Participation in the arts is a central part of what makes Canberra a vibrant and creative place. Participation can include being an engaged audience member, a student, a maker, a performer or an arts worker. Participation should be individual and accessible and it should reflect the diverse cultures, heritage, age, gender, abilities, forms, locations and scales of arts practice.
The ACT Government works in partnership with the community and the arts sector to fund, enable and deliver arts activity and programs. It is through these respectful partnerships where genuine engagement with the arts leads to the cultural vibrancy we all value.
In 2013 Parkinson’s ACT and Belconnen Arts Centre collaborated to present the first ever weekly dance program in the ACT specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease. Due to their success, classes are now held at both the Belconnen and Tuggeranong Arts Centres, where participants are led through a carefully planned program of appropriate, enjoyable, engaging and challenging dance activities.
For people with Parkinson's disease, rigorous dance classes led by trained teaching artists are becoming internationally renowned as a beneficial addition to the portfolio of recognised and researched exercise and therapy interventions. By approaching movement as dance students, not as patients, people with Parkinson’s can focus on specific concerns like mobility, balance, rhythm and flexibility in an enjoyable, social and communal environment.
Participants report that the classes boost their confidence levels, transform their attitudes about living with a chronic illness, and help them manage some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Social interaction within the dance class helps to combat social isolation and depression whilst empowering participants with a sense of physical possibility and artistic achievement.
“The classes are a great social outlet and it’s also very important for my Parkinson’s to do as much exercise as possible.” - Class participant