Samantha Gillingham

Dancing with Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Samantha Gillingham discusses the benefits of dance for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. 

As a Dance Artist and community practitioner, I see and feel the power of dance every day, yet I do understand that the idea of dance can be scary and even off putting to some. Having worked in the arts and cultural sector in Dorset for the last decade, I have specialised in dance for health since 2016 and I have consistently seen the mental, physical and social benefits for participants. A trio of Dorset and Hampshire based arts organisations champion this particular work, hosting specialist gentle dance and movement based classes for people living with Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, facilitating welcoming environments that combine tailored movement, music and care. Dorchester Arts, Pavilion Dance South West and Forest Arts Centre manage classes in Dorchester and Sherborne, Bournemouth and New Milton respectively, providing scientifically researched and evidence based models of teaching that support people to live with their symptoms. It’s an absolute joy to co-lead many of the Dorset classes, which are fun, inclusive and challenging too. We welcome anyone who would like to give class a go.

Group dance class for wellness.
“Fun inclusive and challenging too”

Dancing with Parkinson’s

Classes are based on the Parkinson’s Dance Science approach, co-founded by Neuro-physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and dance artist Aimee Hobbs, with support from Pavilion Dance. It combines physiotherapeutic effect, research evidence and the artistic experience of dance to address Parkinson’s symptoms in a fun, social and creative way. The 90 minute classes are led by two experienced Parkinson’s Dance Science trained teachers, who will creatively guide you through movement with music, which includes seated, standing, ballet barre and travel (seated options are available through out). Hot drinks and biscuits are provided pre, post or during the class depending on the location, with each venue providing a warm welcome and sense of community.

Dancing with Multiple Sclerosis

This programme, which is the first of its kind in the UK, was developed in partnership with MS specialists, University of Florida, Georgetown University, MS Society Scotland and MS Revive. These fun classes are a chance for you to explore your creativity, expression, musicality, fluidity, balance and posture. Led by two highly experienced dance artists who will support you throughout and will provide seated or standing options and further adaptations. You can expect a relaxed and friendly environment where you will learn new skills and make new friends. SB Elevate classes are 75 minutes long and are accompanied by live or pre-recorded music, with a half an hour Social café after the class.

When, Where and How Much?

In both classes, participants pay between £4-6 per class with a friend or carer encouraged to accompany for free.

Classes are run by Dorchester Arts at their venue in The Corn Exchange and a friend or career goes free.

Dorchester Dance for Parkinson’s
Tuesdays from 3pm-4:30pm during term time

Dorchester SB Elevate Dance for Multiple Sclerosis
Fridays from 10:30am-11:45am during term time

More Information
Contact Dorchester Arts for term dates and further information.
Learn more at Dorchester Arts

Other Venues

Further Parkinson’s Dance Science and SB Elevate Dance for MS classes across Dorset and Hampshire are also delivered at the following venues:

Parkinson’s Dance Science

Sherborne, Sherborne Area Youth & Community Centre, Thursdays, 2pm-3:30pm
Managed by Dorchester Arts
Learn more at Dorchester Arts

Bournemouth, Pavilion Dance, Fridays, 2:30pm-4pm
Managed by Pavilion Dance South West
Learn more at Pavilion Dance South West

New Milton, Forest Arts Centre, Mondays (Time TBC)
Managed by Forest Arts Centre, Hampshire Cultural Trust
Learn more at Forest Arts

Dancing and smiling
Elderly man smiling with daughter.

SB Elevate Dance for Multiple Sclerosis

Sherborne, Scout Hut, Tuesdays, 10:30am-11:45am
Managed by Dorchester Arts
Learn more at Dorchester Arts

New Milton, Forest Arts Centre, Mondays, 5:45pm-7pm
Managed by Forest Arts Centre, Hampshire Cultural Trust
Learn more at Forest Arts

Samantha Gillingham
Dance Artist and Community Practitioner