Introduction to the CID project

This summer, I’m collaborating with Poplar Union to begin the Dancing with Parkinson’s Company. In this short piece I wanted to outline the ambitions of the project and my journey so far…


It’s really exciting to be at this point, sharing the ideas for our Dancing with Parkinson’s Company at Poplar Union, as the seed was first planted when Poplar Union was only just opening. I had begun developing my Dancing with Parkinson’s programme with other partners and was establishing classes in the community – the first of which was in Hackney with St. Joseph’s Hospice – when I first met with Beth Watton over two years ago at Poplar Union. I wanted to develop two strands to my work; a classes programme, and a performance, research and making strand where dancers could take their experience to another level of artistic engagement. From our first meeting, it immediately felt like the right place for this. In the heart of the artistic, east London community, the venue is both welcoming and community focused, as well as cutting edge and forward thinking in their programming. It’s two years later, after having established a successful and flourishing class programme in east London, that this project is finally coming to fruition.

DwP Image Quote - Poplar Union 3.jpg

The artistic idea – Collectivity and Identity (CID) – is one that has also taken time and exploration to evolve too, and this time to think and clearly outline an artistic vision as well as a strategy for the programme has been necessary for everyone.

The Dancing with Parkinson’s Company will launch this June, with the CID project – an exciting, artistic experiment; bringing people with Parkinson’s, dancers, musicians, visual artists, guest choreographers, film and photography, together to explore how we identify with ourselves, how we generate self-belief and efficacy, and what dance brings that can harness and increase our awareness of these important areas of emotional intelligence.

 

Having danced with people with Parkinson’s for over 10 years, I have had the pleasure of taking a circular route, first learning about Parkinson’s in order to effectively lead movement in an inclusive way, then learning from people with Parkinson’s about movement itself, becoming more minutely aware of my own body in space, the value in understanding the rhythm, control, fluidity, and expressivity of dance, making me kinaesthetically more empathic towards others. From there understanding that in a collaborative way, movement exploration with people with Parkinson’s could be far more of a process of discovery, trying, playing, making and creating than merely learning to dance together. I believe ideas that come directly from the lived experience of Parkinson’s are more interesting to explore and share, than ideas that come from expectation, perception or are observed by an outsider. Therefore, my current research which will be part of my PhD with University of Roehampton, has sought initially to understand what is most important about dancing, directly from people with Parkinson’s, through interviews and focus groups with my dancers at St. Joseph’s Hospice, St. George’s Hospital and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Taking the themes of space (physical and imagined); playfulness; collectivity and empathy; identity and self; (which were the most valued and notable themes that emerged in focus groups) as the beginning seeds of this project, we will be researching these together in the process of dancing together. The research happens in the doing – and the reflection and discussion afterwards, enables all voices and experiences to be heard. These themes will also be explored by visual artists making work inspired by what they see in the dance process. This strand of the project comes from a personal belief, that we see ourselves and the possibilities of movement differently, when it is shown to us through the lens of another. Not only will the dancers with Parkinson’s being seeing their own work depicted visually, the viewer will also see the body of dancers with Parkinson’s represented as a muse and subject of art, not defined by the illness of Parkinson’s.

 

We look forward to sharing the experience with you at an informal sharing that we will hold at Poplar Union in July. The sharing will demonstrate live dance, music and art work created from the CID project, in an informal exhibition format; with a discussion with the artists and dancers also taking place during the day. If you are interested in the project or more information, please do contact me to find out more.

Poplar Union and Danielle Teale are fundraising for the Dancing with Parkinson’s Programme via Space Hive. Please give what you can to this wonderful work by following the link below: https://www.spacehive.com/dancing-with-parkinsons

classes continue at Queen Square

After a successful pilot at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery 2018-19 I am delighted we will be continuing regular sessions this week. Dancers have been involved in a variety of creative projects since the classes began, including submitting a beautiful film to the World Parkinson’s Congress this March.

Please download the classes flyer here for more information, or get in touch with us at dancing.parkinsons@gmail.com

Summer term classes take place on Thursdays from 23 May to 4 July 2019.

Our recent presentation at the Dancing with Parkinson’s in Practice Symposium demonstrated the high quality artistic work we have been exploring, and the research questions we are beginning to refine alongside the dancers.

This film by Marco Benozzi was screened at the symposium and I’m thrilled to share it with you now:

Dancing with Parkinson's at Poplar Union

This World Parkinson’s Awareness Day I am thrilled we will be launching our new programme at Poplar Union, a community arts space in East London, and we have launched a Spacehive crowdfunding page for a new project.

About the project

The CID Project (Collective Identity) is a collaborative dance project which provides a regular artistic engagement for people with Parkinson’s on a performative level, bringing visibility to the Parkinson’s dancer.

CID will explore the empathic connection brought about through dancing and how dancing as a collective impacts on the individual dancer and his or her identity. This project will explore this idea through choreographic workshops, group dialogue and sharing, as well as through visual documentation and art-making from visual disciplines of film, photography and fine art.

About the artists

This project will be led by Danielle Teale, a leader in this field of practice and research, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a curiosity to drive this work forward. Collaborator Jaka Skapin will work with Danielle to lead the musical direction and experimentation with the dancers. Skain and Teale value a democratic approach, and this project will bring dancers with Parkinson’s, choreographers, musicians and visual artists together in equal dialogue about dancing, identity and collectivity.


What will be delivered

The project begins with weekly dance workshops for people with Parkinson’s, their family members or carers, and dance professionals, musicians and visual artists collectively. Dancers will experience a range of different choreographic approaches from guest artists and a chance to share their thoughts and experiences in a discussion after the workshops.

These discussions will feed into a research project led by Danielle Teae which focuses on the theme of collectivity and identity. The dancers, choreographers, artists and musicians alike will be invited to contribute to these focus group style discussions and the findings of this short aspect of the project will feed into the wider Dancing with Parkinson’s research.

The project will culminate in a sharing event which takes the form of pop-up dance ‘happenings’, live and recorded music sharing, and an exhibition of work for friends, family and the local community to see and hear about the work we have been exploring together.

We have launched a Spacehive crowdfunding page for this new project and we need your help to support this work and keep it growing. Please follow the embedded link and donate or share.