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‘Everyone has the right to enjoy great dance’

PUBLISHED: 09:30 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:06 25 September 2020

DanceEast's Dance for Parkinson’s classes have moved online to keep offering the benefits of using live music and dance to encourage creativity, rhythm and use of voice   Picture: Rachel Cherry

DanceEast's Dance for Parkinson’s classes have moved online to keep offering the benefits of using live music and dance to encourage creativity, rhythm and use of voice Picture: Rachel Cherry

All images are the intellectual property of Rachel Cherry

It’s day seven of the Great British Week of Sport and today’s theme is ‘Be Inclusive’. Here we look at dance as an activity that everyone can take part in and enjoy.

DanceEast has teamed up with Inside Out to provide online Moving Minds classes which focus on improving mental health and wellbeing   Picture: Rachel CherryDanceEast has teamed up with Inside Out to provide online Moving Minds classes which focus on improving mental health and wellbeing Picture: Rachel Cherry

Inclusive dance provides a safe space for disabled and non-disabled people to become more active and to improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

In Suffolk, DanceEast took to YouTube during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year – making sure its dance classes remained accessible to as many people as possible.

The classes mirrored the in-house activity, adapted to suit the home environment and featured activity for all age groups, from tots upwards, as well as chair-based exercises for those with limited mobility.

Dance can make an enormous contribution to our physical, social and creative health and wellbeing and has a particular role to play in times of stress.

Brendan Keaney, artistic director and chief executive of DanceEast said: “We believe that everyone has the right to enjoy great dance and the social and physical benefits it offers, and we don’t want people to lose those benefits. For this reason, we have continued to develop our online class programme and we’re encouraging everyone to use this as a moment to try something new. For now – home is where the dance is!”

Part of the class programme includes high-quality dance classes for those with Parkinson’s and their families, friends and carers – offered in partnership with the English National Ballet. Using live music and dance, classes are designed to encourage creativity, rhythm and use of voice. Proven to support people with Parkinson’s, these classes develop self-confidence and strength, while temporarily relieving some participants of their day-to-day symptoms.

A Dance for Parkinson’s class participant, said: “It is now five years since Dance for Parkinson’s began and I went to the first class; I always find it so uplifting. Kate, Calvin, the volunteers and the rest of the class are always such good company, and although participants have come and gone over the years, newcomers are very much welcomed and encouraged.”

DanceEast has also teamed up with Inside Out to provide classes which focus on improving mental health and wellbeing. Moving Minds takes place over zoom and creates a safe and supportive space for the participants to feel comfortable exploring movement and expressing themselves creatively.

Find out more about DanceEast’s programme and the Great British Week of Sport by clicking here.


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