Dance for Parkinson’s
11th April 2019
In light of World Parkinson’s Day we wanted to draw attention to the work of the Dance for Parkinson’s organisation. Founded in 2001, it was originally formed from a collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. It was created to bring together experts in movement with Parkinson’s sufferers to improve the symptoms of this degenerative disease which most commonly affects motor function. Now the Dance for Parkinson’s programme is wide-reaching with 100 communities and 20 countries worldwide benefitting from this initiative.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects levels of dopamine in the brain and commonly causes movement problems. There are three main symptoms: tremor (shaking), slowness of movement and muscle stiffness. Dance for Parkinson’s has created a programme counteracting these symptoms, and finding ways to improve them through creative exploration and dance to develop improved balance, muscle strength and engagement with the body.
Benefits for class attendees include: improvements in the specific physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, as well as improvements in mental health, from the social aspect of the classes which counter feelings of low mood and isolation and serve to connect communities. University researchers the world over have also studied the programme, which has furthered the scientific understanding of Parkinson’s as a whole.
The cause of Parkinson’s may be largely unknown, but supporting prescribed medication with lifestyle changes and activities that improve physical and mental symptoms as well as wellbeing, such as dance, has been proven to be massively beneficial.
If you would like to be part of the initiative, Rambert dance company offer Dance for Parkinson’s classes each week. They also offer Dance for Dementia classes alongside a host of other community activities. You can find full details here.
(Image via Rambert)