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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NBC Special Correspondent Chelsea Clinton interviews longtime Dance for PD participant and Brooklyn Parkinson Group member Carroll Neesemann.

Tune in tonight to "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" for a special report (from Chelsea Clinton!) on the Dance for Parkinson's Disease program at Brooklyn's Mark Morris Dance Center. Since 2001, weekly Dance For PD classes have helped people with Parkinson's disease find freedom, confidence and self-expression through dance. Now, those unable to attend classes in person can benefit from the program, thanks to the Dance for PD at Home DVD series. Each volume will mirror the structure of a Dance for PD group class, with students starting in a chair, then having the option to stand as the exercises progress. Viewers will learn tap, ballet, modern and jazz movement exercises, and Mark Morris himself will appear on each disc to teach a few phrases of his own choreography. Info at danceforpd.org

Click here for more from DT on Dance for PD's teacher training courses.

Photo courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

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