Dancing with Parkinson's

A dance group with a difference has started in Invercargill.

Ballroom dancer and instructor Jackie Neumann has started up a series of dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. People with Parkinson’s often struggled with stiffness and mobility issues, Neuman said. “Dancing helps lessen stiffness and makes moving less rigid.”
The free half-hour classes are tailored to each person’s needs with options of different levels available, Neumann said.

Neumann’s classes included Latin-based dancing, waltzes and she hoped would also progress to include some old-time dancing steps. Most people with Parkinson’s in Invercargill were from the older generation, so she based her classes on dances that would have been common in dance halls in the 40’s and 50’s.

Margaret McDowell, 78, was Neumann’s first pupil. A dancer back in the day, being able to dance again now was freeing, she said. “I used to do highland dancing, waltzes and gypsy tap.” There were a lot of people with Parkinson’s in Invercargill, McDowell said. “This could help a lot of people not just with dancing but with friendship.”

Dancing for people with Parkinson’s runs from 3.30pm to 4pm at Saint Andrew’s Church Hall every Monday.

Abridged, taken from an article by Joanna Griffiths - The Eye, June 1 2017