‘Dance for health’ helps those in Preston with Parkinson’s

Posted on - 14th September, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Health, Preston News, Proud Preston, UCLan
UCLan dance students teaching locals with Parkinson’s

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) dance students are limbering up in preparation to resume a popular weekly dance class.


The class teaches local people living with Parkinson’s how to dance.

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The final year dance and performance teaching students will work with dance and health artist and researcher Dr Melanie Brierley, from Conscious Bodies, and LPM Dance to deliver weekly hour-long classes designed to help participants with mobility, balance and movement confidence.

The workshops are part of LPM’s Preston Moves project, funded by Arts Council England, with Preston classes led by Dr Brierley who specialises in teaching dance to people living with Parkinson’s.

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UCLan Dance was involved in the successful project before the pandemic and classes will begin again on Wednesday 22 September, with help from around 10 students who each partner with a class member to help them during the lesson.

Dr Brierley said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming back the participants who get a lot out of the class physically and mentally. It’s a great social experience too.

“Many participants develop a great rapport with the students they work with and it’s lovely to see these relationships blossom.”

UCLan senior lecturer in dance performance and teaching Ruth Spencer works with Dr Brierley and LPM Dance to involve her students with the project, which forms part of the community dance module.

Participants feel the sessions are really beneficial

She said: “The dance and Parkinson’s sessions give students opportunities to work with members of the public alongside experienced and well-respected dance artists. The students see first-hand the potential of dance in supporting physical and mental wellbeing and improving quality of life.”

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Student Paige Douglas is one of the students involved with the project. She said: “Being involved with this project has given me a deeper understanding of how I can adapt movement to suit all participants needs.

“After I graduate, I can take the new knowledge I have gained in adapting movement to make my own facilitation practise more inclusive within the community.”

The project has proved to be such a success it has been included as an example of best practice in a new participatory arts toolkit, The Proof is in the Pudding, which is available nationally to support dance artists working in participatory settings.

The Preston Moves dance classes will begin on 22 September at 2pm at the University’s dance studios in the UCLan Media Factory building.

For more information, visit or email Helen on

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