_B Whiteside<

To find out about the Dance for Parkinson’s hubs across Scotland download this pdf document DfP info for WEBSITE .

For more information please contact Emma Stewart-Jones, Partnership Manager at Dance Base, by sending an email to

Thanks to Bob Dickson and BBC Radio Scotland’s Afternoon Show, supported by Parkinson’s UK’s publicity guru, Graham Kerr, we are able to give you a taste of Dance for Parkinson’s – just follow this link

Branch Member, Lindsay McDermid, has compiled a tasteful short video demonstrating the types of movement involved and compiled from a number of PwP dance groups. Watch it here

And here is the Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland own video