Tea and Tango in Halifax, Dancing with Parkinson’s in Vancouver or Dancing Parkinson’s YYC in Calgary – each of these classes offers opportunities for people with Parkinson’s Disease to dance on a regular basis. And yes, they do have something else in common.

These are just a few of the places across Canada where people with PD can participate in dance specifically geared to their needs. Because the number of people diagnosed with this disease increases as baby boomers age, ensuring all Canadians can find and access dance classes catering to their needs is critical. Equally important is making sure their neurologists are aware of not only the benefits of dance but also where they can direct their patients to find dance classes.
 
At NBS’ weekly Sharing Dance for People with Parkinson’s classes, many dancers have not had much experience with dance before coming to class, yet it doesn’t take long for all of them to realize just how enjoyable the classes are and how important it is to be able to socialize after class with their fellow dancers.
 
Recognizing the importance of regular weekly classes and promoting the availability of them was one of the reasons NBS proposed creating the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada. Founded by NBS, the Mark Morris Group’s Dance for PD® (in Brooklyn, NY), Dancing with Parkinson’s (Sarah Robichaud’s organization) and Parkinson’s Canada, the network is committed to:
  1. Improving access to dance programs for people living with PD, regardless of physical mobility or geographic location
  2. Increasing specialized training opportunities and professional development resources for dance instructors
  3. Expanding program offering 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. Want to read about the research published about the benefits of dance for people with PD – check that out here. And for a brief presentation on recent research, please visit Rachel Bar’s Translating Knowledge Into Action.

The studios mentioned above are all charter members in the Network and we are keen to expand the number of places offering dance classes for people with PD. Should you be interested in locating a class or joining the network, please contact Rachel Bar -  rbar@nbs-enb.ca

As Judy, one of our dancers says, “I associate dance with freedom, back to feeling like myself, my real self – as opposed to what Parkinson’s has done.” By expanding the Network and making it better known nationally, we will ensure more people can experience the freedom that Judy and others have found with dance.