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  • Celebrating-Our-New-Parkinsons-Dance-Class-In-Langport

Celebrating our New Parkinson’s Dance class in Langport

Celebrating our New Parkinson’s Dance class in Langport
posted 10 Apr 2024

In January 2024, our new Parkinson’s Dance class launched in Langport and is proving to be a huge success!

We are thrilled to announce that due to the success of the first 10 weeks of our Parkinson’s Dance classes, we will be continuing to offer these specialist classes beyond April and into the future, providing more opportunities for people living with Parkinson’s to move, connect and enjoy the transformative benefits that dance can offer. 

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition. Around 153,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK and it is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. Research has consistently shown that dancing can have a positive impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson's. With this in mind, the Octagon & Westlands are working in partnership with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, with the support of Parkinson’s UK, to deliver Parkinson’s Dance; a fun and creative movement-based class designed specifically to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Our Parkinson’s Dance sessions are co-taught by experienced specialists Samantha Gillingham and Carrie Madgwick, using the successful Parkinson's Dance Science approach that was co-founded by Neuro-physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and dance artist Aimee Hobbs, with support from Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW). These Parkinson Dance Science classes are specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s, combining creative dance, research evidence and physiotherapeutic effect.


Classes feature a variety of dance styles in an uplifting and social environment, focusing on: posture, strength, coordination, balance, creativity, suppleness and most of all, fun! Participants are supported throughout with seated and standing options, plus time to chat, connect and socialise over a free cup of tea or coffee at the end of every session.

From January to March 2024, we ran a pilot project of 10 weeks to ascertain the appetite and need for this project in this location – the first time Parkinson’s Dance Science has come to Somerset.


The 10 week pilot was a huge success, and we were overjoyed by the numbers of participants who took part in this pilot project. 23 participants in total (14 people with Parkinson’s and 9 carers / partners) regularly attended the sessions. 100% reported that this pilot project had a positive impact on their lives and helped them to better manage their health and wellbeing.

Participants who regularly attended our sessions noticed improvements in confidence, mobility and co-ordination, as well as improvements in mood and wellbeing. A wonderful, supportive community built within the group, as a sense of belonging and new friendships formed, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.

This project has already achieved multiple outcomes, as it supports and helps participants’ physical, mental and social health & wellbeing to flourish, reducing pressure on local health care professionals and health systems. It is creating a legacy of peer support, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness and provide carers with the opportunity for respite or to do something positive with their partner / person they are caring for. It is also providing volunteering opportunities as well as improving access to the arts and culture. 

Participants have said:

  • “Since attending this project I’ve noticed my husband’s mood has been uplifted, we look forward to these classes, he is happier and I’ve noticed an improvement in his mobility and anxiety.” – Carer
  • “After class my legs felt more springy and I could lift my feet more easily” – Person with Parkinson’s
  • “The benefits from joining these classes goes beyond the benefits of doing the exercise regularly and keep flexible. Mental wellbeing is boosted particularly by participating with a group of other with Parkinson’s. The social content and importance of the sessions should not be undervalued.” – Carer of person with Parkinson’s, and Parkinsons Branch Manager. 

A Healthcare Professional who recently visited a session, said ‘This project is providing a unique, much needed specialist activity for local people living with Parkinson’s. I can clearly see the positive impact it is having already on my patients, and I will be sharing this wonderful opportunity with more of my patients. We are lucky to have this in Somerset.’

This project has been made possible thanks to The Octagon Theatre becoming an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and being awarded an investment of £760,000 to support arts and cultural activities in Somerset over the next three years. Becoming an NPO enables more opportunities for communities to watch, take part and benefit from arts and cultural activities, including a programme of education, community and health and wellbeing projects such as Parkinson’s Dance.


If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from joining our Parkinson’s Dance session, please click here for more info visit our Parkinson's Dance webpage or email carrie.madgwick@somerset.gov.uk.

Parkinson’s Dance

When: Mondays 10am - 11.30am 
Where: Ridgway Hall, Staceys Court, Bow Street, Langport, TA10 9PQ 

Summer Term: 22 April – 8 July (no sessions on 6 May, 27 May)

£4 suggested donation per week
Spaces are limited so advanced booking is advised      

Free Parking. Step-free access. A carer / partner / friend is welcome to attend with you for free.