Dancing with Parkinson’s & Technology Experience Day
Last week saw DNA host our first Dancing with Parkinson’s & Technology Experience Day at Colchester University. The day was delivered in partnership with CoDa Dance Company and combined both practical workshops, networking and discussions, along with a good old natter over tea and biscuits, in true DNA style!
The morning began with an opportunity to learn about CoDa’s work within dance and neurology and how they utilise technology to help people reconnect with their bodies. We were shown the interaction between our bodies in the space and their projected visuals, which both mimicked and amplified our movements. Attendees were encouraged to go up and safely explore the technology with different movement patterns, while the rest of us were able to witness them express themselves in their own individual ways.
It was beautiful and extremely moving to watch people’s different experiences; to see them getting lost in the moment, playing with the visual effects and moving their bodies, free of thought about the rest of us observing. I found it interesting to learn about how CoDa incorporate technology into their practice and are working hard to integrate this into the health care system.
We started the afternoon with a typical DNA Dancing with Parkinson’s class, led by our Dance Artist and Programme Manager, Karen Pratt and accompanied by a great soundtrack as always! Special mention also to the addition of our much loved (and specially requested) vocal exercise, ‘The Fruit Song’, led passionately by our Dance Artist and Education Manager, Steph Townsend. All I shall say, is that you will never think of a Guava in the same way again…!
It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and being so creative with their movements. The way Karen expertly led the room enabled everyone to feel at ease and lose our inhibitions. We ended the session with something we often do at the end of a class and passed around a virtual ‘thank you’ – this is always so warming and allows a really special moment to connect with your neighbour after what was a joyous hour.
The day concluded with a networking opportunity and discussion panel, which provided an opportunity for everyone in attendance to contribute their thoughts and feelings about the day and ask any question they may have had. It was wonderful to see both the friendly faces of some of our regular Dancing with Parkinson’s participants and their companions and others who have never taken a class before, coming together to openly share their lived experience.
Having not long joined the DNA team, this gave me meaningful insight into how people feel about the work that we do and how it benefits them not just physically, but mentally and it was a real privilege to have my understanding of Parkinson’s deepened by the very people whom it effects.
I look forward to continuing to spread the joy of dance with DNA in the future!
Photographs courtesy of Mikaela Jade Photography.