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Covid forces ballet classes from English National’s Leamouth HQ to go online for those with Parkinson’s

PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 October 2020

English National Ballet's Dance for Parkinson's programme. Picture: Rachel Cherry

English National Ballet's Dance for Parkinson's programme. Picture: Rachel Cherry

Rachel Cherry

A programme of “dance for Parkinson’s” is switching to online sessions run remotely from English National Ballet’s studios at Leamouth during the pandemic.

Ballet sessions at English National's new London City Island HQ before being suspended during lockdown. Picture: ENBBallet sessions at English National's new London City Island HQ before being suspended during lockdown. Picture: ENB

The programme now in its 10th year gives lessons for those with Parkinson’s for dance to live music, socialising and meeting other people. Classes would have been person-to-person at the ballet company’s City Island complex, but were halted earlier this year because of Covid-19.

“We aren’t able to physically come together in one space at the moment,” English National’s Fleur Derbyshire-Fox said. “But we’re bringing the classes to participants this way.

“This is a very difficult year, so if we can bring light to people’s lives through dance, then we’ll find a way.”

Dance can enhance fluidity of movement for those with Parkinson’s, develop postural stability and flexibility of the spine, the ballet company’s research has shown.

Each pre-recorded class is led by artist Kate Hartley-Stevens from a classical and contemporary repertoire. The weekly sessions also give those taking part a chance to socialise on a group Zoom call and also learn about life behind the scenes at the ballet company.


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