Dance for Parkinson's Disease

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Photo by Richard Finkelstein

James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance, in partnership with JMU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), School of Music, and Center for Inclusive Music Engagement, continues to offer weekly Dance for Parkinson’s classes.  Due to COVID-19, the program shifted to on-line Zoom classes in April of 2019.  During the pandemic, online Dance for PD classes allow persons with Parkinson’s to keep moving and be part of a supportive community.

Classes are based on the Dance for PD® approach developed by the Brooklyn-based Mark Morris Dance Group. Dance for PD® programs serve 250 communities in 25 countries. A number of leading neurologists and movement disorder specialists around the world include Dance for PD® classes as recommended activities for their patients.

The activities allow participants to experience the joys and benefits of movement and music while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression and physical confidence.  Classes engage participants’ minds and bodies in an enjoyable, safe format and are open to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and care partners.

JMU dance professor emerita Kate Trammell, who earned a Wertheimer Fellowship to pursue certification in Dance for PD®, leads the classes. STAD Music Director Toby Twining provides live music in a wide variety of genres. JMU dance majors, music majors, and occupational therapy students serve as program assistants. In Spring of 2020, a group of the student volunteers were awarded fellowships from JMU’s Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship to pursue Dance for Parkinson’s Disease training through the Mark Morris Dance Group, with additional financial support from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

Classes are held from 10:30-11:45 AM each Saturday. The program is free to participants, but registration and completion of an assumption of risk form is required.

New participants: please click here to register. 

Assumption of Risk Form- Click Here

For further information about the classes, contact Kate Trammell at trammekx@jmu.edu.

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