Dance for Parkinson’s Disease
(part of our new Dance Wellness Series)
Launched as a partnership between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, this program offers internationally acclaimed dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease in more than 250 communities and 24 countries. For these two events, join local Dance for PD certified instructor Lucy Bowen McCauley for a free workshop where participants are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative. Free, pre-registration is required.
To register for the February 15 class click here. Registration will be available until Friday, February 14 at 3 p.m.
For questions, please email EducationDance@kennedy-center.org
I use a wheelchair or walker. Can I participate in class?
Absolutely! Our teaching artists are specially trained to include people at all levels of ability and mobility, including individuals using wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistive devices. We invite you to participate in any way that is available to you in the moment, and our teachers will help translate material so that it is accessible and enjoyable.
May I come to class alone, or do I have to come with someone who dances with me?
Many persons with PD come by themselves. However, you are invited to ask a spouse/partner, friend, or family member to participate in class with you if you feel that would make your experience more enjoyable. Often, participants in the class help one another, holding hands, for instance, while dancing across the floor. Many Dance for PD® classes also engage volunteers and assistants from the community to provide extra hands and eyes. In a Dance for PD® class, everyone is attentive and everyone helps to the extent they can. The connections made between and among persons in a Dance for PD® class is often noted as one of many reasons persons like the classes and gain a positive feeling from them. Please be sure to register for the total number in your party when you sign up for class.
How do I know if the teachers are qualified to work with people like me?
Dance for PD® classes offered in tandem with Mark Morris Dance Group performance residencies are led by specially trained teaching artists from the performing company. These artists have extensive training and experience leading Dance for PD classes and participate in on-going professional development to strengthen their skills. They have all completed a minimum of 30 hours of specialized training in addition to any general teacher training they’ve had as part of their dance education.
Do I need my doctor’s permission to take this class?
No permission is required. However, Dance for PD classes do qualify as physical exercise. If you have specific concerns related to physical exertion, please check in with your physician before you participate.
What do doctors think about the class?
Based on positive anecdotal evidence from their patients and scientific data from more than 38 peer-reviewed research studies on the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson's, many neurologists around the world now regularly refer their patients to Dance for PD classes.
I’ve never danced before. Is this class for me?
If you would have never danced before and want to try, a Dance for PD® class is for you. There are no requirements whatsoever to join a Dance for PD® class, only the desire to dance. Persons dance with walkers, with wheelchairs, and on their own in Dance for PD® classes. Often to everyone’s surprise, including the person in a wheelchair, he or she stands up and dances, with or without assistance.
What if I get tired during the class?
Chairs should always be available for persons. If someone gets tired, a dance leader, assistant, or caregiver brings over a chair, or the person who is tired walks to one nearby with someone to assist if need be.
I have trouble with my balance. How does the class adapt to people who have this challenge?
Dance for PD leaders remind everyone in class that they should adapt anything in the class that seems too challenging. Caregivers and aides of persons with balance problems dance nearby to help if need be, by holding hands, bringing over a walker, helping someone to sit down. Dance leaders and their assistants in class get to know the students in their classes so that they can anticipate those who might need extra help with balance and offer help. Participants with balance problems who want to work at the barre may feel more comfortable dancing in-between two pieces of equipment so that they hold on to each barre with one hand. Or a chair might be the solution. Everyone pays attention to helping persons with balance problems do what they feel comfortable with, in a safe manner.
How do you get persons with PD to dance? I can’t imagine that.
Dance is one of the most enjoyable of human activities. Persons with PD dance because it feels good. It’s fun. Initiating and sustaining sequences of movement does become much more difficult with PD. Persons with PD often discover ways that help them move, such as walking close to another person to feel or “catch” their pace, stepping over lines on the floor to start moving, listening to a rhythm while
moving or thinking about a movement before and during the movement sequence. These same techniques enable persons with PD to dance. In fact, dancing is often easier for persons with PD than everyday movements. Very similar techniques enable dancers professionally trained in ballet and
modern dance to perform movements that are very difficult to learn and execute. In Dance for PD® classes, persons with PD dance together with their dance leaders, using all these techniques.
Can I just come and watch the class?
To respect the intimate, communal environment of the class, everyone in the room is asked to participate in the experience. We do not allow observers.
I’d like more information about Dance for PD. Can you direct me to a website or phone number?
Please check out the Dance for PD program website at www.danceforpd.org or call their toll-free hotline
Terms and Conditions
All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.
All ticket prices are subject to change based on demand. Purchase early to lock in prices and the best seats!