1. What inspired you to choose this subject for your documentary?
Angie Seto, one of the dance teachers of the Dancing with Parkinson's program at Canada's National Ballet School, is a close friend and she told me about the program over dinner one evening. I was struck at the enthusiasm with which she spoke. She’s always been inspired and excited by her work, but there was something more that she was getting out of the experience. As she described the program, the students and the research, I wanted to know more. That night, I couldn’t get to sleep because I was imagining how to tell the story through filmmaking.
2. What were some of the most memorable moments you experienced while filming this project?
Every aspect of the filmmaking process has been memorable, but none of it could have happened without the generous support of NBS who gave me access to tell this story. When I began attending the dance classes for research purposes, the dancers and teachers welcomed me into the family and that was wonderful. Then having the opportunity to talk after class and get to know everyone, especially David who became the main subject in the film. All the dancers have such rich personalities and lives. They were so generous with their time and stories of their experiences with Parkinson’s disease and with dance. So when I finally showed up with a camera crew, it was thrilling. My talented crew saw the magic right away and I could tell they were excited to be documenting the experience.
3. What surprised you the most about the advances that have been made through this research project?
To be honest, nothing really surprises me about the research because the fact that music and movement are good for your brain just makes sense. What I love about this project is that we see art and science joining together to help people improve their health and their lives. The research is exciting because it provides empirical evidence that will hopefully encourage health practitioners to prescribe dance as medicine! How great would that be?
4. How has your film been received from the general public?
So far the feedback has been very positive. Audiences have been truly moved by the experiences of the dancers and the research that’s being done. They are also happy to learn a bit about how the brain functions while enjoying the music and dance. It is important to me that viewers are left with a sense of hope and judging from reactions from general audiences as well as the dancers themselves, I think that we’ve achieved that.
5. What do you hope that your film will accomplish?
I would love for my film to encourage people with Parkinson’s to dance and for more communities to provide dance classes for them. I hope it encourages doctors and scientists to look to art and artists for research ideas and ways of helping patients.