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.
Last week, the Clinical Research team at St. Joseph's presented a poster at the Hospice UK National Conference based on the findings from a small evaluative research study into the goal attainment benefits of the classes for people who attend.
In dance, our ability to understand human responses and vulnerability enable us to respond appropriately and supportively in the moment. Through compassion, we can show solidarity with the people we dance with by acknowledging our equality with them and adapting our approach to enable their contributions.
I'm delighted to be presenting, sharing and joining with a network of incredible artists and experienced thinkers and movers at the upcoming People Dancing conference in Glasgow.
This conference comes at a time when many threads of my practice, experience, thinking and research are converging and I look forward to the opportunity to share this through the theme of dance with people with Parkinson's.
In August 2017 I was invited to be involved in a movement enquiry with collaborators from dance for health Rotterdam. My previous blog post, introduced the process of arriving at this enquiry and this post will account the content and thoughts that evolved from this two day exploration process with Itamar Serussi, Marc Vlemmix, Rosan Chinnoe, Sara Houston and Nicole Rust (Scapino Ballet).
The movement content explored in the two day lab was directed by choreographer Itamar Serussi with methods and tools derived from his making process. Itamar has been working with dancer Marc Vlemmix for a period of around 6 months on and off, and Marc is interested to explore how this process which is collaborative between the two, is having an impact on his movement possibilities as a person with Parkinson's
My research started with a big question: 'what is happening here!?'. Based on my practice in community dance, I continue to be intrigued by the role of the artist, power dynamics in the dance studio, self actualisation, and dancers ability to take ownership over their dancing experience. A good place to start seemed to be an analysis of the function of the artist as a leader. Therefore immediately a number of other questions came to be important...
Last week I was delighted to speak at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference on a topic that is very important to me and was the basis for my research into the role of the dance artist in Community practice. 'The value of artistry in dance and health...' argues the need for a shift in focus from rationale and best practice, to artistry and the creative integrity of the individual artist. Here I share with you the presentation that I gave with a few amendments to make it more suitable for reading:
from best practice to artistry, a reflection on dancing with parkinson's
Globally, dancing as a positive intervention and as a stimulating activity for people with Parkinson's has exploded with popularity over the last 10 years. With high quality research in the UK commissioned by English National Ballet and spearheaded by Dr. Sara Houston of University of Roehampton; the establishment of a supportive UK network for professional development and class set up, directed by Kiki Gale and housed under People Dancing; and the ongoing globally inspiring Mark Morris Dance Group programme Dance for PD, led by the commitment, dedication and positivity of David Leventhal in New York (recently awarded the World Parkinson Congress award for distinguished contribution to the Parkinson community).
As a result of a recent project I've delivered on behalf of Green Candle Dance Company in partnership with Creative Arts East, I was invited to write a guest blog about the reflective role of the community dance artist.
This International Women's Day I am reflecting on the women who have influenced my life both good and bad, and I know that I am most inspired by the women (and men) that choose to value emotions on a level with intelligence, empathy on a level with analysis and the heart as equal to the head. Those who choose to admit vulnerability by being authentic in the moment.
So my thoughts for the day come from the incredible Dr. Brené Brown on the courage to be vulnerable.
I thought I'd make a recommendation for world book day! Related to my masters thesis research and my current research into Collectivity and Intimacy, my recommendation is Sandra Reeve, Nine Ways of Seeing a Body
Join Danielle Teale and visual artist Sara Hibbert for an open dance workshop for people with Parkinson's, carers, partners and guests atRoyal College of Art Battersea, 1 Hester Road SW11 4AN, Saturday 28th January 10.45am (arrival) - 12.15pm (plus refreshments). For more information you can download the workshop flyer