New dance classes for people with Parkinson’s are being run in Winchcombe – the first of their kind in north Gloucestershire.

The classes are being run by Community Dance Artist Sarah Hartley, who has undergone specialist training with Dance for Parkinson’s UK and People Dancing.

The sessions are open to those with Parkinson’s and their families or carers, and will be friendly, fun and an uplifting, social occasion.

Sarah, is running the classes as part of BeSocial@GL54, she said: “The classes are open to anybody living with Parkinson’s and you can either come on your own, or bring along a family member or carer. No experience is necessary and you go at your own pace.

“Dance can bring a whole host of benefits. It can help improve balance, co-ordination, posture, strength and releases stress and anxiety. Dancing helps us to reconnect with our bodies – a connection that people living with Parkinson’s may feel they have lost. It also makes us feel more upbeat, more positive and gives us a general feeling of well-being.

“During the classes we teach people to think like a dancer and develop skills to perform difficult movements. This can help improve body confidence and help people with Parkinson’s feel more empowered.”

The Dance for Parkinson’s classes will run for 75 minutes, with a further 15 minutes for refreshments and socialising. Live music will be provided by Winchcombe musician John Holmes and there will be a variety of dance styles performed. The classes are designed so that people can stand, or be seated for some, or all of the session.

Sarah said: “This is the first Dance for Parkinson’s class in the Cheltenham and Gloucester area and we are hoping people living with Parkinson’s from around the region will come and join us. It will be a supportive and welcoming environment. As long as you can get to the class – and parking right outside is available – you are welcome to come.”

The full course of seven classes begins on Monday 5th June and runs until 24th July at Abbey Fields Community Centre in Back Lane. It costs £4.50 per session for people with Parkinson’s and is free for their family, carers and friends. The entrance fee includes tea, coffee and biscuits. For more information contact Sarah on 01242 603207 or email her

Dance classes for people with Parkinson’s were pioneered in America and are now expanding across the UK thanks to a series of professional dance networks and groups, including the English National Ballet.
BeSocial@GL54 is part of the Winchcombe Day Care Foundation, a registered charity.

To arrange an interview or photographs with Sarah Hartley, please contact her at BeSocial@GL54 on 01242 603207 on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

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