My wonderful experience as Elder’s Programme Co-ordinator

‘The classes are very good at motivating movement that we ordinarily include in daily activities, and they rekindle the joy of dancing’ Dance for Parkinson’s participant

Being the Elder’s Programme Co-ordinator at Rambert, I feel privileged to join 22 people with Parkinson’s, as we’re transported away to a place where we can experience creativity and expression. I absolutely believe this would rekindle anyone’s joy of dancing, especially when the tune is Paint It Black, from Christopher Bruce’s Rooster. Even more so because the music is played live by a pianist, every week.

The Dance for Parkinson’s class began in January with just two participants, and it was amazing to see the class numbers expand so much by the second term. Now into the third term, with new people coming along every week, we not only introduce dance back into lives using Rambert repertoire, we also give an insight into the company’s long history by exploring its archive.

To see the transition of how participants enter the studio on a Tuesday morning, and then leave with a positive glow, highlights to me how important this nature of work is, and how I’m proud to be delivering it through Rambert.

These classes, along with Dance for Dementia, are part of a larger project we call the Elder’s Programme. This came about after delivering several dance and health taster sessions in London hospitals where we realised the impact on the patients’ lives. After a successful funding application to City Bridge Trust we were thrilled to be able to create an even richer Elder’s Programme, including keeping existing relationships with partners and dance groups such as the Hounslow Seniors, and out-patient workshops at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. As well as setting up local projects at various day-centres, earlier this year we began Dance for Dementia classes, along with the Dance for Parkinson’s classes, which are available in our South Bank home.

To bring the first year of this new programme to a close, I’ll be accompanying all our Elders groups to Sadler’s Wells in November. This is a chance for all participants to engage with the professional company and see our dancers perform Rooster – an opportunity to watch the piece they’ve been learning – live on stage!

Katie Mason Elder’s Programme Co-ordinator

More quotes from Dance for Parkinson's and Dance for Dementia participants

‘I’ve come along with my partner each week and I’ve been so impressed with the classes; we go away with a skip in our step – thank you so much!’

‘Please, please do more of these! They are a wonderful workout and pick me up and they are a great help to me.’

‘It would be useful to have these on a year round basis. They have a noticeable improvement in the general well-being of my husband, especially in his mood and engagement with music.’

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