News: Dance for Parkinson’s

Thursday 23 October 2008

In a late addition to the Dance Umbrella programme, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) are offering an introductory seminar and workshop on the pioneering work they have been doing with people affected by Parkinsons Disease – a chronic condition which severely affects movement.

It takes place on Friday 7 November and is open to anyone who works with people with Parkinson’s or who has an interest in this field, as well as dance practitioners currently working or interested in working with people with Parkinson’s.

Dance for Parkinson’s has become a regular part of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s Outreach programme, offering weekly classes, customized for people with the condition and their carers.

The association with the local Brooklyn Parkinson Group was initiated by the founder of the patient support group, Olie Westheimer, who with a dance background, noticed that patients often used techniques which were similar to dance, to memorise and aid movement.

Mark Morris Dance Group, who had only recently moved into their new purpose built centre in Brooklyn, have been more than happy to build roots with their local community in this way. Three company members take turn in leading the sessions – which are conventional classes, with live music, customized for the participants. The programme has been so successful that monthly sessions have now become weekly classes and MMDG also supply rehearsal space for the group to meet and practice on their own once a week as well.

One of the participants says: “I don’t know if it happens to everyone, but I lose my symptoms when I’m there. And the pleasure of the experience is that it’s not a therapy session. They teach us as if we were any students, and that makes me feel good.” Read more in the New York Times, Aug 07

For more information on the introductory seminar, which takes place on Friday 7 November from 10am to 3.30pm, English National Ballet Studios, Kensington, London SW7 go to or call 020 8834 8992.

More info on Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for Parkinson’s

Watch a video – Why ‘Dance for PD’?

Mark Morris Dance Group perform Romeo & Juliet, On Motifs Of Shakespeare at the Barbican Theatre from 5 – 8 November, as part of Dance Umbrella. More details/online booking

Image taken from video Why ‘Dance for PD’?

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