We are delighted to announce that investment company Baillie Gifford is continuing to support our dance health and wellbeing programmes as part of a new five-year partnership. 

This will enable us to keep delivering classes for people with neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.

We have been running dance health and wellbeing classes since 2015, and these now include Elevate™ for multiple sclerosis, Time to Dance for people living with dementia and Dance for Parkinson’s, for people living with Parkinson’s disease. These classes, which were held online during the lockdown, provide several benefits to those who attend including helping them manage their condition and symptoms and improving their overall wellbeing and mental health.

Dr. Jonathan O’Riordan, Consultant Neurologist, NHS Tayside, says: “I have and continue to refer patients for these online sessions. The feedback has been excellent. Patients feel a sense of belonging and the combination of music and movement re-engages their physical and emotional wellbeing. When I mention this support network almost all are happy to become involved. Hopefully, it won't be too long till we can restart the programme in person.”

Living well with long term conditions will become increasingly important for the one million people in Scotland who live with neurological conditions. As people live longer, a more holistic approach to management of these conditions is required to improve quality of life and help people live well. Dance can be part of the overall management for the estimated 12,400 people living in Scotland with Parkinson’s disease, the 15,000 people living with multiple sclerosis and the 90,000 people living with dementia

Baillie Gifford is committed to supporting organisations that make a real difference to the community, which is why they have supported us for many years.

The benefits of dance in improving the quality of life and symptoms of people living with multiple sclerosis, dementia and Parkinson’s disease has been well documented. Studies have shown that people living with Parkinson’s disease who took part in weekly dance classes experienced improvements in speech, tremors, balance, and rigidity. For people with dementia, dancing has improved their physical ability, cognitive function, and quality of life. Structured dance programmes for people with multiple sclerosis have been shown to improve fatigue, co-ordination, and cognitive performance.

We have been developing our dance health & wellbeing programme since 2015. Our experienced dance education professionals are specialists in dance health, and we have a full-time Dance Health team. We were the first ballet company in the UK to do this. 

We have established a research committee whose remit is to develop a research base evidencing the benefits of dance in people living with long term conditions. We work with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who evaluate the dance programmes to provide robust evidence on their effectiveness, and also obtain qualitative feedback from participants. We utilise this evidence and feedback to refine and further develop our programmes.

‘Baillie Gifford supports organisations whose activities improve the communities in which they live and work. This new five-year partnership demonstrates our commitment to help people with long term neurological conditions live well. We appreciate the challenges that organisations have faced due to the pandemic and we have full confidence that Scottish Ballet will ensure our financial support will be directed to where it is most needed.’

Sam Pattman, Sponsorship Manager, Baillie Gifford

‘Scotland has a much higher incidence of multiple sclerosis compared to England and Wales, and the Orkney Islands has the highest prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the world. The support from Baillie Gifford for our neurological health and wellbeing programmes will help us develop and expand so we can help more people.’

Catherine Cassidy, Director of Engagement at Scottish Ballet