Dance for PD®, founded in New York in 2001, offers specialized dance classes to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and care partners in eight locations around New York City and through a network of affiliates in more than 250 communities in 25 countries around the world. The programme is the product of a collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Dance for PD 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.
The program’s fundamental working principle is that professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge about balance, sequencing, rhythm and aesthetic awareness is useful to persons with PD. In class, 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 has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Dance Magazine, The Guardian and hundreds of other publications, as well as on NBS, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS and NPR. The program has been honored by several awards, including the Parkinson Awareness Award, Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award, the Sapolin Award for Public Service from the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and the William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Life Long Learning.
More than 35 peer reviewed scientific research studies conducted at a number of major university research centers around the world including Roehampton University, University of Florida, Queensland University of Technology, York University and the University of Freiburg point to the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s. A number of leading neurologists and movement disorder specialists around the world include Dance for PD classes among a shortlist of recommended activities for their patients.
Dance Movement for Parkinson's falls under the South African affiliate Dance for Parkinson's SA. Click here
Dance Movement for Parkinson's was started in April 2018 by Christie Clayton after completing the Introductory Teacher Training course in South Africa. Christie was born and raised in Zimbabwe where she trained at the Dawn Saunders School of Ballet and completed her Cecchetti method examinations. She was a member of the National Ballet of Zimbabwe from age 15. At 18, she trained 6 months at UCT Ballet School (where she met Julie Symmonds, co-founder of Dance for Parkinson’s SA) and then went onto London, joining the Vienna Festival Ballet for 3 years. Christie returned home and continued dancing with the National Ballet of Zimbabwe, retiring 7 years ago. She has pursued her love of dance through part time teaching as well as choreography. Christie intends to grow DM4P not only in Harare but throughout the country.