Dance for Parkinsons | Teacher Training 7 & 8 September

Dance for Parkinson's - Jen Cunningham

In collaboration with Dance for PD®, Dance Base and Scottish Ballet are offering an Introductory Training Workshop in the Dance for Parkinson’s methodology. 


Dates: Wednesday 7 September – Thursday 8 September 

Times: 9:30-17:30 each day 

Location: Studio 1, Dance Base 14-16 Grassmarket Edinburgh  


Who is this for? 

  • Dance artists who have an interest in teaching/supporting Dance for Parkinson’s classes, or want to learn more.  
  • Dance artists already teaching/supporting Dance for Parkinson’s classes.



  • Scottish-based artists: free* for 2-day intensive training plus one-year basic membership to Dance for PD® (valued at $45). Refreshments and vegetarian lunch are provided.  
  • Artists based outside of Scotland: £200* for 2-day intensive training plus one-year basic membership to Dance for PD® (valued at $45). Refreshments and vegetarian lunch are provided. 

Please note, for Scottish-based artists the cost of the training is covered by funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, who have generously supported Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland. This funding has enabled Dance Base and Scottish Ballet to build a network of Dance for Parkinson’s classes across Scotland and established a network of teachers and arts organisations to enable this. To find out more about the project, see here. 

*(optional add on) artists can also purchase the Dance for PD® digital media bundle, this includes 1 year membership + access to all 5 instructional videos and music albums for streaming/download (valued at $100, approx. £80). 

Access Costs: Dance Base has a limited budget available to support Scottish-based dance artists to attend this training. This can cover any access requirements (such as BSL interpretation or physical assistance), child-care, and any travel and accommodation costs that are necessary for you to attend the training. Please read more in the FAQs and find the form at the bottom of this page.


The Introductory Training Workshop will take place over two full days and consist of intensive experiential and practical sessions in the studio. Artists will cover training modules focusing on core philosophies and methods, issues related to working with people with Parkinson’s, safety considerations, integration of music as well as a seminar on administrative best practices and considerations. Workshops also include a teaching practicum that provides attendees an opportunity to hone their skills of exercise development and presentation. All artists will participate in a live Dance for Parkinson’s class and work directly with experienced teachers Julie Symmonds and Jen Cunningham, with a special guest appearance (online) from Dance for PD® founding teacher David Leventhal.  

The workshop is structured around the following areas:

  • Introduction and Background
  • Anatomy of a Class - understanding class structure, activity design and teaching approach
  • Demo Class - learn the workings of a class from the inside
  • Practicum - hone your teaching skills within the Dance for Parkinson's context

In addition, reading materials in the form of a training manual will be sent in advance via email no later than 1 week before the start of the workshop. We recommend artists set aside some time to read the materials; there will be no ‘homework’ prior to the workshop, but familiarisation with the training manual is encouraged. 


Indicative schedule (times subject to change) 

Day 1: Wednesday 7 September

Day 2: Thursday 8 September


Arrival & Refreshments


Arrival & Refreshments


Training & Discussions


Training & Discussions


Dance for Parkinson’s Demo Class




Lunch Break


Lunch Break


Training & Discussions


Training & Discussions


Registration process

To take part in this training workshop, artists should meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

PRE-REQUISITE: To take part in the training, you must already have completed the People Dancing/Dance for PD® – Dance for Parkinson’s Online Learning Module. If you have not completed this, but would like to attend the training session, you should sign up and complete the course asap. It will take around 8 hours to complete. Please get in touch with Dance Base if you have questions about this or have concerns about completing it before the workshop.

  1. Complete the online application form HERE. The form asks you for some personal information and some details about your artistic and teaching practice. The deadline for applications is 11:00am on 24 August, but we may close earlier if we have a high level of interest. 
  2. You will receive an email confirming if you have been offered a place on the training workshop.
  3. (For non-Scottish-based artists) You will be sent instructions to pay the training fee.
  4. Reading materials will be sent out in advance, see above.


Workshop Leaders

Julie Symmonds – training leader | Julie is a Dance for PD® certified teacher and has a wealth of experience teaching Dance for Parkinson’s classes. Julie currently leads a numer of Dance for Parkinson's classes across the Scottish network.

Jen Cunningham – training support | Jen Cunningham teaches the Dance for Parkinson's class in Edinburgh and has supported the expansion of Dance for Parkinson’s classes across Scotland, leading classes and mentoring new artists from Inverness to Peebles. Alongside her DfP work, Jen is a dance artist and maker, working with Oceanallover, Chris Devaney and Suzi Cunningham, amongst others.

David Leventhal – guest speaker | David is the Program Director and a founding teacher of the Dance for PD® programme at Mark Morris Dance Centre in Brooklyn, New York. David leads classes for people with Parkinson’s disease around the world and trains other teachers in the Dance for PD® approach. Since 2007, he has trained more than 2,000 teachers in the Dance for PD® approach in 25 cities around the world.



What are the eligibility criteria for this training workshop?

Dance Base and Scottish Ballet are delivering this training workshop in collaboration with Dance for PD®. In order to maintain the quality and founding principles of the Dance for PD® program, we recommend artists that artists have the following experience:

  • Embody documented proficiency in at least one major dance style (ballet, classical Indian, modern, jazz, tap, ballroom, Argentine Tango, flamenco, West African etc.)
  • Have at least 3-5 years’ experience consistently teaching dance in a group setting
  • Demonstrate ability to adapt dance techniques and styles to a special population
  • Demonstrate ability to create original, dynamic sequences of dance movement in several styles
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and patience
  • Demonstrate proficient musicality and sense of rhythm
  • Performing experience is recommended but not essential

We will review each application personally, and we invite you to apply even if your credentials don't exactly match the profile above.


I’ve already done an Introductory Training Workshop (e.g. with People Dancing). Is there any point in me attending this training?

Whilst this training session is suitable for those with no direct experience of Dance for Parkinson's, we are also really encouraging more experienced artists to attend too. We see this as an opportunity for the network to connect and train together, sharing insight, tips and experiences to make us all better at this work. We hope that many artists already engaged with and/or trained in the Dance for PD® methodology will find the content explored and the chance to connect with other artists a beneficial experience.


How many artists will take place in the training workshop?

We have a capacity limit of 20 participants.


What if I can only attend part of the two-day intensive?

The training workshop will be delivered as an Introductory Training Workshop from Dance for PD®, which covers a breadth of information related to Parkinson’s as a condition and the principles and approach to teaching the Dance for PD® method over the course of two days. We encourage artists to attend both days if at all possible to gain full benefit from the intensive.


Artists that has already undertaken practical training (in addition to the People Dancing module) may attend on a part-time basis if full attendance is not possible. However, artists with no direct experience of delivering Dance for Parkinson’s must attend the full 2-day workshop. Please note that part attendance will not include access to access to one-year basic membership to Dance for PD®.


I am a volunteer for Dance for Parkinson's interested in learning more, can I attend?

We will ring-fence spaces for dance artists that are already leading or are interested in leading Dance for Parkinson's classes. If there are enough spaces available, we will be able to offer spaces on the workshop to volunteers. Please contact Dance Base if you are interested in taking part in the workshop from a volunteer perspective.


I am a musician interested in learning more about Dance for Parkinson's, can I attend?

We will ring-fence spaces for dance artists that are already leading or are interested in leading Dance for Parkinson's classes. If there are enough spaces available, we will be able to offer spaces on the workshop to musicians. Please contact Dance Base if you are interested in taking part in the workshop from a musician perspective.


Why is the fee different for Scottish-based artists and artists based outside of Scotland?

The Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland programme is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and other generous funders, to support Dance for Parkinson's classes across Scotland. This money supports the classes, training and infrastructure of the work that happens in Scotland. We do not have funding to support artists based outwith Scotland, but we gladly welcome these artists to take up this opportunity and join the training session if they are able to pay the full workshop fee.


How do Scottish-based artists request access cost reimbursement? 

  • Scottish-based artists should download the access cost form at the bottom of this page, complete and email to
  • Dance Base will process access cost forms and inform artists if their request has been approved after the application deadline. We hope to be able to cover all costs requested, but in the case that requests exceed our access budget, we may offer a percentage of requests.  


Please don't hesitate to contact Emili Åström if you have any further questions.

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Download the access cost form here:

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