English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s started in the UK in April 2012, initially in London and now in Oxford, Cardiff, Ipswich and Liverpool. Other organisations, realising the positive impact of dance, have begun offering training and classes throughout the world.
I have been lucky enough to have participated at the ENB’s sessions for over a year now and just love it. We have live music, wonderful teachers, helpful volunteers and we all have fun, enjoying the opportunity to forget about our condition. I have met lots of amazing people from a lady who helped set up the Florence Nightingale museum in London, to a saxophone player who is also a composer. Our classes are based around current productions that ENB are involved with and we often have the chance to go and watch them too. Last week we went to see the new production of Giselle at Sadlers Wells and next week there is an opportunity to join a workshop there with “dancers” from other groups.
The local Parkinson’s UK group in Sussex has just held it’s first dance class and it was great to see more than 20 people come along to try it, lots of smiley faces all around! The teacher had attended a training course run by ENB and the structure of the lesson followed the pattern used in London.
I will be back in Melbourne early next year to see the lovely daughter and look forward to rejoining a similar group there too. They made me feel very welcome.
The last break for the year was to the Cotswolds to see friends made on a trip to New Zealand 5 years ago. We were reminiscing about the beauty of South Island when news came through of a new, strong earthquake causing huge damage to the lovely town of Kaikora where we spent time watching fur seals and enjoying beautiful scenery; devastating.
Each year Cuckfield, a local village in West Sussex, hosts an amazing festival of decorated Christmas trees in the church to raise money for charity. This year the nominated charity is my local branch of Parkinson’s UK. The event runs for 3 days from December 9th-11th and there will be musical events running alongside including a performance from “Good Vibrations”, my local Parkinson’s choir to which I belong.
The end of another year with Parkinson’s sees me with no consultant, mine left the local NHS Trust in August and there is no sign of a new one being appointed. Luckily I feel very well apart from a few issues with the toes on my left foot. However, if I need help there is a fantastic Parkinson’s nurse I can contact.