Elaine has been a member of Dancing with Parkinson’s in Hackney since 2016. This Christmas, as we reflect on three years of classes in London’s East End, she kindly wrote this personal blog piece highlighting the joyous experience of dancing!
Parkinson’s is firmly set aside up with my coat when I arrive at Danielle’s class at St. Joseph’s Hospice. I put my fuzzy cotton wool toes into my dance shoes and I am Elaine... a dancer. I may be a wobbly one but I can laugh at myself. I’m here and that’s what matters.
I am motivated by Danielle’s exuberance, bright smile and her energy through everything that she shares and teaches us. Her dedication and commitment to us all is incredible. What a shining light of inspiration she is!
As we sit down and warm up I am happy; my head is buzzing in anticipation of what I will be learning today. I already know that I will feel energetic, six feet tall and proud of myself when I leave. It doesn’t matter if I get it wrong, there is always giggly freestyle to fall back on. It’s wonderful how we all laugh and work together.
This year, we learned about Pina Bausch’s Nelken Line. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. I had to chuckle to myself. Parkinson’s and severe visual impairment mean I see everything in wavy lines, through a bit of sight in just one eye!
We are taught the intricate movements of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. A succession of hand movements walking forward, then stopping to a stately beat. The movements small and delicate. We all look at each other and grinned. Wow... it is a real challenge for me and I love a challenge, especially when I know I’ve risen to it in the best way I can.
I try to remember the sequence while walking forwarded. I’m busy engaged in trying to coordinate the sun, with the high grass, small grass, falling leaves and winter. All my seasons were in order… then I get the movements and seasons mixed up a bit. My personal global warming going on!
Danielle has taught me something new and my spirits are soaring! When the class comes to a close we clap and sit down to chat with a cup of tea and a biscuit. It is very lively chatter.
This is the Danielle effect!
If you want your day to have a positive kickstart'; St. Joseph’s Hospice in the ‘Finding Space’ is where it all happens. What joy! Come and share in it with us.
Danielle Teale Dance delivers Dancing with Parkinson’s in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney. She leads further dancing opportunities across London, Hampshire and Surrey with clinical partners including the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and St. George’s NHS Foundation Trust. To donate to keep this programme going please visit the Facebook fundraising page