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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Ballet Academy East in New York City has announced the addition of a Dance for PD class on Friday mornings at 11. Classes are offered at no charge and open to people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as their family, friends and caregivers.

Students will learn movement from modern, ballet, tap, folk and social dancing, plus some Mark Morris repertory. The experience encourages artistic expression and is designed to get Parkinson’s sufferers moving like dancers to live music, instead of thinking of themselves as patients in therapy.

Dance for PD was developed in 2001 by Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Since then, the program has grown to reach over 30 states and 12 countries.

The program holds regular teacher training workshops around the world. Take a look at the upcoming sessions, and visit danceforparkinsons.org for more information or to apply.

Melbourne, Victoria (Australia): September 14–15, 2014

Brooklyn, NY: October 29–30, 2014

Nashville, TN: March 13–14, 2015

Phoenix, AZ: March 20–21, 2015

Photo: Instructor Krissy Richmond leads a Dance for PD class at Houston Ballet; by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy of Houston Ballet

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