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Dancing with Parkinson's

As part of Canada's National Ballet School's commitment to the community, the Artistic staff is developing a dance program for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) to be known as DwP@NBS.

PD is a neurological disease that severely inhibits movement, and affects over 100,000 Canadians. Preliminary research indicates that dancing may help alleviate symptoms of PD, and dance programs for this population are being successfully implemented around the world.

To develop our dance for PD program, NBS will collaborate with leaders in the field from the Mark Morris Dance Group for PD® program in New York, established local instructors Sarah Robichaud and Rachael Gibson, and researchers from York and Ryerson Universities.

With this team, we will develop a program that will not only cater to and benefit Toronto's PD community, but also inform scientific research that seeks to better understand the benefits of dance classes. Our Artistic staff will participate in a training workshop this summer to prepare for our first pilot series of classes beginning in September, 2013.

The main objective of the proposed project is to study how dance is able to seemingly bypass the neurodegeneration occurring in the PD brain and potentially facilitate improvement in movement in those with PD.

Over the course of the 12-week dance program, volunteer participants will be invited to the Sherman Health Science Research Centre at York University to participate in a series of brain imaging scans. These scans will be both structural and functional. Using these scans, changes in brain activity and structure that occur as a result of participants learning a movement sequence set to music (i.e. a dance) will be analysed.


NBS is looking for volunteers with Parkinson's disease to participate in the pilot program and research study. All classes will be held at NBS in downtown Toronto and taught by NBS Artistic staff. Interested applicants are asked to speak with their medical provider before registering for the pilot program.

Registration opens August 1

Classes: Tuesdays, 10am to 11:15am
Dates: September 17 to December 3
Location: 400 Jarvis St., Toronto

Class size will be limited.
No dance experience required.
Caregivers welcome.

Please call 416-964-5105 to register.

More information

  • Additional information
  • FAQs
  • Print-friendly flyer
  • Registration opens Dec. 10
  • Classes: Tuesdays, 10-11:15am
    Dates: January 14 - April 8
    Location: 400 Jarvis St., Toronto
  • Class size will be limited.
    No dance experience required.
    Caregivers welcome.
  • Register: 416-964-5105

Photo Credits

Photos by Jackie-Lou Perez.

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