Making dance and music for people living with neurological conditions
We were delighted Dance Consortia North West research programme supported us to investigate live music and choreography with our dancers living with Parkinson's.
Over 7 weeks we worked with Flowers Tannenbaum and Howard Haigh in Preston and Fleetwood respectively to explore the impact of creative ownership of the choreographic and music-making process for dancers living with Parkinson’s and neurological conditions. We considered how participants could become creators, co-curators, and choreographers. The project asked: How can experienced dance artists develop a relationship with live music to support participants living with Parkinson’s and how to best support a process using our expertise in dance, music and imagery integration?
For the New Voices project, we were directly informed by our interest in exploring a person-centred approach that is artistically driven while maximising health benefits for dancers. In addition, composition and live music designed with - and for - people living with Parkinson’s was introduced to support the dancers and give a new dimension to their dance sessions.
A family member of one participant commented “Live music has really brought mum out of her shell and made her feel more relaxed and able to flow with the dancing.”
A UCLan student involved in the project said: “The project experience has helped me understand a lot more why music is an important soundtrack to everybody's lives, even while they are dancing. Dancing and music tells every story equally, and it was a pleasure to be involved in this project as a musician throughout my time at university."
Hannah Dial (Lead Artist- Fleetwood) “The participants have really grown in confidence; you can see with their movement that they have become happy to go for it. It’s really interesting to see where we can take this and who knows, maybe it can grow into something more than just a weekly class.”
We are actively seeking ways we can continue this aspect of research, deepening our understanding of how live music integration could enhance the benefits of the sessions for our Participants.
ARTISTIC COLLABORATORS: George Adams, Dr Melanie Brierley, Hannah Dial , Helen Gould, Howard Haigh and Flowers Tannenbaum. With UCLan student support from Jonelle Allen, Kole Cook, Paige Douglas, and Chloe Morrisey, This project has been supported by Dance Consortia North West, UCLan Dance and Royal Northern College of Music.