An elderly couple with their Dance for Parkinson's instructor

Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada

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Did you know that dance can help people with Parkinson’s manage their symptoms?

Thanks to donors like you, Parkinson’s researchers have shown that exercise generally and dance specifically can have a positive impact on living with Parkinson’s. This includes research launched by your support of Parkinson Canada. In its 2013-15 cycle, the Parkinson Canada Research Program to fund a project led by Dr. Joseph DeSouza. Along with meaningful research outcomes, this project formed what would eventually become an ongoing dance class for people with Parkinson’s at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS). NBS is a founding partner of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada (DFPNC), along with Parkinson Canada,Dance for PD® and Dancing with Parkinson’s (DWP).

Why Dance for Parkinson’s?

David Leventhal (Mark Morris Dance Group) and Rachel Bar (Canada’s National Ballet School) represent DFPNC founding partners. In this January 2019 webinar they discuss the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s.

Research on dancing and Parkinson’s shows that improvements in balance and gait last long after dance classes end. Dr. DeSouza wants people to know that dancing has many positive benefits. “All the other dance classes that take place all over the world show that people feel better – they’re happier, it’s almost like a supplemental therapy that helps them cope with whatever they’re dealing with,” he says.

It is for reasons like this that Dr. DeSouza, Parkinson Canada and DFPNC believe that high quality dance programs for people with Parkinson’s should be easily accessible anywhere in the country.

Dance may not be something that you or many program participants have had much experience with before finding the network. It doesn’t take long for participants to realize just how enjoyable the classes are and how important it is to be able to socialize after class with their fellow dancers.

AB Rustin, a long-time Parkinson Canada volunteer, donor and SuperWalk supporter is an active dancer with Parkinson’s. She shares: “It’s always great to spend time with others with Parkinson’s… and I feel better after a class. The movements are not as strenuous as in an exercise class. They are much more fluid. And, you’ve got the wonderful music.”

Where to access dance classes

Parkinson Canada joined this partnership because we recognize the importance of these classes. Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada is committed to:

  • Improving access to dance programs for people living with PD, regardless of physical mobility or geographic location
  • Increasing specialized training opportunities and professional development resources for dance instructors
  • Expanding program offerings and classes in communities across Canada You can access the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada website here and find information on programs across Canada (many of which are offering digital classes)

Please note: The resources and specific dance classes shared on the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada page are designed to help inspire and encourage physical and social activity. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for you. This link does not represent medical advice or endorsement of any specific program or instructor.

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