East London-based dancer Sandra Kruger is using the power of dance to make a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease. Kruger is as a teacher for international organisation Dance for Parkinson’s (Dance for PD).
Classes are held every Wednesday at 3pm at Berea Gardens retirement complex, and as of Monday January 21, another weekly class will be held at Clarendon Primary at 3.30pm.
Kruger first took up dancing in 2006 after she moved to East London to work as a music teacher at Clarendon Primary.
“I only started dancing then with Kati Ansel, doing ballet and contemporary classes. I loved it so much I joined other classes and eventually did my intermediate and grade 8 ballet exams,” she said.
She then decided to join Dance for PD after a visit to Cape Town to see Carmen Davidson, a friend who was also involved in the programme.
“I went down for a visit and took my gran to a class. She doesn’t have Parkinson’s but is just old and loves music and movement,” Kruger said.
“What I saw changed my life. I knew I had to get involved.said Kruger.
“There were a group of people, some who could barely walk properly, able to dance and sing with beautiful music of different styles. There was joy, real community, cognitive brain involvement and physical exercise – all in one!”
She later qualified as a Dance for PD teacher in 2017 and has been teaching since May 2018.
“A Dance for PD class is not a therapy class. It is a dance class. The focus is on joy and belonging. It is a time to forget about sickness and to focus on beautiful music and movements.
“We see definite improvement in things like coordination, balance, gate gait, confidence, and really just a general quality of life,” Kruger said.
Kruger has also asked is also asking for volunteers to act as caretakers to help dancers during the lessons. They will be tasked with helping dancers during the lessons.
“About half the class happens seated. We sit in a circle, focusing on awarenesbecoming aware of special awareness and testing our range of movement and flexibility.During the last part of the class, we move the chairs away and freely move around.
“Everything that we do standing can also be done seated though, and this is where caregivers can help by supporting someone, helping with balance or to make them feel confident if they can hold onto someone,” Kruger said.
The first classes are free and from then on, it’s R50 per class. Spouses or caregivers do not have to pay.
For more information, contact Sandra Kruger on 082-254-0915 or firstname.lastname@example.org