Crane Dance Choreographic Project - WPC 2019

Dancing with Parkinson’s dancers from the Danielle Teale Dance class at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery took part in the international Crane Dance Project this term, initiated by Dance for PD (USA). This project sees dance groups from around the world creating choreography to be screened at the World Parkinson’s Congress in Kyoto this June.

Our dance, untitled ‘Taking off and Landing’ was inspired by the control and power of a bird in flight. The dancers explored this concept through choreographic tasks and devised a set phrase together in unison as well as including their improvised responses in lead and follow tasks in their final film.

The Danielle Teale Dance programme is always collaborative, and this project was developed in collaboration with lead musician Jaka Skapin who composed and recorded the music especially for the dancers in this project.

We hope you enjoy our final result…

Dancing with Parkinson's in Practice, Symposium round-up

Last week, with an international audience of over 75 guests, I was delighted to host and present the first Dancing with Parkinson’s in Practice symposium in collaboration with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and Institute for Neurology.

The symposium was opened by colleague and friend David Leventhal, Founding teacher and Director of Dance for PD, who generously shared his thoughts on the practice of telling stories - we have to honour the real stories and find ways to share them… This set the tone for the evening and the values of our programme, which champions the voices of people with Parkinson’s and puts their stories at the centre of the practice.

Stories need telling, for which you need language, and words only go so far – most of life takes place well beyond the reach of words. Words can convey inner states, but they are always about things, they are not the thing itself - all this evening’s talk about dance is not actual dance. For me, the value in dance class is learning an expressive art - a creative language for both Body and Being, good for exploring and expressing things deeper than words
— Leslie Mapp (dancer with Parkinson’s)

The evening followed with presentations from Danielle Teale, artistic initiator of Dancing with Parkinson’s, and Ben Beare, research Physiotherapist and collaborator for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery programme. Teale and Beare have been working together on a pilot research for the programme, and the presentation was an honest insight into the challenges of researching dance, and the pitfalls of data capture measures. Teale and Beare are continuing their research partnership and exploring new approaches in the continued programme from May 2019.

The main event of the evening was an opportunity to hear from our expert panel of dancers with Parkinson’s. Chaired by Alison Williams, who sits on the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK Steering Group, and is a dancer with Scottish Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s Programme in Edinburgh.

For me, although the studio space is wonderful and full of light, the emotional and spiritual space of the class is equally important. The teachers create it, and our volunteers support it, and the dancers co-create it as well.
— Alison Williams (dancer with Parkinson's)

Dancer Leslie Mapp who is a long standing member of Danielle Teale Dance, Dancing with Parkinson’s in Hackney at St. Joseph’s Hospice, gave a moving speech about the power of dancing and a true insight into the experience of a dancer with Parkinson’s. You can read an abridged version of this on the blog from a previous entry: Swan Song

As the disease progresses, you do learn new words - from medicine, from psychology, from statistics - but none successfully conveys the profound depths of the experience. It’s inexpressible in words, it needs speaking not just speaking about. Which is why the particular combination of music, choreography and infectious enthusiasm that Danielle brings to her classes is so rewarding.

Not only does it provide me with physical exercise for the movement disorder, it also provides me with a language for directly expressing my new persona as a person with Parkinson’s. And I’m learning the best way, immersed in company with native speakers. Everyone in the class is fluent in either Parkinson’s or dance, and we’re all learning from each other. Sure, I’d get the same physical workout from the gym, but most probably in an atmosphere of conflict and competition – refuse those limitations, fight that disease. Now that Parkinson’s and I are inseparable, I prefer the gentler language that dance speaks, one of working together, of exploring and expressing just who I am right now - in a language of collaboration, imagination, self.
— Leslie Mapp (dancer with Parkinson's)

Then the remaining panel, dancers Anne Prest, Steve Harris and Angie Heathfield, were invited to speak about their experiences - why dance, what keeps you coming, does the space affect your experience, what is important to you about leadership… all these questions opened a valuable dialogue between audience and dancers about their experience and what we can learn from them.

The Dancing with Parkinson’s programme at National Hospital for Neurology continues in May 2019 with regular classes and research taking place, funded by the National Brain Appeal. Keep in touch with us for more information and sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.

Dance for Parkinson's Symposium

Thursday 21 March, Sadler’s Wells and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Dancing at NHNN, photography by Jack Thomson IMAGE MAKER

Dancing at NHNN, photography by Jack Thomson IMAGE MAKER

I’m proud to be working with David Leventhal, Dance for PD (R) programme director, Kiki Gale and the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK for the upcoming event ‘Looking Ahead: a one-day interactive symposium’. The daytime event held at Sadler’s Wells looks ahead towards the future of Parkinson’s practice with round-table dialogue, workshops and panel discussions, and presentations from speakers including health professionals, dance artists and people with Parkinson’s.

In the evening on 21 March, I will be hosting a Symposium Extra event, Dancing with Parkinson’s in Practice in collaboration with National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. This event celebrates the partnership with NHNN since September 2018, during which I have delivered a weekly class in the neuro-rehabilitation unit for people with Parkinson’s and their family / carers.

Focussed on artistic engagement within the hospital environment and the developing practice of dancing with Parkinson’s in dialogue with dancers from Danielle Teale Dance classes. Hear from artists, physiotherapists, dancers with Parkinson’s and guest speaker Alison Williams about their experiences and plans for future artistic and research partnerships.


Thursday 21st March 2019, 6.30 pm – 9.00 pm
Gilliatt Lecture Theatre, Institute for Neurology, Queen Square, London

Refreshments including a buffet and drinks will be provided for all attendees
To book please go to:

Out of London, into Seoul

This autumn, I was pleased to be invited by Dance for PD ® founding teacher David Leventhal, to collaborate with him on a CPD programme in Seoul, South Korea.

Taking my practice, from a place / location / situation in which I have been exploring, moving, thinking, delving and discussing for the last 10 years, and placing it outside of all the usual cultural and practical understanding I’m surrounded by in the UK, was both a lesson in communication and a challenge of my unvoiced bias or assumptions.

Read More

World dance for Parkinson's celebration 2018

I'm delighted to have my work featured this year on the World dance for Parkinson's portal celebrating excellence in practice with dancers with Parkinson's internationally:

Below is a reproduction of the page (link above)


Danielle Teale is a highly experienced independent community dance artist based in London. Her work is inspired by curiosity in human nature, people and their capacity for expression and connectedness. Her values and her dance practice are founded on equality, empathy and relationality. Danielle’s work with people with Parkinson’s has spanned many years of delivery, programme design, teacher training, mentoring and research with organisations such as Mark Morris Dance Group, English National Ballet, University of Roehampton, People Dancing and Dance for Health Rotterdam. You can see more about her ongoing practice on her website:

Danielle advocates for the participant voice and embodied knowledge of the dancer. In her own words:

We should not ignore the vital role that the dancers with Parkinson’s themselves play in the development of a robust, specialist sector by sharing their embodied experience through research and through kinaesthetic transference of knowledge to those they dance with.
— Danielle Teale

Danielle believes that when working with movement disorder, the most knowledgeable people are those experiencing it, and working with it to push the boundaries of what we know to be possible.

Danielle’s recent practice-based research which places the dancer at the forefront of the enquiry, has been developed out of an artistic collaboration with visual artists in film, photography and fine art. ‘Explorations in Collectivity and Intimacy’ is an ongoing process driven project looking at two opposing ways of approaching dance which offer different experiences to the artist, dancer and audience in all contexts. Danielle has primarily worked with visual artist Sara Hibbert and together they produced a 15-minute dual screen film installation which was originally shown at Royal College of Art Dyson Gallery as part of the Altai Residency.

This research sparked interesting dialogue around the cross overs between the neurological, perceptual, and phenomenological experience of moving collectively; and the notion of movement conformity and how the collective can suggest one way of being or moving. Collaborating with a visual artist also brought up the role of art and the moving image in presenting new ways of seeing, understanding, and deconstructing the Parkinson’s body. These broad themes have led to a fluid and evolving process of exploration in practice. The film represents a ‘chapter’ of the work in process. The project will evolve further with additional cross arts collaborations and workshops planned throughout 2018. To see more of the research and questions arising from this project, as well as the film ‘Collective Field 2017’ you can visit the project blog

This research has also impacted Danielle’s facilitation and leadership approach to classes for dancers with Parkinson’s. She is interested in contrasting ways of exploring external and internal cueing through dance. External cueing through demonstration, mirroring, touch, sound and music provide concrete initiators for movement. Whereas internal cueing gives the dancer the choice to develop their own personal movement language. This connects with Danielle’s ongoing interest in co-ownership and equality across artist and dancers, with dancers contributing to the movement research process as experts.


Danielle leads a number of classes and workshops across London and the south of England, providing weekly artistic opportunities for people with Parkinson’s, as well as mentoring, shadowing and training for dance artists and musicians.