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Our Teachers

Our Teachers

Julie Symmonds

Julie Symmonds

DFPSA Founder and Chief Executive Officer

jjsymmonds36@gmail.com

Julie holds a Bachelor of Music Honours, specialising in Dance from the University of Cape Town. In 2015 she attended the Dance for PD® Introductory Teacher’s Course in New York – the first South African to complete this training – and in February 2016, she presented the very first Dance for Parkinson’s South Africa (DFPSA) class at the Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West. In 2017, she completed the Dance for PD® Advanced Training and Certification Programme – at the time one of only six people in the world to do so – and is qualified to train others in the Dance for PD® methods. Together with fellow ballet teacher Carmen Davidson, they launched the company Dance for Parkinson’s S.A Pty ( Ltd). Whilst still actively involved in DFPSA and available for yearly teacher training, as of 2019, she and her family reside in Scotland where she teaches in the Dance Health and Wellbeing programmes at Scottish Ballet.

Tamryn Pelser

DFPSA Teacher – Cape Town

somacapetown@gmail.com

Tamryn’s movement practice is about the integration of brain, body, and heart to create change in all areas of life. Often, this change is an acceptance and a learning of how to live with a condition or challenge that a person is presented with. A ‘living or dancing with’ Parkinson’s and the iceberg of symptoms and comorbidities related to Parkinson’s disease and other conditions. She is certified in Functional Anatomy Training, Conscious Movement Education, Body Intelligence and Psychology, Dance and Movement training and performance. Tamryn ensures that she remains current and skilled with continued education and training in the field of movement science and brain health. With over 15 years experience, she works closely with other health practitioners, with a focus on maintaining healthy and consistent daily practices for physical and mental wellbeing. Tamryn completed her postgraduate training certificate in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in 2023 at the Institute of Mindfulness South Africa through Stellenbosch University. She truly loves being part of a community of people who choose to move for good health.

Lisl Gruneberg

Lisl Gruneberg

DFPSA Teacher – Cape Town

lislgruneberg@gmail.com

Lisl is a Royal Academy of Dance registered ballet teacher who has been teaching in Cape Town for many years always with the motto “The Joy of Dance”. Whilst researching therapy and rehabilitation classes for children in South Africa, she realised there weren’t many, but had heard about Dance for Parksinon’s South Africa and wondered if she could learn something with us and adapt it for children. Upon training with Julie and the team, she discovered not only the wonderful physical benefits of this programme, but it also brought a whole new meaning to “The Joy of Dance”. Lisl is thrilled to be teaching this amazing programme and spreading the joy of dance wherever she can.

Barbara Bain

Barbara Bain

DFPSA Teacher – Cape Town

barbarabain.restoration@gmail.com

Barbara was born in Zimbabwe where she studied ballet in the Royal Academy of Dance method. She attended university in Cape Town after which she began teaching creative movement to children and adults and has been doing so for 20 years. For the past 5 years, she’s been teaching using the Living Dance International Syllabus. Upon attending a DFPSA class, she says she felt as if she had “come home” and received the training to become a teacher not just because she loves teaching, but because she hopes she’s really helping people in the process.

Kerry Pentz

Kerry Pentz

DFPSA Teacher – Howick, KwaZulu-Natal

penzil@polka.co.za

Kerry is a graphic designer and home educator who, having once done some ballet and ballroom, was always interested in the benefits of music therapy. When her mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014, she wanted to find ways of helping and came across a DFPSA video online. It wasn’t long before she made contact and she’s so loved being a part of this organisation where she’s able to help Parkinson’s sufferers in a creative way.

Christie Emmanuel

Christie Emmanuel

Founder of Dance Movement for Parkinson’s – Harare, Zimbabwe

dm4parkinsons@gmail.com

Christie was born and raised in Zimbabwe where she trained at the Dawn Saunders School of Ballet and completed her examinations in the Cecchetti Ballet Method. She was a member of the National Ballet of Zimbabwe (NBZ) from age 15. When she was 18, she trained at the UCT Ballet School, moving on to London and eventually joining the Vienna Festival Ballet for 3 years. Upon returning home, she continued dancing with the NBZ and retired in 2010 thereafter she continued teaching and choreographing. In 2018, she completed the Introductory Teacher Training course with us and began the Dance Movement for Parkinson’s in Harare. For Christie, the reward is seeing the effect on her students – keeping her soul fed and her passion alive.

Saartjie de Wet

Saartjie de Wet

DFPSA Teacher – Potchefstroom

saartjie.dewet@gmail.com

Saartjie danced throughout her childhood and after school, obtained a BA Degree and Teacher’s Certificate at the then Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. For many years she taught at secondary schools, but also taught ballet. In 1993 she became involved with the Christian Dance Fellowship of South Africa giving her insight into the work being done internationally with socially marginalised groups through the medium of dance. This inspired her to do a course with Dance for Parkinson’s South Africa and thereafter she began teaching classes in Potchefstroom. Saartjie hopes to reach out to neighbouring towns in the coming months to bring the joys of this programme to those living with Parkinson’s.

Marna Bolt

DFPSA Teacher – Pretoria

marna.bolt@lantic.net

Marna has been a registered Royal Academy of Dance teacher for the past 47 years and is also a qualified Pilates instructor (Basi Matt). She has taught gradute students in dance and pilates at the University of Pretoria for 18 years. While looking at branching into new fields, she came across Dance for Parkinsons and immediately knew it was what she wanted to do. Marna has been offering Dance for Parkinsons classes since 2018. She finds it extremely fulfilling to experience the difference Dance for Parkinsons makes in the life of participants. “What a privilege to share my passion for movement with people living with Parkinsons!”

Margot Wood

Margot Wood

DFPSA Teacher – Cape Town

margotmariewood@gmail.com

Margot has been a teaching artist for more than 30 years in Dance and Educational Drama and Theatre. Her dance experience and qualifications are in the fields of Spanish dance, ballroom, Laban movement studies, lessac kinesensics, ballet, modern and tap. She completed her Dance for PD® training at the Mark Morris Dance Centre in NYC in 2018.

Megan Kerschbaumer

Megan Kerschbaumer

DFPSA Teacher – Cape Town

smith.megan.88@gmail.com

Megan began dancing at age 8, training in a variety of styles including modern, ballet, contemporary, African, zazz, hip-hop, and Indian. Fuelled by her passion for understanding the human body, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology at UCT in 2010. Thereafter, she followed her love for dance, music and movement and began training as both a Pilates Mat instructor (with Conscious Movement Education) and a Syllabus Dance teacher (with DanceCor). In 2016 she started her own dance and movement studio – Kerschi Dance Academy. Megan believes that everyone, no matter their ability, should be given the opportunity to learn about their body in movement and enjoy the beauty and freedom of dance. She has continued her training as a teacher and instructor completing courses in Specialised Pregnancy Fitness, Pilates Equipment, Pilates Special Populations, Pilates Conditioning for Athletes and Dancer, Fascial Release, Acro Dance and Dance for Parkinsons. She continues to teach a wide variety of Dance, Movement, Pilates and Fitness classes for all ages and all abilities.

Beverly Acquisto

Beverly Acquisto

DFPSA Teacher – KZN

acquistodance@gmail.com

Beverly is a registered RAD and Cecchetti teacher and AIDT Tap Tap and Modern who recently moved to KZN after running a successful studio for 40 years. In her own words: “I have always followed my passion of teaching with my doors open to all who wish to dance. I specialised in teaching children with barriers to learning. Five years ago I started doing the RAD Silver Swans and then noticed the need for a class for ladies with Parkinson’s and arthritis and I then made contact with David who was so embracing and I then enrolled on the programme which has brought me so much personal fulfilment on my new journey in KZN. I now have a group at Hibiscus Retirement Village.”

Laurette van der Merwe

DFPSA Teacher – Helderberg Basin

laurettesphotography@gmail.com

Laurette was born in Cape Town and moved with her family to the Helderberg Basin when she was 2 years old. She was Ballet trained by Ann Broder in the RAD method from the age of 6 until she was 23. She also received her Provincial Colours in Athletics between the ages of 15 and 18, and for Rhythmic Gymnastics at the ages of 38 and 48 years of age. She also participated in Artistic Gymnastics,  Tap Dancing and all the IDTA Modern Dance Exams , plus she taught  IDTA and Dancecor Modern Dance from 1979, and was a coach and judge for SAGF Rhythmic Gymnastics from 1991. Her passions are dancing and taking care of people, which she did for her four family members. Laurette has been widowed since December 2021. In 2019 Laurette passed her Dance for Parkinson’s Teachers exam and took over the group of dancers from Julie Symmonds and Carmen Davidson in Somerset West, when they both immigrated to Scotland and New Zealand respectively. She taught at various old age and private homes. She now teaches at the Somerset West Baptist Church Hall, corner of Hendrickz and Louw Streets, Land-en-Zeezicht, Somerset West.