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Parkinson’s, dementia, and multiple sclerosis. Three neurological conditions that are on the rise in Scotland. 

At Scottish Ballet, we are working with health professionals and researchers to prove that the benefits of dance count. This is more than keeping active, which has its merits. This is about tapping in to brain pathways and honouring the intrinsic social worth of sharing dance and movement to music. 

One in five people in Scotland are living with a neurological condition that has a significant impact on their lives, so our prescription-free medicine is important. Don’t take it from us. Hear from our participants as they explain what our Dance Health programme is doing. 

Elevate

We're delighted to offer a dance class for people living with multiple sclerosis, Elevate©

Our fun classes are a chance to explore creativity, expression, musicality, fluidity, balance, and posture. Participants can take part seated or standing.

Our highly experienced dance health team support participants who are welcome to bring a friend, partner, or carer to join in too. If you would like to find out more about our Elevate classes, you can do so by clicking here

‘‘As a total non-dancer, Elevate has opened my mind and confidence to enjoy dancing. I feel that my body is responding so well to the different moves and my brain is challenged to embrace the instruction’’

Elevate Participant

Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland

Since 2015, Scottish Ballet has been developing a national Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland (DPS) project, delivered in partnership with Dance Base.

Dancer Irene Mcdonald has Parkinson’s. Irene is 53, lives in Lenzie, and has been attending our Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland classes at Tramway. The symptoms of Parkinson’s make Irene feel slower, stiffer, she feels her voice isn’t the same, and she has breathing difficulties. Irene loves the live music and like many of our participants, she thinks our pianist, Derek, is wonderful. 

She also values the company of the other participants. Her husband, Roddy (who we have been able to tempt in to class a few times) says, ‘on a normal day of errands, we can manage about half an hour maximum at the shops. After the dance class, Irene is happy to be out and about for the whole afternoon, it’s a total joy’. 

In 2019, we were delighted to announce the expansion of this project to 10 hubs across Scotland – from Inverness to Peebles. 

Find out more about our Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland project here.

‘‘I was never a dancer before, but now, coming to class is the best day of my week’’

Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland Participant

Time to Dance

Ruth (participant name has been changed) has dementia. She is 78 and has been regularly attending our Time to Dance classes at Tramway. She comes with her daughter-in-law and friend. 

Ruth was diagnosed three years ago, however, the family think Ruth has had dementia for eight years. She was an active walker before she developed dementia, and as her symptoms progressed she would take long walks back to her childhood home. Her friend tells me, ‘Ruth isn’t aware that she now lives in a care home, she’s not aware that she is coming to a dance class, she doesn’t remember the last session - each class is a new experience for her’. 

Even though Ruth has no expectations, her friend tells us she definitely enjoys the class, ‘She’s able to follow the teacher and dance with a partner, she’s musical and the live music adds a great deal. The class is a chance for her to be active and socialise in her way, which for Ruth is joining in with a group’. 

Her family and friends say it also gives them a chance to appreciate spending time with Ruth without the worries of being a carer.

Find out more about our Time to Dance project here.