Research findings released by Queensland Ballet (QB) undertaken by QUT and The University of Queensland (UQ) demonstrate QB’s Dance for Parkinson’s program had positive physical, social, cognitive and emotional benefits for participants affected by Parkinson’s disease (Parkinson’s).
In 2013, QB commenced its pilot Dance for Parkinson’s program offering specialised dance classes to people affected by Parkinson’s. Working with David Leventhal, a founder of the internationally recognised Dance for PD program established in New York, and Brisbane-based specialist and QUT PhD student Erica Rose Jeffrey, QB delivered 30 classes to over 60 participants over nine months at its studios in Brisbane, with support from the John T. Reid Charitable Trust.
The program was accompanied by a research study conducted by experts from QUT’s Creative Industries (Dance) and Health (Movement Neuroscience) faculties and Parkinson’s researchers from The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Health and Behavioural Sciences (Physiotherapy) faculty to analyse the physical and social benefits of the program.
The research study, the first of its kind in Australia, was based on the observation and data collection of 11 volunteer research participants, before, during and after participation in the classes.
The research used a mixed-methods approach and collected qualitative and quantitative data from the program, using interviews, common clinical assessment tools of walking, balance, hand function, quality of life, and laboratory assessment of postural sway and gait.