Why Dance For Parkinsons
David Leventhal and Rachel Bar represent DFPNC founding partners. In this January 2019 webinar they discuss the benefits of dance for people with Parkinsons.
Research on dancing and Parkinsons shows that improvements in balance and gait last long after dance classes end. Dr. DeSouza wants people to know that dancing has many positive benefits. All the other dance classes that take place all over the world show that people feel better theyre happier, its almost like a supplemental therapy that helps them cope with whatever theyre dealing with, he says.
It is for reasons like this that Dr. DeSouza, Parkinson Canada and DFPNC believe that high quality dance programs for people with Parkinsons should be easily accessible anywhere in the country.
Dance may not be something that you or many program participants have had much experience with before finding the network. It doesnt take long for participants to realize just how enjoyable the classes are and how important it is to be able to socialize after class with their fellow dancers.
AB Rustin, a long-time Parkinson Canada volunteer, donor and SuperWalk supporter is an active dancer with Parkinsons. She shares: Its always great to spend time with others with Parkinsons and I feel better after a class. The movements are not as strenuous as in an exercise class. They are much more fluid. And, youve got the wonderful music.
Cancer Doesnt Keep This Seattle Dance Teacher From Her Mission
As she approaches 80, the founder of Ewajo Dance Studio believes dance is the key to health and longevity.
Edna Daigre, 79, leads a Dance for Health class at MLK FAME Community Center in Seattle, WA on March 5, 2022. The class is geared toward seniors of color, and students range in age from 64 to 97. Daigre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in 2015.
Edna Daigre is passionate about dance. She loves everything from the syncopated rhythms of African and Caribbean traditions to the extended arms and pointed feet of classical ballet. You might even call her a true believer, because for Daigre, dance is more than an art form its the single best pathway to good health.
Dance is about lifelong well-being, she says. And the almost 80-year-old Seattleite can point to herself as living proof.
Daigre founded Seattles Ewajo Dance Studio in 1975 and taught there for more than 30 years. In 2015 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. She had thought she was simply anemic, so the news stunned her. But her doctor told her she would probably die of old age before myeloma, and Daigre wasnt ready to start drug treatments or other medical interventions.
For decades, she has set aside time every day to dance, practice Pilates or just take a walk. She credits her daily movement, combined with breathing, strengthening and balance exercises with helping her to manage her cancer without medication.
Longtime student Diane Powers feels the exact opposite.
Port Angelesnorth Olympic Peninsula
Dance for ParkinsonsSecond Friday of every month, 10:00-11:30 amMeets MonthlyDrop-ins welcome, including persons with MS and other neuromuscular conditions.No previous dance experience necessary participants may stand or sit as preferred.$10 per class Carepartners and spouses may attend free of charge.
Lead teacher: Kayla OakesDance styles/techniques/content covered in class: Modeled after Brooklyn program, designed to engage participants minds and bodies through many styles while addressing such PD-specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination and gait.
Sons of Norway, Scandia Hall131 W. 5th StreetPort Angeles, WA 98362
For more information: contact Kayla Oakes by email: or Darlene Jones at 457-5352 or by email: .
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Parkinson Society British Columbia Exercise Recordings
Features thirteen men and women with PD of different ages demonstrating both standard and advanced workout routines with twice-weekly variations. Intro reviews benefits of exercise and keys to success. Exercises were developed by physical therapist expert.
Archived classes from March 2020 to the present include yoga, shadow boxing, multi-tasking/cognition, strength and coordination cardio, bigger and stronger.
Four of the videos posted to the PASF YouTube channel are exercise videos. Each is 25 minutes long. Focus of the videos include strength and mobility, balance skills, seated and mat exercises.
Dancing Helps People With Parkinson’s Disease
Could daily tango classes help people with Parkinsons Disease? A recent article, posted on BioRxiv, shows that in a small group of people, these daily lessons improved their motor symptoms. This paper is not yet peer-reviewed, but the positive effects of dancing for people with Parkinsons Disease have been well-studied by many other researchers as well.
Heather MacTavish, left, with Parkinson’s patient Margaret Moylan, 61, right, and volunteers Jocelyn… Thomas, second right, and Charlie Kisch, leads a dance exercise at the World Parkinson’s Conference, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006, in Washington. Thomas’ mother had Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinsons Disease affects between seven and ten million people worldwide. In this condition, a gradual breakdown of certain cells in the brain causes a lowering of the normal levels of dopamine. The characteristic tremors and slow movement seen in people with Parkinsons Disease are a direct effect of these lower levels of dopamine, and one of the established and successful forms of treatment is the drug L-DOPA, which helps address the dopamine imbalance. But there are other forms of therapy available as well, and one of them is dance.
As a form of movement therapy, dance addresses several of the problems that come with Parkinsons Disease. It provides regular social interaction for people who have this condition, has a positive effect on their mental well-being, and it improves their movement and balance.
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Keep On Moving Exercises To Do At Home
Four short videos designed to be challenging and engaging, including physical amplitude, arms and legs working and thinking together, brain exercise, daily-life moves / dance-like exercise. Repeat them as often as you need to improve your individual outcomes.
Coming soon – breath and voice exercise.
Live Large With Parkinson’s At The Countryside Y
These two 25-minute exercise classes are designed for people with Parkinson’s. The exercises may be done seated or standing, supported by a chair. These videos were created in March/April 2020.
Purchase Info: www.lsvtglobal.com or email
Cost: $28 for DVD or download $15/year streaming
Videos are designed for people with PD to use as an adjunct to LSVT BIG treatment delivered by an LSVT BIG certified clinician. The videos can also be used during the month of therapy and after therapy as a motivation to practice and keep moving. Volume 1 contains standard exercises while standing. Volume 2 contains exercises adapted to seated and supine positions, plus a chapter for caregivers. Available in English, German and Japanese.
Purchase Info: Ohana Pacific Rehab Services, 808-262-1118, online
Cost: $24.50 for DVD $19.50 for book $40 for DVD and book
This program focuses on exercises, flexibility, and pragmatic solutions for walking, moving, falling, and getting up off the floor. Adaptive equipment is reviewed. Demonstrators have PD. Three levels of exercise shown. Designed by a physical therapist.
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Most Read Local Stories
The idea is that dance helps ease the symptoms and some hope might even slow the progression of Parkinsons disease, a disorder of the brain that leads to rigid muscles, shaking, impaired balance and difficulty with walking, movement and coordination.
Its long been accepted that exercise and movement are important for those with Parkinsons. In addition to physical therapy, there are yoga and tai chi groups for people with Parkinsons, for instance.
But the idea of dance as beneficial for those with Parkinsons is fairly new. While there hasnt been much research yet that shows the benefits of dance for those with Parkinsons, one recent study did find that at least one form of dance the tango helps improve balance and mobility in such patients.
Dr. Monique Giroux, medical director of the Booth Gardner Parkinsons Care Center at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland, says that, in many ways, dance is ideal for those with Parkinsons.
Research is showing that exercises that are more creative and engaging may help the brain enhance its nerve connections and improve how the brain works, she said.
But just as important, the dance class is an opportunity for joy, creative expression and socializing an antidote to the depression and isolation that can come with Parkinsons.
The joy is wonderful
A musician, improvising on an electric violin, accompanied throughout.
Program to expand
Parkinson’s On The Move
Thirty-one archived workouts for those with Parkinson’s. Videos are sortable by level of difficulty, area of the body to focus on, and preferred position . Other pages on this website offer free recipes and articles about nutrition and PD.
Also available is the Parkinson’s On The Move Exercise Library. This collection of 58 short videos each focus on stretching or strengthening a specific part of the body.
Suzanne Chen leads 43-minutes of stretch and strengthening exercises for those with Parkinson’s. Equipment to follow along include an elastic band, light weights , a 8-9 inch soft ball , and a stable chair with no arms.
Eight YouTube exercise videos for those with Parkinson’s, including four focused on neuromuscular integration, two total body conditioning and one seated strength. Most videos are about 30 to 45 minutes.
Similar to Rock Steady Boxing in the US, this Australian app is available from Google play or the App Store is designed for early stage Parkinson’s disease. It includes 10 PD Warrior core exercises for free with upgrades and additional bundles available via in app purchases to customize your workout. Each exercise is demonstrated by a physiotherapist.
Recordings of nearly 30 exercise classes that include a warm up, low/medium/high intensity exercises, boxing, dance, and cool down. There are also recordings of choir for PD classes and communications classes.
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About Parkinson’s Disease And Dance For Pd
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed PD each year. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD – symptoms generally develop slowly over years and vary from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease and can include tremor, slowness of movement, limb rigidity, and gait and balance problems.
The Dance for PD program originated at the Dance Center in 2001, and now touches thousands of lives through its network of affiliates in more than 300 communities in 30 countries around the world. Professional teaching artists integrate movement from modern, ballet, tap, folk and social dancing, and choreographic repertory to engage participants’ minds and bodies and create an enjoyable, social environment for artistic exploration. Dance for PD and its affiliate classes allow people with Parkinson’s to experience the joys and benefits of dance while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression, and physical confidence.
Moving For Better Balance
These two instructional videos — part I is 10 minutes and part II is 5 minutes — are taught by a Jamestown New York YMCA staff member using the “Moving for Better Balance” approach, an evidence-based fall prevention program.
This 30-minute video is a personal account by Michael Weiss, a person with Parkinson’s. In it he shares stretches, breathing, and physical exercises he has compiled for himself. Exercise demonstration begins 8-minutes into the video and include toe lifts, leg swing, leg lift, knee circles, hip circles, squats, arm stretches, arm twists, shoulder stretches, chair push-ups, bicycle legs, toe touches, chopping wood, conducting, dancing, and facial exercises.
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Dance For Pd Information
STG Dance for PD® classes use dance, live music, and community in a safe and creative environment to support students in developing artistry and grace while addressing such PD-specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation, and gait. Working with professional dancers and teaching artists trained in the Dance for PD® method, participants are inspired to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, and stimulating. Whether seated or standing, people with Parkinsons disease will enjoy this creative and welcoming class that is open to all abilities and mobility of movement. Live music is used to enhance the positive experience this class brings to participants and all involved. No dance experience or diagnosis of Parkinsons disease is required to participate. The classes are always free.
STG Dance for PD® classes are based on the Dance for PD® method developed by Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group.
Why Dance for PD®?
- Dance is first and foremost a stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body.
- Dance breaks isolation.
- Dance invokes imagery in the service of graceful movement.
- Dance focuses attention on eyes, ears, and touch as tools to assist movement and balance.
- Dance increases awareness of where all parts of the body are in space.
- Dance tells stories.
Treating Parkinsons Disease With Ballroom Dancing
Parkinsons disease is a cruel neurodegenerative disorder that can affect anybody. It impacts the central nervous system and this in turn affects the motor skills of those with the condition. Movement related issues are the first signs of the onset of the condition: these can include slowness of movement, shaking and having trouble walking. Advanced stage symptoms can include cognitive and behavioural problems, whilst various damaging side-effects such as depression, lack of sleep and emotional issues can ensue. Surprisingly little is known about the causes of Parkinsons, or why the dopamine-generating cells in the region of the midbrain die off. Although there is, as yet, no known cure for the disease, there are various treatment options available for patients from drugs through to alternative therapies. One of the most fascinating areas of therapy that has emerged in recent years is treating Parkinsons with dance. Professor of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, Rafi Eldor, suffers from the disease himself and is one of the most passionate advocates for using dance as a form of treatment.
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What People Are Saying About Sharons Class:
Sharon encourages us to see art in ourselves even if we are discouraged physically. She leads us to a place were we can merge mind and body to create something graceful, creative, and joyful.
Karen, dancer with Parkinsons Billings, MT
We have an extremely amazing and magical program here at Westpark Village, Senior Living. I am sharing because I think its so wonderful. This class has changed the life of some of the attendees. They can do more things in their normal life: fall less, feel better about themselves and feel a sense of community. The list goes on and on. Bringing Sharon and Dance for Parkinsons® in to be apart of our programs here at Westpark, has been the highlight of my career!
Melissa Scianna, Director of Public and Resident Relations at Westpark Village, Senior Living, Billings, MT
Sharon, what a great job you did at the Parkinsons Summit. Everyone loved it and it was so fun to watch and see the joy on peoples faces! We so appreciate your participation. Youre amazing!
Dustin Strandell, Colleen Martin, Dept. of Neurology at St. Vincents Healthcare, Billings, MT
Brian Grant Foundation Exercise Videos
Cost: Free for 9 videos $29/month or $290/year for online streaming
The nine free classes include boxing fundamentals, HIIT , chair fit, tai chi, core, yoga, stretching/mobility. The free classes are 13 to 30 minutes. Classes are led by a physical therapist with Parkinsons specific certifications.
Paid classes incorporate PWR! Moves, cognitive dual task training, balance training, intensity training, and flexibility. For subscribers, new 20-25 minute videos are released weekly.
Dance exercise class videos on YouTube. Each is fewer than 10 minutes long. Nearly 30 videos as of October 28, 2020.
Rachelle was featured at the Davis Phinney Foundation Victory Summit Albany in October, 2020. Watch an interview with Rachelle here, and Rachelle’s 25 minute Dance Beyond Parkinson’s Summit presentation here.
Six seated dance exercise class videos on YouTube. Each is about one hour long. All are with the same instructor.
Cost: Free for 16 videos $50 for 100+ videos
Sixteen archived exercise classes are available for free viewing. Classes are designed to increase coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength through music and movement from a broad range of dance styles. 100+ archived classes and additional benefits are available for a $50 membership.
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Re+active Pt Videos For Home Exercising
This is a series of 66 short videos. There are stretches, warm ups, workouts, fitness challenges, tai chi, and tips & tricks videos. The idea is by the time you’ve followed along with one video in each category, you’ve done a whole body workout.
Three short videos include quick chair exercises, exercises for stronger legs and glutes, and exercises for better balance.
Cost: $14.95/month or $135/year after a free one week trial
A growing library of workouts for those with Parkinson’s, including: 5-minute workouts, Undefeated Boxing, Rise & Shine morning blast, exercise ball, Brain & Body Bar, and Parkinsons’ workout with towel and ball.
This collection of pre-recorded exercise videos includes three 20-minute warm up/stretching videos, four 20-minute seated workouts, one 20-minute upper body boxing video, a 9 minute boxing basics video, two one-hour Rock Steady Boxing Winnipeg workouts, two advanced RSBW workouts, and two yoga Parkinson’s workouts.
Important Advocacy Update For The Northwest Parkinson’s Community
Dear Northwest Parkinsons Community,
A historic piece of legislation was introduced July 28, 2022, in the U.S. House of Representatives that holds great promise for the Parkinsons community!
The National Plan to End Parkinsons Act was authored by Representative Paul Tonko and Representative Gus Bilirakis , and this bipartisan bill unites the federal government and the private sector in developing a strategic plan to prevent and cure Parkinsons and ensure those living with the disease have access to the care they need. This is the first legislation of its kind for Parkinsons, and it will help steer the future of research, therapy development, and patient care.
With the House bill introduced, a Senate companion bill is being worked on and will be introduced soon. As is standard congressional procedure, this legislation must pass both chambers of Congress before it can be sent to the President of the United States for his signature.
Northwest Parkinsons Foundation is a member of the Unified Parkinsons Advocacy Council, a collection of nearly 30 Parkinsons organizations that come together to help shape federal and state public policy in ways that support the Parkinsons community. There will be many opportunities for all of us to engage our Members of Congress on this legislation and have conversations about the bill and its intended impact.
You are welcome to contact your Representative to encourage them to co-sponsor this bill.
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