Sometimes, coping with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can be a dance where older adults and their family caregivers learn to adapt to ever-changing PD symptoms while juggling new routines and finessing daily living skills. However, most families don’t associate PD with dancing.
Dance for PD® is a Brooklyn-based program where professionally-trained dancers guide participants through specific dance routines that stretch and strengthen muscles, while incorporating balance and rhythm. The instructors use their dance training to teach dance participants to focus mind, body and emotion on their movement while tuning into other senses.
The artistic instructors integrate movement from modern and theater dance, ballet, folk dance, tap, improvisation, and choreographic repertory. Dance for PD® organizers say the classes use narrative, imagery, live music and community to develop dancers while addressing PD-specific issues such as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation and depression.
The classes offer a comfortable environment that allows professional dancers to work with students in creativity with movement that allows them to accommodate their PD restrictions. Dance for PD® participants and organizers state that:
- dancing motivates dancers to increase their stamina and abilities by increasing movement and other elements to their routines.
- dance classes have been the open door for developing PD-oriented communities and support networks.
- dance classes have brought caregivers together in a supportive environment.
The program’s website shares that the Dance for PD® teaching approach includes:
- a class that welcomes participants of all abilities.
- family, friends and caregivers in the class.
- a focus on the art, technique, and fun of dancing.
- a shift of focus away from Parkinson’s and is not therapy.
- a focus on the participants range of physical and creative possibilities.
The program emphasizes the combined benefits of movement, dance and music while creating a community of trained professionals, Parkinson’s patients and their caregiving team. For more information about Dance for PD®, please visit this website. If there is not a class in your area, instructional DVDs can be purchased online.