Dozens of people have gathered in a quiet room at the Camberwell Uniting Church in Melbourne, but they’re not here to pray — they are after a spiritual expression of a different kind.
Each week about 20 come along for a special dance class for those with Parkinson’s disease.
“I think when people first attend there’s this slight feeling of being overwhelming — this is new and different,” dance teacher Paris Wages said.
“But in time, in a few weeks, they get used to it.
“It’s a very warm and welcoming group.”
It’s not known what causes Parkinson’s, but symptoms like tremors usually developed gradually with people diagnosed with the condition in their mid-60s.
Ms Wages is a professional dancer who moved to Australia from the United States five years ago.
She has been trained to deliver the classes and said people with varying degrees of Parkinson’s come along to get something out of it.
“To me the most obvious benefit is the social component,” she said.
“Part of Parkinson’s and the symptoms is depression, and it’s very isolating.
“It’s this inability to create dopamine in the body, which can mean people are subject to down moods.”
For some participants, the classes are a chance to gain some perspective on their condition.
“Sad news, good news, it’s all spelled out here,” Jill Williams said.
While for others, it helps them treat something that medicine cannot.
“It fills me with confidence in terms of movements,” Richard Fletcher said.
“I’ve always been a very confident person and I’ve done a lot of work for others, but this time it’s time for me.”
For Ms Wages, it’s an emotionally fulfilling job.
“You get connected to the people you work with … it’s beautiful,” she said.
“I’ve learnt so much and have gained so much as an artist.”