Dancing With Parkinson’s

Beginning in 2009, NMS began offering a new program called Dancing with Parkinson’s, led by NMS faculty member Laura Richling, with support from the Yale Community and Beyond Parkinson’s Support Group and the American Parkinson’s Disease Association of Connecticut, and funded with generous support from an individual patron.

Based on the Dance for PD™ program of the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, N.Y., this class, offers people with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders (along with partners and caregivers) the opportunity to explore and create movement in a variety of dance styles. No dance experience is necessary and walkers, canes and wheelchairs are welcome. Classes, held in convenient locations, are all taught by a certified instructor.

“For an hour and a half, once a week in dance class, I take on a new persona, one without the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I leave outside the door present limits and anxieties for the future. This is a time to join with others and appreciate to the utmost the respite. Time stands still and I am enveloped in the world of movement, music and a fine tuned, joyful and funny teacher. I am conscious of the value of each movement that seems simple but is actually encouraging more fluidity and less rigidity. There are no judgments and the underlying message is to do what you are able with joy, laughter and creativity. I am delighted to focus on the abilities that come forth, the strengths that remain. I walk out the door standing taller, with more external and internal balance and a steadier gait.”
          – DWP participant

Classes are offered at 3 Connecticut locations:

Mondays, 1:15-2:30 pm (excluding civic holidays)
Middletown Senior Center, 61 Durant Terrace, Middletown
Instructor: Laura Richling
Contact: lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

New London
Wednesdays, 10:30-11:45 am
Connecticut College: Crozier-Williams Student Center, 3rd Floor Studio, New London
Instructor: Rachel Balaban
Contact: rbalaban@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

Fridays 10:00 – 11:15 am
Trinity Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 1109 Main St., Branford
Instructor: Laura Richling
Contact: lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

Watch our segment on Dancing with Parkinson’s on the Community Culture Showcase here.

This class is a collaborative effort. Rachel Balaban and Laura Richling have trained with the Mark Morris Group and are knowledgeable about specific techniques, muscle relationships, balance and rhythm. But the class is also about learning from each other. All are encouraged to share and enjoy the class together. (It should be noted that the focus of this program is about artistic and creative expression and the enjoyment of social interactions with others experiencing similar challenges. While many may experience health benefits or the alleviation of symptoms, this program is not intended to be a therapeutic offering.)

For more information, please contact:

Laura Richling, administrator, Dancing with Parkinson’s program, lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org
To learn more about the approach, visit the Dance for PD website.
And for an article about one of our affiliated programs featured on NBC/Hartford, click here.

DWP funders:
Thank you to this year’s major supporters: