Mark Morris Dance Group Helps People With Parkinson’s Disease Experience The Joy Of Dance

March 08, 2018
The Mark Morris Dance Group offers classes to people with Parkinson’s disease in 100 communities around the world, including right here in Champaign-Urbana.

The Mark Morris Dance Group offers classes to people with Parkinson’s disease in 100 communities around the world, including in Champaign-Urbana.

Amber Star Merkens/Mark Morris Dance Group

The Mark Morris Dance Group offers classes to people with Parkinson’s disease in 100 communities around the world, including right here in Champaign-Urbana.

The idea behind the Dance for Parkinson's Disease program is to allow people with Parkinson’s to experience the joys and benefits of dance.

“We’re really looking at an artistic approach to movement and bringing people with Parkinson’s into the world of dance and dance training," said David Leventhal, Dance for Parkinson’s program director. He says in addition to being a fun experience, the classes may even provide health benefits.

"There are actually now 38 peer-reviewed, published studies on the impact of dance on people with Parkinson’s," he said, which suggest dance can help Parkinson's patients experience improvements in mobility, balance, mood and self-esteem.

But the primary goal of the program, he said, is to create a sense of community through high-quality dance and music.

“We’re really focusing on the issues that artists face," Leventhal said. For example, "how to make decisions about movement, how to use different qualities of movement, how to use music in the service of movement, and how to use imagination.”

The classes are open to anyone with Parkinson’s, their families, and their caretakers. All skills levels are welcome.

Hear the full interview with Leventhal on SoundCloud:

In addition to the class for people with Parkinson's disease taking place Friday, March 9 at 10 a.m., the Mark Morris Dance Group will several community events, including fitness classes to encourage wellness at all ages. Classes take place year-round, hosted by the Krannert Center.

The Mark Morris Dance Group will also be performing Thursday and Friday night at Krannert.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman.

Story source: WILL