Popping For Parkinson’s
1904. Simone Sistarelli
Simone Sistarelli, a London-based Italian, is a dance artist who created ‘Popping for Parkinson’s’ to bring the benefits of Hip Hop dancing to people living with Parkinson’s Disease, teaching classes twice a week across London.
Inspired by his own grandfather, who kept moving as much as possible while he had Parkinson’s Disease, Simone studied how dance therapy can benefit those with the condition, with the beat and rhythm of hip hop in particular being conducive to the movement of people with Parkinson’s. Starting in 2015, Simone’s classes have now benefited over 5,000 people to date, including running online sessions for hundreds of people during and following the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a personal letter to Simone, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to learn of ‘Popping for Parkinson’s’ and how you are bringing the joy of dance to people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Your fantastic classes have brought over 5,000 people across London together to enjoy the music and dance that you love. Inspired by your Grandfather, your therapy classes have given confidence to those who might otherwise feel isolated. It is a wonderful tribute to him.”
“I am honoured to be a recipient of the Points of Light Award. Starting ‘Popping For Parkinson’s’ in early 2015 allowed me to support thousands of people with Parkinson’s through the art of dancing, sharing Hip Hop values and offering an innovative tool for people dealing with an incurable disease. Since the very first dance class, even throughout the pandemic, we have not stopped dancing! I am grateful to be surrounded by an amazing support network that shares the values and goals of the project, from SLYPN to funders such as the National Lottery and The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. None of the work would have been possible without them. Transforming Parkinson’s patients into Popping dance students is our mission, and this award allows us to reach even more people and to keep transforming symptoms into superpowers.”