'I’m smiling because it’s lovely': Exploring Scottish Ballet's Dance for Multiple Sclerosis Programme
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord affecting physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. There are over 11,000 people living with MS in Scotland, making MS more common in Scotland than most other countries in the world. Orkney has been cited as having the highest prevalence worldwide. In 2019, Scottish Ballet launched a pilot programme, 'Elevate', working with dancers with MS. The research commissioned had the dual aim of exploring a) the model of best practice being developed by the Company and b) the impact of participating, as reported by the dancers, with an especial focus on gait, balance, and fatigue - key symptoms of MS. Mixed methods, including validated measures, interviews, and observations were employed to explore the impact of this ten week pilot programme. In contrast to the burgeoning literature on Dance for Parkinson's, which is increasingly dancer and dance centred in approach, Dance for MS research (and programmes) are extremely limited, making for a timely and important study.
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