This was a wonderfully focused, informative, energetic, uplifting guided experience, where I was both learning how to teach dance to folks with Parkinson’s while being a student of dance at the same time. Taught by Dance for PD founding teachers Misty Owens and David Leventhal, I soaked up their words and movements. The weekend was structured along these lines:
• Why Dance for PD – introduction
• Melissa Frumin, MD, neuropsychiatrist – *overview of Parkinson’s Disease
• Training Modules
• Training Modules
• Dance for PD DVD
• Anatomy of a Class
* more about Parkinson’s Disease on my Neurons Firing blog.
• Logistical & administrative considerations in offering a Dance for PD class
• Dance for PD community class & discussion
• Practicum continued
• Wrap up
This video provides a sense of my experience in both the workshop and community class. That’s David leading the class, with Misty, in blue, leading the group from the other side of the room.
A typical dance class ranges from 60 to 90 minutes, followed by the equally important 30 minute sharing session, where people are invited to share about anything. Regarding the sharing portion, I believe it was David who said, “allow that part of their psyche to exercise too.”
David and Misty provided several verbal nuggets that have stayed with me, including:
- Allow people to help themselves.
- Having people count gives them the exhale.
- Falling is rare during dancing; falls, when they do happen, are usually due to rushing.
- Everything is a building block.
- Joints are designed to move. If they stop moving, they can hurt.
- You are your own best choreographer. If anything goes byond your ROM (range of motion), feel free to adapt.
- Access every type of learner – inspire – ignite.
- A Dance for PD class is about variety, fun, listening and bringing the affection.
Explore possibility instead of limitation.