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Twelve Days of Dance Base: Dance for Parkinson’s

Nicola Kenny

This year took Dance for Parkinson’s in new, exciting, directions.

2023 saw the community expand in several ways; funding from the ScottishPower foundation has allowed us to support our peers at Dance North (Moray) and Generation Arts (West Lothian) to trial their own Dance for Parkinson’s classes. We also delivered Advanced Dance for Parkinson’s training to 22 dance artists in September, helping spread this important work further.

Another expansion took the form of several trips for the group outside of Dance Base.

First, Dance Base was delighted to arrange three summer classes at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. The use of the theatre space allowed our Dance for Parkinson’s sessions to continue to run through the Fringe, providing vital continuity for our dancers. Janice, one of our Dancers living with Parkinson’s, shares more about this below:

“We were going to miss our classes over the break, especially the friends we’ve bonded with over the past months. You can perhaps imagine our delight when we were told that we had been given the opportunity to use the Festival Theatre!

A huge, beautiful room was at our disposal, glass fronted with amazing views of the brooding Arthur’s Seat, there isn’t much can top that for inspiration! We were greeted at the door by our team of amazing volunteers and class leaders. Everyone at the Festival Theatre could not have been more thoughtful or helpful.

We all had a wonderful time, making the most of this opportunity to spend more special time together, working hard to help slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease through dance. As always, we benefitted from our choirmaster and pianist cheering us on!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge than you for giving us all something a wee bit wonderful to look forward to each week, in what, for us can be a difficult life path to navigate.”



Second was a social outing to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Dance Base’s Emma Smith, Head of Health, Wellbeing & Engagement, wrote about her impression of the trip:

“In August, we brought our community together at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh for a social get-together. We shared tea and cakes in the café, before taking a stroll around the gardens together. We organized mobility aids for our participants, which the gardens provide, so that we could all enjoy a trip to take in the scenery.

This event was all about socialising and maintaining the routine and connection with each other while we couldn’t host classes in our venue due to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. One of our participants has been struggling with their health and mobility recently. They told us they would likely not be able to make this trip due to the travel and the walk around the gardens. We were delighted that they did come, making use of the mobility aids that we had provided. For the carer, it was a particularly important moment of respite and peer support, where they could relax amongst friends who know what they are going through.”


Our third outing was a trip to the Fringe to see ‘After All’, an exploration of death by Solene Weinachter. Jean, who attends Dance for Parkinson’s to support her husband, shared:

“While it could potentially be regarded as a morbid choice of performance to attend, this was absolutely absorbing and thought provoking! The show gave an amazing depth of understanding and experience! We could recognise personal reactions and learn more about each other.

There was effective dance, dynamic movement, beautiful storytelling with a realistic, refreshing humour. We appreciated the opportunity to attend this performance and were welcomed and accompanied during it by the lovely Dance team at Dance Base, who gave us interesting insight into the performer and her performance. That we could have watched this again immediately says how much we enjoyed and appreciated the experience. Thank you.”


Support Dance for Parkinson’s

It is Dance Base’s place as a staple of the Edinburgh arts scene and an important community hub that allows us to work with venues such as the Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Botanic Gardens. Your support makes it possible for us to continue to build these bridges, creating opportunities for the local community who we work to serve.

If you’d like to contribute to Dance Base, you can help by sponsoring us. Find out more at the link below.


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