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World Dance for Parkinson's Day

Musical Moving was delighted to be invited as one of the UK groups to take part in World Dance for Parkinson's Day together with international partners.  A virtual platform offered a window into the work of 14 different dance organisations and teaching artists who deliver specialised classes for people with Parkinson's around the world. Each day, from 11 April 2017 a different organisation was featured.  On 29 April all of the work was shown to celebrate the range and diversity of dance for people with Parkinson's.  We were delighted to be part of this event and look forward to continuing the conversation with our dance partners around the globe.  

See here: 

Theatre Visits 

Musical Moving dancers continue to enjoy fantastic relationships with English National Ballet and The Royal Opera House.  In December, a large group attended The Nutcracker at the Opera House and a group of Wimbledon dancers will see Giselle at the London Coliseum, performed by English National Ballet.  Both performances were accompanied by workshops to explore the ballet's movement ideas and themes.

 Local Support for Musical Moving in Wimbledon

We continue to be generously supported by the Merton Branch of Parkinson's UK.  The Committee has been supportive of our work since we set up classes in Wimbledon in 2009, ensuring a fantastic link with the local Parkinson's community in Merton and surrounding areas. We are grateful for their support and active involvement in Musical Moving.   Also, we are very excited that the WI in Wimbledon has chosen us to be the charity they will support through their fundraising activities in 2016.  Such an enthusiastic and dynamic group.  We are delighted to work with them over the coming months.  Thank you all from the Wimbledon dancers with Parkinson's. 

Guest Teachers

Danielle Jones led two Musical Moving sessions in January 2016.  All dancers enjoyed the work enormously and are looking forward to working with Danielle again later in the term.  We are also looking forward to welcoming Aimee Smith and Sophia Hulbert from Pavilion Dance to dance with us this summer. 

The Nutcracker

A large group of dancers attended The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum in January, thanks to generous help and support from English National Ballet.  Dancers were joined by friends, family and grandchildren for a very very special way to start 2016. We hope to have more theatre visits during the year. 

Kentish Town Class

Musical Moving is delighted that it has returned to run its class at the Kentish Town Health Centre, supported by the Kentish Town Improvement Fund.  This was our founding dance group and we are very delighted to be back working with some of our founder dancers, now joined by new members in the Monday class.

Funding for Wimbledon Dance Group

The Wimbledon class is delighted to have received support for its work from the following local charities:  The Generation's Trust, The Women's Institute and Parkinson's UK Merton Branch.  This support will enable us to continue to develop our professional development, to hire an assistant teacher for the group and to fund a summer school in August.  We had a pilot of the summer classes last year in 2015 and it was an overwhelming success.  All said:  "Let's do it again."  We will!

Dance for Parkinson's (Dans for livet) in Sweden - National Workshops led by Joanne Duff and Amanda Fogg 

Sweden's first national conference introducing Dance for Parkinson's took place in Jonkoping on May 5th and 6th 2015.  The first day focussed on presentations covering scientific and medical/neurological information and research findings about the benefits of Dance for people with Parkinson's.  Dr Sara Houston, Chair of the Dance for Parkinson's Network UK gave a presentation about the award winning  long term research programme recently completed by herself and Ashley McGill.  She also outlined the major contributions to the research field made by others before focussing on how dance artists themselves can evaluate their classes.

On the second day the Dance for Parkinson's Network UK was represented by Joanne Duff of Musical Moving and Amanda Fogg, a freelance Dance Practitioner who has been working in this field since 2001, both founder members of the UK Network.  A series of participatory practical workshops demonstrated different approaches to the work including rationales for the content and the structure of classes.  There were discussions about the practicalitites of setting up classes, and a practical investigation into particular movement challenges prevalent in Parkinson's, alongside strategies for overcoming these safely in the dance class and (by extension) in everyday life.  In the afternoon a group of Parkinson's dancers joined the delegates in a dance class  so that the work shared and discussed earlier in the day was reinforced and experienced "for real" by everyone.  Further discussion, a question and answer session and plenary rounded off the day.

The conference was organised by Ida-Klara Johansson who attended the Dance for Parkinson's Network Summer School in Leicester in 2014.  Since then she has been working with Katarzyna Filipowicz who began classes in the Kulturehuset in Jonkoping two years ago.  The conference was very well received on both days by the delegates from across Sweden (including Maria Lind, dancer and neurophysiotherapist from Gothenberg who also attended last year's Summer School and now runs a class) and from these beginnings it is hoped that a collaborative Network similar to that in the UK will develop. The intention is also that the links to our UK Network will be fostered and developed further.  We were all made warmly welcome by our hosts, delegates and Parkinson's dancers alike and feel excited and energised by the reception we all received.  We are all looking forward to future developments.


Hampton dancers to join Wimbledon Class

From January 2015 all dancers from the Hampton group will dance with the Wimbledon group at the Wimbledon Guild on Wednesday afternoons.  Please get in touch if you would like to attend the class. 


Dance for Parkinson's Network UK

Joanne Duff has joined the Dance for Parkinson's Network UK as a founding trustee.  Joanne is committed to supporting the development of dance for people with Parkinson's throughout the UK.  She plans to set up a London working group of people teaching in the capital in order to support best access to dance classes for people with Parkinson's.  We want to ensure a strategic spread of the work here as we do throughout the UK.


The Royal Opera House - Carmen,  12 January 2014

Musical Moving's participants will attend ROH's Welcome Performance of Carmen in January.  Over 150 dancers with Parkinson's, their friends and relatives will attend the performance and will be joined by Sing for Joy members. All agree it is the perfect way to begin the New Year.


 Mark Morris Dance Group - December 2013

Approximately 50 dancers from our four London groups attended the Sunday, 1 December matinee performance of the Mark Morris Dance Group at Sadler's Wells. We were welcomed by Toby Beazley, Dance Umbrella, and enjoyed welcome pre-performance talks with Mark Morris and Nancy Umanoff, the Group's Executive Director.  After the stunning performance dancers joined us for tea.  A delightful end to a stimulating day at Sadler's Wells.  

We were thrilled to welcome David Leventhal, MMDG Programme Director, Dance for PD®, to both Wimbledon and Kentish Town to teach our Parkinson's dance classes.  It had been four years since David's last session with the group.  As always, there is great warmth and spirit in David's work and his generosity continues to inspire Musical Moviing's participants, teachers and Network dance leaders who joined us in the sessions.  We are already looking forward to David's next visit and to co- leading our next professional development day next summer.


 Professional Development Opportunity 

Musical Moving will join other members of the Dance for Parkinson's Network UK and David Leventhal, Dance for PD®, New York, to present a two-day training event - Introduction to Dance for people with Parkinson's.  This professional development opportunity will be on 21 and 22 June at Roehampton University, London, to offer an introduction to this work to dance, music, arts and allied health professionals and graduate students.  See Dance for Parkinson's U.K. Network for further details and to download an application form.

 Musical Moving -  Registered Charity

In March 2012 Musical Moving became a Registered Charity 1146338.  Our Trustees are:  Ginny Brown, Chair, Faiz Nizar, Treasurer, Pippa Cobbing, Secretary and Toby Beazley.  We look forward to working with our Trustees to develop our work in London over the next years and to seek new partnerships and funding to support our future growth. 


Dr Marion North OBE, CBE, PhD, DArts, DLit, dance educator, movement researcher and arts leader. 2 November 1925 - 3 May 2012.

Marion North, principal and Chief Executive of Laban from 1973-2004, passed away early in May after a brief spell in hospital. Marina Benini, a Musical Moving team member and great friend of Dr North, was with her during her time in hospital. Marion was a founder teacher of Musical Moving, Dance for people with Parkinson’s, having set up our first class in Kentish Town with Anna Gillespie and Marina Benini in 2008. Marion made an enormous contribution to the development of contemporary dance education and training in this country. It is a great honour that she was involved in the early days of Musical Moving and that she continued to work with us as a Movement Consultant. At times Marion came along to dance with our group and occasionally she lead a session. We leave Marion’s words on our website as a tribute to her support of our work. She said “This creative dance class touches both the inner and outer movements of the participants. Its value is illustrated by everyone’s commitment and enthusiasm.”


UK Teacher’s Network – Dance for people with Parkinson’s

Musical Moving is delighted to be part of the developing and growing UK network of teachers of dance for people with Parkinson’s. The group is supported by Dance Umbrella, the Foundation for Community Dance and the Mark Morris Dance Group in New York. One of our aims is to work together to raise the profile of dance for people with Parkinson’s around the UK and to work to spread the word about the array of classes taking place around the country. The network has met to share practice and ideas recently and plans a meeting early in 2012 to establish ways forward for the exciting work in the UK. More news in the New Year about how we will all work together to establish even more classes in the UK and link together to share practice, performance, research and professional development. Ken Bartlett, the Creative Director of the Foundation for Community Dance is supporting our work by including a fantastic page on their website which gives contact information for classes around the UK, listings of articles, news about research and the development of the work around the UK. This is the first UK site to highlight the Network. We hope to include even more information as the work grows and develops. Many thanks to the Foundation for Community Dance for this support. A full listing of classes and other information can be found on the Foundation for Community Dance website at:


Dance for Parkinson's: An investigative study by Dr. Sara Houston and Ashley McGill, University of Roehampton May 2011

Musical Moving’s Joanne Duff And Anna Gillespie were invited to co-lead English National Ballet’s pilot project for dance for people with Parkinson’s. Anna and Joanne worked with the Company’s Learning & Participation Officer, Danielle Jones, in devising, planning and delivering the workshops. We were delighted that a number of our Musical Moving dancers were able to attend the project. It gave them the opportunity to attend dance classes twice a week and they found this beneficial and very exciting. English National Ballet commissioned Roehampton University to conduct research into the effects of dancing with Parkinson’s as seen within the 12 week pilot project, which took place in London from October 2010 to February 2011. 
The research was carried out by Dr. Sara Houston and Ashley McGill from Roehampton University Department of Dance. The research project is the first in the UK to examine the benefits of dance in an artistic form for people with Parkinson's. Dr Sara Houston said: “The study shows that dancing positively affected people with Parkinson’s in a number of ways. Most dramatically, dancing to the music enabled participants to increase fluidity of movement, and short term gains in mobility were observed, particularly in the latter half of the project. Wellbeing, positive mental attitude and emotions were all consistently improved.” A participant gives a glowing recommendation about dance class: "I loved it, every single moment…I can’t praise it enough .” This sentiment is echoed by people around the UK who attend dance classes on a regular basis. One Musical Moving dancer says: ““The feel good factor is really HUGE. My confidence has really grown with these classes with their ‘made to measure’ exercises and dance sequences…it feels amazing - like every muscle is stretched, toned and strengthened.” For more information or to see a copy of the full report, published May 20ll, contact us at Musical Moving.


Musical Moving at The Place

In November 2010, Musical Moving, Dance for people with Parkinson’s, began a relationship with the education department of Richard Alston Dance Company. The two groups will work together during sessions designed to introduce the members of Musical Moving to the repertoire of Richard Alston and the wide range of activities at The Place, where his company is based. This is an exciting opportunity for members of the Camden based community dance group to take classes in dance studios in one of the UK’s centres of contemporary dance.


Big Lottery Funding - New London Classes in Kingston and Barnes

We were very excited to learn that we had been successful in our bid for Big Lottery Funding - an application made jointly by Musical Moving and Parkinson's UK. The funding enables us to do the following work in two new London venues. We will be running classes in Kingston at Ewell Court House on Wednesday mornings on 10, 17 and 24 November from 11:00am - noon. We will also be running some 'taster' sessions in Barnes to attract new dancers from the Richmond area. These will take place on Tuesday mornings early in 2011 at the Old Sorting Office on Barnes Green on 11, 18 25 January and 1 February. Joanne and Anna are delighted to be working with Nancy Williams, a committed dancer in one of our groups, who wishes to set up these new classes. We will do all we can to support Nancy's initiative and establish classes for this area. With Wimbledon now full, we feel it is the right time to get more people attending dance for people with Parkinson's south of the river!


World Parkinson Congress 2010

The Musical Moving team will be teaching a demonstration class at the World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow in September 2010. We are very excited to have the opportunity to attend the Conference to share our work and learn from the outstanding presenters who are part of the programme. We look forward to being part of a presentation on Dance for Parkinson’s Disease by Olie Westheimer, founder and executive director of the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, a chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation (USA). In 2001 Olie co-founded, with the Mark Morris Dance Group in New York, Dance for PD classes. These classes have been a great inspiration to many dance teachers working with people with Parkinson’ s throughout the world. Joanne Duff, Musical Moving teacher has gone to New York to attend a teacher’s workshop with MMDG and the Musical Moving team has attended workshops in London with Olie and dancers from MMDG, David Leventhal and John Heginbotham.


Musical Moving, Dance for people with Parkinson's - Our Board

In February 2010 our group officially adopted its constitution to become an unincorporated association called Musical Moving, Dance for people with Parkinson's. We are grateful to Beverley Burton, Merton Voluntary Services Council, for her help and advice in setting up the group. We are delighted that the following have agreed to serve on our Board to share their expertise and enthusiasm for dance for people with Parkinson's: Ginny Brown and Pippa Cobbing of The Royal Ballet School's Dance Partnership and Access Programme and John Shaw, a founding participant in our Kentish Town dance group. We look forward to working together at Musical Moving and to welcoming others to join us in developing this work in the future.


Mark Morris Dance Group and Dance Umbrella Host Workshops for Teachers of Dance for People with Parkinson’s

Teachers, movement leaders and facilitators from around the country joined Mark Morris Dance Group artists David Leventhal and John Heginbotham at two workshops to share and develop ideas for dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. The first session was held last autumn at The Place and this was followed by a second practical workshop in April 2010 at the Siobhan Davies Studios. A number of participants from Musical Moving classes at Kentish Town and Wimbledon took part in the second workshop. Many members of the group were delighted to also attend the MMDG performance at the London Coliseum of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with carers, partners and friends. We are all very grateful to Toby Beazley and Dance Umbrella for their support and encouragement in developing our practice for dance for people with Parkinson’s. Marina, Joanne and Anna at Musical Moving hope to have more opportunities in the future to work with David and John and the inspirational group of teachers from around the UK.


Dancers from Mark Morris Dance Group Teach Class at Kentish Town

We were delighted to welcome David Leventhal and John Heginbotham to Kentish Town on 19 October 2009 to teach our group. Both dancers with the Mark Morris Dance Group, they teach classes and workshops for dance for Parkinson’s in New York, the Company’s home and around the world when performing on tour. David and John are founding teachers of Dance for PD, a unique collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group, a chapter of the National Parkinson’s Foundation in the United States. They teach weekly sessions for the group. Both David and John bring huge warmth and spirit to every movement they teach and their generosity was greatly appreciated by our dancers. As one participant remarked, “It was all amazing, especially watching them move. David and John had such energy and joy when teaching us.”