Dancing with Parkinson’s

Program director David Leventhal (right) dances with a Dance for PD participant.

It’s official—research confirms that dance is highly beneficial for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Twelve participants completed two 75-minute dance classes a week for eight weeks. None had tried dance before. By the study’s end, they showed improvement in overall movement, walking ability and tremor severity. Participants also expressed feeling more confident and positive about their quality of life.

Dance for PD participants enjoy a class at Mark Morris Dance Center.

Created by the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance for Parkinson’s Disease is a program now available in more than a hundred communities worldwide. Participants have access to dance classes, regardless of the stage of their disease. Danceforparkinsons.org

Photos (from top): by Katsuyoshi Tanaka, by Eddie Marritz, both courtesy of Dance for Parkinson's Disease

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As we wade through a global pandemic that has threatened the financial livelihood of live performance, dancers and dance educators are faced with questions of sustainability.

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Cynthia Oliver in her office. Photo by Natalie Fiol

When it comes to Cynthia Oliver's classes, you always bring your A game. (As her student for the last two and a half years in the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I feel uniquely equipped to make this statement.) You never skip the reading she assigns; you turn in not your first draft but your third or fourth for her end-of-semester research paper; and you always do the final combination of her technique class full-out, even if you're exhausted.

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Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the living legends of our field—from Martha Graham to Misty Copeland to Alvin Ailey to Gene Kelly.

This year is no different. But for the first time ever, the Dance Magazine Awards will be presented virtually—which is good news for aspiring dancers (and their teachers!) everywhere. (Plus, there's a special student rate of $25.)

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