Parkinson’s Disease And Dance

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition for which currently there is no cure. Typically occurring in older people (although young onset PD does occur), the condition has a spectrum of symptoms but is most often known for its debilitating effects on movement. People with PD often develop a tremor in arms/legs, become very rigid (especially through their trunk) and stooped in their posture, and lose the ability to move in a voluntary, fluid and balanced way. Basic every day movements like changing position in bed and walking become difficult, and people with PD are more susceptible to falling over (the outcomes of which can be especially disastrous for an older person). Consequently, PD often robs people of their independence and quality of life.

Dance for people with PD

Dance classes for people with PD was an idea pioneered by the Mark Morris Dance Company in New York in 2001. The classes have spread across the world (including to Australia), and are now supported by a growing body of research evidence indicating that dance classes can improve posture, balance and walking in people with PD. Initiated by Parkinson’s South Australia in 2015, there are now several Parkinson’s appropriate dance classes running in Adelaide. Beyond the research evidence however, our dance classes have been a great success simply because the participants enjoy getting together once a week to dance and perhaps have a cup of tea and a chat after.