Jockey Club Dance Well Project is a creative movement programme designed to include those with Parkinson's disease and people of different ages and abilities through regular dance classes and activities in artistic spaces.
Initiated by the School of Dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, we believe dance can make meaningful contributions to society, life, and the human condition. This three-year project is funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and is modelled after the Dance Well initiative introduced by the Municipality of Bassano del Grappa, Italy and the Centro per la Scena Contemporanea in 2013. The practice has since been extended to other Italian cities and adopted by Tokyo, Kyoto and Kanazawa cities in Japan. We introduce this approach to Hong Kong and invite local dance artists for collaborations to bring an inclusive dance experience to the Hong Kong public.
The World Health Organisation Report in 2019 included the Dance Well approach to promote psycho-physical well-being, complemented with conventional rehabilitation to creatively address the symptom-specific concerns of people with Parkinson’s disease.
We believe that everyone is an inborn dancer who can find much happiness and hopes in freely moving our bodies.
Dance Well is an artistic practice. We highlight the creative dimensions such as self-awareness, self-discovery, creative expression and co-creation – all about exploring our body and soul. It also features rehabilitation strategies including aerobic exercise, motor imagination, cueing techniques, proprioceptive and sensory-motor training, through dance. The dance classes, taking place in artistic spaces, also engage the participants in an inspiring and inclusive environment, which makes Dance Well so different from conventional practices for people with Parkinson’s in gyms or medical settings.
People who join the Dance Well classes may benefit from various aspects: improve the sense of rhythm, balance and movement; find new forms of creative expression and aspirations; feel empowered; enjoy a better quality of life; open up interpersonal relationships in combating the isolation that often accompanies Parkinson's disease.
The project, not only brings about cross-sector partnership among arts, social welfare and health sectors, but also aims at creating a local inclusive dance and movement model for Parkinson’s disease for sustainability and recognition of its importance in Hong Kong and beyond.
An international advisory committee is made up of overseas and local members of accomplished and respectable practitioners in dance education, research, healthcare and community domains, providing useful guidance and expertise suggestions on project development & quality assurance, train-the-trainer programme and impact study research.
Mr Roberto Casarotto is a dance activist and the initiator of Dance Well. In 2006-2022 he has been responsible for the dance projects and programmes for the Centro per la Scena Contemporanea di Bassano del Grappa and Operaestate Festival Veneto, and has introduced several international initiatives aiming at developing the culture of dance, supporting artists' development and the engagement of citizens. He is, with Elisabetta Bisaro, Co-director of Aerowaves, and has been in dialogue and collaboration with many artists, institutions and organisations in Asia, America and South Africa over the last 15 years.
Prof Anna CY Chan has over thirty years of experience in the dance field as a performer, arts educator, producer, curator and administrator, and is currently Dean of the School of Dance at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She was the inaugural Head of Dance at the West Kowloon Cultural District in 2014-2018, served as a dance consultant in 2018-2019 and as a co-opted member of the Performing Arts Committee under the Board of WKCDA from 2021 to the present. In 2007, she established the Performing Arts Education Centre at HKAPA and curated many successful and award-winning community engagement projects by bringing thousands of school children to the Academy to learn about and participate in performing arts. She was awarded Hong Kong Dance Award in 2004, City Contemporary Dance Laureate in 2016 and the prestigious Hong Kong Dance Award for Distinguished Achievement in recognition for her indefatigable work in dance education, promotion of Hong Kong dance and innovations in ways to create, present and sustain dance in 2018.
Prof Chan Hon-wai, Felix is a specialist in Geriatric Medicine and Honorary Clinical Professor of the University of Hong Kong. He was Division Chief of Geriatrics of the University Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, and has been awarded Outstanding Staff of the Hospital Authority in 2020. Prof Chan has pioneered community geriatric services, end-of-life care, ortho-geriatrics and implemented collaboration programmes with NGOs in promoting ageing-in-place and healthy ageing. He has served as President of the Hong Kong Geriatrics Society.
Prof Sara Houston is Professor of Dance and Community Engagement of the School of Arts at University of Roehampton. Her pioneering research into the experience of dancing with Parkinson's won her the BUPA Foundation Prize in 2011. She was Finalist in the National Public Engagement Awards for her work in engaging the general public with the research and has collaborated extensively with Parkinson's dance programmes and artists around the world. Prof Houston's book, Dancing with Parkinson's, was published in 2019 by Intellect Books.
Ms Kumi Shimokura is Curator of Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. She has worked at several private and public art institutions and museums as an exhibition producer and art educator, and since 2007, she started working for Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, an institution managing 12 cultural facilities in Tokyo, as an art curator organising art exhibitions and interactive learning programmes. In 2019 she started Dance Well as an exhibition-related programme at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. She is currently working to promote and practise Dance Well in Japan with Dance Well Ishikawa and Mizunoki Museum of Art Kameoka (Kyoto).
Prof Wong Ka-sing, Lawrence obtained his bachelor's and doctorate degrees at the University of New South Wales and is now Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Division of Neurology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He had served as Secretary of the World Stroke Organisation (Geneva) and as Deputy Editor of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (British Medical Journal) and Stroke (American Heart Association), being the first Chinese to be appointed in each of these positions. He has pioneered many international research projects on neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He received many international and national awards including the President Award from the World Stroke Organisation, Croucher Senior Medical Fellowship, Bruce Schoenberg Award from the American Academy of Neurology, the Chapter of Neurologist Gold Medal from the Singapore Academy of Medicine, National Science & Technology Award and First Prize on Scientific Output from the Ministry of Health (PRC).
Prof Daniele Volpe is Adjunct Professor of Neurology at Grossman School of Medicine NYU and Director of the Fresco Parkinson Institute Foundation in Florence (Italy). He is also Director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Fresco Parkinson Centre at Villa Margherita S. Stefano Rehabilitation in Vicenza (Italy). As a geriatrician and physiatrist, his research interests are focused on integrated and comprehensive models of care and he developed in his Centre a programme based on multidisciplinary intensive rehabilitation treatment. For many years he worked as a quality system manager in healthcare services, facilitator, and expert in the accreditation of excellence rehabilitation medicine with national and international organisations such as CARF. In the last 20 years, he worked on the rehabilitation of movement disorders in particular on innovative interventions for axial disorders and complementary interventions in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Our sincere thanks to the below organisations for their contributions and participations in our project.