Mind-Body Healing at its Best: Dance for Parkinson’s Disease

It’s funny how many people feel a pang of hesitation, reluctance, or even fear when they’re invited to dance. Who hasn’t heard someone say, when being pulled onto the floor, “oh no, I can’t dance!”

I’ll admit, I leaned that way, too. I left the dancing to those with natural rhythm and “moves.”

My view has changed, though, because I’ve realized how much dancing embodies what our NICABM community is about – the connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Others have realized this connection, too.

I invite you to watch the brief video below, which will provide you with an exciting glimpse of an innovative mind-body program called Dance for Parkinson’s Disease. For this unique therapy, I really think you’ll need to see the participants in action:

The film Why Dance for Parkinson’s Disease, excerpted here, was produced by the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and Mark Morris Dance Group, with funding provided by the National Parkinson Foundation.

You can find out more about Dance for PD® by visiting their website at http://danceforparkinsons.org/

David Leventhal leads dance therapy

Photo Taken by Amber Star Merkens

The ideas behind the Dance for PD® program have applications far beyond treating symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. How could the Dance for PD® program principles be applied in your practice or community? Please share this information below and leave a comment.


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  1. Wanda Akmal says:

    There are a handful of fascinating points at some point in the following paragraphs but I do not know if they all center to heart. There exists some validity but Let me take hold opinion until I appear into it further. Fantastic post , thanks and then we want a great deal a lot more! Included in FeedBurner at exactly the same time

  2. Jane Vigon says:

    I saw this in a tiny remote village in South West France, and invited a lady in the village who has PD to watch it with me and her friend. We talked about it, went onto YouTube, and, and hour later, our last dance was a stand up but modified tango! The friends have agreed to dance together in the afternoons to their favorite recordings! The lady with PD normally has difficulty walking and, at best, uses 2 canes! Both friends were excited enthused and energised by this wonderful activity. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  3. Maria says:


    I know how important dance is to the individual. It gives you confidence, grace, releif of tension, happiness, joy to be alive. There are so many benefits available that I wonder why it is not incorporated in all therapy centers. This video was so beautiful.
    God bless you with great success in spreading this therapy everywhere.

  4. Fran Englander says:

    This is lovely, but as a trained, certified, and licensed Art Therapist, I find it frustrating that nowhere is there mention of Dance Therapy, Music Therapy, or any of the other Creative Arts Therapies. There absolutely is value in all the arts; there can also be risks that are not recognized, and there may be optimal matches between participants and activities that, without the underlying theoretical understanding, may also not be recognized. Creative Arts Therapists are specifically trained to relate to and recognize these factors, having been immersed both in the art(s) and in theories of psychology and human growth and development. Despite this, Creative Arts Therapists seem to be regularly unknown, overlooked and/or dismissed.

  5. Lizbeth Hamlin says:

    As a Authentic Movement teacher for years and tango dancer…this is so moving to the joy of dance and connections. My one group that I lead is filled with many elders all the way up to 85! As a psychotherapist as well, I integrate movement into my practice and this connects us to our deeper understanding of our human nature. Thank you for posting this and I hope to do more of this work in the coming years!

  6. Lisa Rosof says:

    Being a movement educator with a flavor for freedom, flow and creativity, it was gratifying for me to see this video on the NICABM blog. I have been familiar with Mark Morris for many, many years appreciating his work. This video once again reminded me of the vast space between mind and body that can be lovingly inhabited when one works from the heart. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Sara Firman says:

    Like Carol, I too cried since the enjoyment and connection of the dancers was so utterly palpable. It was clear that even those with the least movement were enjoying participation thoroughly. Perhaps you CAN get your husband to watch the clip Carol. (Your love for him is palpable too.)

  8. carol percival says:

    What an incredible, wonderful idea. I cried with her too as i watched them share and pass the energy around the circle.
    I wish i could get my husband to do something like this—our marriage is in tatters and he won’t talk about anything. I’ve tried exchanging letters but there is a huge emotional curtain up on his side–nothing new!!
    But he loves to touch others!! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he could open himself up to energy flow before he dies. He’s 76–i’m lots younger(62).
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.. Carol

    • Marisa says:

      November 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm Virtually all of what you claim happens to be suirnisppgly legitimate and that makes me ponder why I had not looked at this in this light before. Your article truly did switch the light on for me as far as this specific subject goes. But there is actually 1 position I am not necessarily too comfortable with so while I attempt to reconcile that with the core idea of your point, let me observe just what all the rest of your subscribers have to point out.Very well done.

  9. Kathy Judge says:

    This is incredibly wonderful – so enriching and such a wonderful, simple and effective tool to contend with the effects of Parkinson’s (to say nothing of aging (~!~))on mind, body and spirit!. Thank you SO much for sharing it -My mom had Parkinson’s… and early in her professional life taught PE and dance at Queen’s College in NY (p her first Master’s degree — MA Ed) and later was a guidance counselor( p her 2nd Masters in Guidance and Counseling)still loved to dance, Parkinson’s notwithstanding … She would have really thrived and delighted in this program! She was diagnosed w PD at 60 yrs old and died at age 79 in 1995. She danced regularly w my father until his death in 1988. My 6 siblings would all agree c me — Mom would have LOVED this idea!!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    PS I have no doubt that she’s in Heaven, organizing the place and time for the next dance session as I write this…(~!~)!
    Kathy Judge

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