Offbeat

Offbeat Dance for People with Parkinson's

Image by Lorna Sim

Offbeat – Dance for People with Parkinson’s

Belconnen Arts Centre
Tuesdays > 1:15pm – 2:30pm

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Wednesdays > 11:15am – 12:30pm

Term 1 | 6 February – 11 April

Parkinson’s ACT, with Belconnen Arts Centre and Tuggeranong Arts Centre, presents a weekly dance program in the ACT specifically designed for People with Parkinson’s. Enjoy the fun and challenge of working your brain, your body, your memory and your imagination in this fun-filled session, and make a heap of new friends. Participants will be led through a carefully planned program of appropriate, enjoyable and challenging dance activities, and will be taught by Jane Ingall, Jacqui Simmonds and/or Philip Piggin, plus guest teachers. Together, this team have over 100 years of experience working in the dance world and are particularly passionate about providing dance programs for all.

Offbeat Dance for People with Parkinson's

The Offbeat Dance group perform at DETONATE 2017; image by Lorna Sim

For people with Parkinson’s disease, rigorous dance classes led by trained teaching artists are becoming internationally recognised as an important, beneficial and welcome addition to the portfolio of exercise and therapy interventions. By approaching movement as dance students, not as patients, persons with Parkinson’s can focus on PD-specific concerns like mobility, balance, rhythm and flexibility in an enjoyable, social and communal environment. Dance classes create an environment emphasising expression, creativity, engagement and positive relationship building. The Dance for People with Parkinson’s program started as a single collaborative program between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group around 2001. Over the past 17 years, Dance for PD has pioneered an arts-based approach that is being adopted by dance companies and schools, Parkinson’s groups and healthcare organisations in more than 60 communities around the world.

No previous experience is necessary, and everyone — persons newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s, others with walkers and wheelchairs, family members and friends — are welcome to participate. Please note this is not a social dance class, and it does not require you to come with a partner.

Performance of I Used to Run Marathons for Bold Festival 2017, at the National Library of Australia.

Costs >

$5 | Per person, per class

Pay on the day. Companion Card holders receive free admission for a support companion.

More info >

Wear clothes comfortable to move in, wear light shoes, and bring a bottle of water.

Contact Creative Program Officer, Philip Piggin, via email or on (02) 6173 3300, or visit Dance for Parkinson’s Australia‘s website.

Program supported by Parkinson’s ACT, ACT Health, National Health Co-op, Belconnen Arts Centre and Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Offbeat is part of the Dance for Wellbeing program at Belconnen Arts Centre.


First Parkinson’s Dance Class Today
A poem by Dennis Smith

Parkinson’s Dance what can I say
It was a great time we all had today
We introduced ourselves at the start
While clapping hands aren’t we smart

Started slowly with warmup exercises
Nice and gentle with no surprises
Then with our partners face to face
Each others movements we had to trace

Following this was a Serbian dance
This way then that they made us prance
The music was loud and the rhythm fast
I was not sure how long I would last

Holding hands with those by our side
There was nowhere for anyone to hide
So we had to dance like it or not
At least it wasn’t a bloody Foxtrot

Fourteen steps then stamp your feet
Fourteen back we had to repeat
Then only six steps we needed to take
The music had us all wide awake

Three steps inward nice and slow
And three knee bends not too low
Repeat these steps the other way
Back to the start hip hip hooray

Keep repeating this ’til the music stops
This tired out a few nanas and pops
Us Parkos and partners think we’re tough
But by this time we’d had enough

We warmed down and then one by one
Said what we thought of what we’d done
Phillip our instructor liked what he heard
As there wasn’t even one negative word

Believe it or not I don’t really care
We all enjoyed ourselves dancing there
And there is one thing we all know
We’ll be back again for another go