In 2001 the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group began offering dance classes to people with Parkinson’s and today the program and initiative has spread to cities throughout the United States as well as countries abroad.
As Teaching Artist in this program, I co-teach a dance class along with a live accompanist, and we lead people with Parkinson’s (and their partners or caretakers) in using their body as an expressive, active, connected vessel. The classes are celebratory gatherings for us all to come together with the intention to move together.
I currently teach at two locations in Seattle with a rotating schedule of teachers: Garfield Community Center in Seattle’s Central District and the Peter Kirk Community Center in Kirkland. There are other ongoing classes in the area, so be sure to check the Dance for PD website for other options.
About the intention behind Dance for PD:
“The fundamentals of dancing and dance training—things like balance, movement sequencing, rhythm, spatial and aesthetic awareness, and dynamic coordination—seem to address many of the things people with Parkinson’s want to work on to maintain a sense of confidence and grace in their movements. Although participants from all over the world tell us they find elements of the class therapeutic, the primary goal of our program is for people to enjoy dance for dancing’s sake in a group setting—and to explore the range of physical, artistic and creative possibilities that are still very much open to them.”—David Leventhal, Dance for PD founding teacher, Brooklyn, NY
“I am awed by the power of dance to transform and alleviate pain. Despite the steady advance of Parkinson’s, we show up. We move. We laugh. We share our best selves.”—Patricia Needle, Dance for PD participant, Berkeley, CA (Hear more of Patricia’s perspective here.)
“If we can share our love of dance, and we know the benefits of dance and music physically, emotionally and socially – the world becomes much more tolerable and compassionate for all those affected by PD.”—Ingrid Hurlen, Dance for PD trainee and teacher, Seattle, WA
The Dance for PD® approach
The Dance for PD® program is built on one fundamental premise: professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with PD. Dancers know all about stretching and strengthening muscles, and about balance and rhythm. Dancers know about the power of dance to concentrate mind, body and emotion on movement because they use their thoughts, imagination, eyes, ears and touch to control their bodies every day.
Dance for PD in the news: