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 visits and by the internet.

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 .

Please contact Participation Manager, Allan Irvine, by sending an email to or phoning 0131 225 5525, for more information on how to get involved.

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