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Dance alum Simone Sistarelli chosen for Red Bull Amaphiko UK

Thu 8 Aug 2019

The Popping For Parkinson’s founder will continue to turn symptoms into strengths supported by a global programme which champions social entrepreneurs who are driving positive change

Popping For Parkinson’s is a unique project which delivers popping dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. Inspired by his grandad, Simone Sistarelli came up with the idea as part of his Independent Project in the final year of his Contemporary Dance undergraduate training at Trinity Laban.

Popping is a form of hip-hop dance which comes from California and is based on the contraction and release of muscles to a musical beat. Simone believes the rhythmic movements are particularly beneficial to Parkinson’s sufferers, as mastering popping can teach them how to control their involuntary muscle contractions, a common symptom of the disease.

Due to a deficiency in dopamine production, many sufferers also experience depression and anxiety. By inviting them to reclaim their movements and use them as an expressive and artistic tool, Simone’s classes are helping Parkinson’s sufferers to socialise and rebuild their confidence so that they feel energised and empowered.

What started as a humble weekly class in Wimbledon has become an internationally renowned project which is helping people on a daily basis and moving hip-hop culture forward. And being chosen for the first UK Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is the next step in expanding the positive impact of Popping For Parkinson’s.

Red Bull Amaphiko is a launch pad for grassroots social entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their community. The programme is designed to inspire and give individuals access to the mentorship, practical skills and tools they need to take themselves and their projects to the next level.

Over 10 days, participants will connect and collaborate with some of the leading innovators, entrepreneurs and storytellers in the world before being paired with a one-to-one mentor who will help develop the business, personal and strategic plans that will be brought to life over the following 18 months.

Simone Sistarelli comments –

“I am incredibly happy to have been chosen to be part of the first Red Bull Amaphiko Academy in the UK. This opportunity will allow me to grow as a social entrepreneur and expand my community dance project, Popping For Parkinson's, worldwide.

We will be able to reach Parkinson's patients all around the world and transform them into Popping dance students, turning a negative symptom such as the tremor into a positive starting point of artistic expression.”

Find out more about Sistarelli’s project at the Popping for Parkinsons website

Trinity Laban is supporting creative entrepreneurship with its own Innovation Award, which provides a unique opportunity for final-year undergraduates to access professional development support. The award forms part of Trinity Laban’s strategy to help emerging artists find their voice and innovate in the cultural industries, one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.

Visit our Innovation Award page to learn more.