PEOPLE living with Parkinson’s are being put through their paces by an English National Ballet dancer.

Stretford residents with the disease are being helped to improve co-ordination and balance through a new ballet therapy initiative.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which causes tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement, as well as falls and dizziness, fatigue, depression and speech and communication problems.

The dance sessions have been shown to help enhance strength, flexibility, balance, optimism and motivation, and can also result in improved cardiovascular function.

Ballet instructor Catherine Chanoux said “Exercise is crucial to the health and wellbeing of people living with Parkinson’s. Movements become stiff and slow, communication can also be difficult. The movements in ballet can activate neural pathways to encourage smoother and better movement patterns, and balance activity helps in preventing falls.”

The ballet sessions are free for people with Parkinson’s and their carers and take place every Friday from 2pm to 3.30pm at St Matthews Church Hall, in Chapel Lane.

They are funded by health and wellbeing provider Benenden.

Penny Cunliffe, chair of the Trafford Branch of Parkinson’s UK, said: “People who live with Parkinson’s often struggle with things most people take for granted, including walking and turning, and may have low self-esteem and lack confidence. It can be so difficult doing something as simple as making a cup of tea.

“That’s why we’re so grateful to Benenden. If it wasn’t for organisations like Benenden helping us improve people’s lives, we wouldn’t be able to pilot new projects like this. This is also a fun way for people to meet new friends, and build their confidence.”

The sessions are drop-in. For more information contact