An Italian doctor’s meeting with Irish set dancing has led to an usual and less conventional form of therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease.....
During one of his regular visits to County Clare to play with his traditional Irish music band Dr Daniele Volpe watched as a man he recognised as a Parkinson’s disease sufferer walked in.
Dr Volpe later watched in astonishment as the man who earlier had struggled to walk, took part in the festivities and set danced without any difficulty.
Following that night, Dr Volpe, who works in developing physiotherapy for people with Parkinson’s disease, took it upon himself to learn about the reel step and conducted a study which amazingly found Irish dancing does indeed have positive effects for Parkinson’s disease sufferers.
But the benefits of immersing yourself in traditional Irish culture are not just for Parkinson’s disease sufferers.
The therapeutic effects of having fun, learning something new and making friends along the way can be felt by everyone and where else would you test this other than Ireland?
This August Dr Volpe and his team of musicians and dancers will collaborate with one of many traditional Irish and dance music festivals to be held in Ireland this year.
The Feakle International Festival of Traditional Irish Music in County Clare is a five day celebration of traditional Irish music and dance. Here you can learn how to set dance with the set dancing workshops and see the benefits for yourself.
Then when you think you’ve got the hang of it, put your new skills to the test in the evenings at a good traditional ceilí. The festival will also features a very special performance by Dr Volpe’s Parkinson’s disease sufferers.
Don’t stop at Feakle once you’ve mastered the art of set dancing.
Visit County Clare for the Armada Set Dancing Week and dance every night away at a ceilí or relax at a traditional Irish music session.
This year the All Ireland Fleadh, a celebration of all that is wonderful about tradition Irish music, dance and culture, takes place in the historic 2013 City of Culture: Derry City/Londonderry.
Here you can witness the Irish dancing stars and musicians of the future come from all over the world to compete in competitions and you can take part in the less competitive sessions in the evenings.
There’s also the Munster Fleadh which takes place in the University of Limerick, where later this year students here will study Dr Volpe’s findings. As well as the usual music and dancing, the fleadh will feature a lecture series on local history and Irish music and a music trail around the area.
Dr Volpe’s discovery is already being put to good use, with set dancing groups for Parkinson’s disease sufferers being set up all over the world.
But if you really want to experience set dancing and traditional Irish music at it’s best, Ireland is the only place to try it out.