The First Minister watched rehearsals and attended a dance class with Parkinson’s sufferers as she visited Scottish Ballet to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Nicola Sturgeon also announced £65,000 of funding for the company when she visited its headquarters at the Tramway in Glasgow on Friday.
The grant, which is in addition to Scottish Ballet’s core funding for 2019-20, will enable the company to bring a mixed bill programme to New York City as part of a US tour in 2020, and to deliver an exchange project for talented young Scottish dancers in Italy.
During her visit, Ms Sturgeon attended a Dance for Parkinson’s class, a flagship initiative of Scottish Ballet’s dance health programme which is delivered in partnership with Dance Base in seven hubs across the country.
Dance can help people with Parkinson’s physically, mentally and socially, aiding mobility and improving overall feelings of wellbeing.
The success of the programme has led to the development of new initiatives for people living with dementia and multiple sclerosis.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Scottish Ballet is a world-class performing company and I have seen first-hand how impressive they are, not only on stages in Scotland, but internationally too.
“The work they do off-stage is equally inspiring, particularly with regard to the dance classes for people with Parkinson’s, which make a real difference to lives across the country.
“Scottish Ballet has achieved an extraordinary amount in its 50 years, and it certainly has a very bright future ahead.”
During her visit the First Minister watched rehearsals for Scottish Ballet’s second digital season, and the creation of a “Work in a Week”.
This process is being live-streamed daily on Facebook, inviting a global audience into the rehearsal room.
She also watched rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s The Crucible, based on the play by Arthur Miller, which will have its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival before touring Scotland and the USA.
Christopher Hampson, chief executive and artistic director of Scottish Ballet, said: “We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to Scottish Ballet in our 50th anniversary year.
“She has seen first-hand the extraordinary impact of our dance health programme, as well as our work developing young and emerging talent.
“We are extremely grateful for the additional funding which will enable us to continue to represent Scotland on the international stage.”