Trainees from Pretoria, East London, Potchefstroom
Trainees from Howick, Durban, Pietermaritzberg, Harare, KZN South Coast & Port Elizabeth
Trainees from Cape Town at the course in December 2018
Dance for PDŽ is a remarkable programme which offers specialised dance classes to people with Parkinson's and their families, friends and care partners. Founded in New York in 2001, the programme is the product of a collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and is now presented in more than 250 communities in 25 countries around the world. Julie Symmonds and Carmen Davidson of Dance for Parkinsons SAŽ have trained in New York under the founders of the programme and are pioneering its spread throughout South Africa.
Julie Symmonds attended the Dance for PDŽ Introductory Course in New York in October 2015. Upon her return, she began the task of spreading the word about this beautiful program through many presentations and demonstrations in Somerset West and Cape Town, radio interviews and newspaper articles. The first South African Dance for Parkinson's class took place in February 2016 with a handful of participants and by December numbers had almost trebled. In January 2017, Carmen Davidson, also a ballet teacher, joined the programme and attended the Dance for PDŽ Introductory Course in New York later in the year. Through a mutual love and passion for dance, this duo has taken Dance for Parkinson's SAŽ to new heights.
Dance for Parkinson's SAŽ is now a registered company presenting 10 classes to more than 100 participants each week across the greater Cape Town area. With classes offered in Somerset West, Pinelands, Fish Hoek, Constantia and Mouille Point, Bergvleit, Blouwberg, Durbanville, Tableview and Hout Bay, the programme is steadily becoming more easily accessible to people with Parkinson's and their families, friends and care partners.
In December 2017, Dance for Parkinson's SAŽ trained five new teachers in the Dance for PDŽ method, thus expanding availability of the programme to Pretoria, Potchefstroom and East London. Another teachers' training course was held in Durban, KZN, in April 2018, and has seen the programme expanding to Durban, Howick, Pietermaritzburg, KZN Lower South Coast, Port Elizabeth and even Harare.
Dance for Parkinson's SAŽ has been featured on national television, Cape Talk Radio, Smile Radio, Helderberg Radio and Heart FM. Our mission is for these classes to be accessible to all those who need it countrywide in every community. Joy, movement, music and hope are our foundations in building a new stage for those with Parkinson's to dance on.