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Parkinson’s Programs

PMI logo

Free Movement Classes

All people with Parkinson’s and/or PD care partners are invited!
All classes are free, but you must pre-register at the link below to participate.

2023 Fall Term: September 18th – December 20th

In-person Classes

ADF Scripps Studios: 721 Broad St, Durham, NC
Masks are required for all in-person PMI classes.

Virtual Classes

Offered live weekly via ZOOM

In-Person Parkinson’s Classes

Students moving in a Dance for Parkinson's class
Dance for Parkinson’s
In-Person
with Heather Bryce
Wednesdays at 2pm-3:15pm
Sept 27 – Dec 20
12 Weeks

NC Dance for Parkinson’s is modeled after the Dance for PD® program, developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and our teachers have attended their training workshops in Brooklyn. Although the class conveys the benefits of exercise, it also highly values the creative expression, aesthetics, and artistry that are at the core of dance as an art form. Participants will learn choreography in a variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, and cultural/folk, and have opportunities to improvise and create unique movement sequences. A typical class includes movement done seated, standing, and locomoting, with adaptations offered based on each individual’s level of comfort and mobility. Participants dance together, in partnerships, and at times, solo. In addition to dance, the teachers utilize related art forms such as theatre games, poetry, image-based mindfulness, and storytelling to foster creative and

expressive experiences. The class also promotes a sense of community where isolation is broken and meaningful connections are formed through the joy of dance. All people with Parkinson’s and their PD their care partners are invited!

About the Instructor

Heather Bryce is a teaching artist, choreographer, co-founder of Teaching Artists Connect, and the artistic director of Bryce Dance Company. Bryce has expertise in working with people of all ages including populations often under-represented in the arts such as older adults, students who have disabilities, and people living with dementia. Bryce has over 20 years of experience as a teaching artist and educator. She currently works as a teaching artist for organizations including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Durham Arts Council. She holds her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. www.tac-nc.org

Students moving in a Dance for Parkinson's class
PWR!Moves Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery
In-Person
with Rebecca Bliss
Thursdays at 2pm–3:15pm
September 18th – December 17th
(no class October 5th)

12 Weeks

PWR! Moves is a Parkinson’s Disease specific training program developed by Dr. Becky Farley who also helped establish the LSVT BIG protocol. In class we will use exercise to focus on flexibility, mobility, balance, and posture to address motor skills known to be affected by Parkinson’s Disease. Exercises will take place in multiple positions including on the floor, hands and knees, sitting in a chair, and standing with a wall or chair for support. Be prepared to break a sweat and have fun!   

Safety Tip: In order to participate, it is advised that participants are able to get on and off the floor independently. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your first class. 

About the Instructor

Rebecca Bliss is a licensed physical therapist with a BFA in Dance from Florida State University. At Florida State, Rebecca was a member of Dance Repertory Theatre and attended ADF as a scholarship student in 2007. Upon graduating, she moved to New York City where she performed with choreographers such as Marjanie Forte. Eventually, Rebecca’s love of studying movement led her to Drexel University, where she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2018.

Currently, you can find Rebecca working as a PWR! certified therapist at Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers, a local outpatient physical therapy clinic. There she enjoys working with a variety of patient populations ranging from dancers recovering from injury, to individuals with Parkinson’s Disease working to improve their balance. You can still find Rebecca performing today, as a member of The Big Red Dance Project with choreographer Gerri Houlihan. Rebecca believes dance is a powerful instrument for exploring movement, and is excited to be a part of the Dance for Parkinson’s Program and share the joy of dance with others!

Virtual Parkinson’s Classes via Zoom

Students moving in a Dance for Parkinson's class
Dance for Parkinson’s
On ZOOM
with Susan Saenger
Fridays at 11am-12:15pm
September 18th – December 17th
12 Weeks

NC Dance for Parkinson’s is modeled after the Dance for PD® program, developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and our teachers have attended their training workshops in Brooklyn. Although the class conveys the benefits of exercise, it also highly values the creative expression, aesthetics, and artistry that are at the core of dance as an art form. Participants will learn choreography in a variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, and cultural/folk, and have opportunities to improvise and create unique movement sequences. A typical class includes movement done seated, standing, and locomoting, with adaptations offered based on each individual’s level of comfort and mobility. Participants dance together, in partnerships, and at times, solo. In addition to dance, the teachers utilize related art forms such as theatre games, poetry, image-based mindfulness, and storytelling to foster creative and expressive experiences. The class also promotes a sense of community where isolation is broken and meaningful connections are formed through the joy of dance. All people with Parkinson’s and their PD their care partners are invited!

About the Instructor

Susan Saenger is a board-certified Dance/Movement Therapist, a licensed professional counselor in the State of North Carolina, and a certified personal health and fitness trainer. Susan began dancing when she was just 5 years old and had the formative privilege to be exposed to creative movement at that early age. As a child, she spent years studying ballet and modern dance. As an adult, she continued her exploration into African Dance, Tai Chi, and Yoga. From 1990 to 1992, Susan performed with Orts Theatre of Dance in Tucson AZ. From 1997 to 2007, Susan was a member of Choreo Collective, a Triangle-based collective for dancers and choreographers, serving as Treasurer and, later, as Co-Director. She helped produce at least 20 programs of original choreography over 10 years. In 2011, Susan took the Mark Morris Dance for PD teacher training. She began teaching Dance for Parkinson’s with Lindsay Voorhees in 2014.

About ADF’s Parkinson’s Movement Initiative

The Parkinson’s Movement Initiative (PMI) was founded in 2017 by American Dance Festival (ADF), NC Dance for Parkinson’s, and Poe Wellness Solutions. The program offers consistent, weekly, cost-free movement classes to the PD community and their caregivers. Our classes focus on mind and body connection through exercise and movement and provide an opportunity to engage with loved ones and meet others who are living with Parkinson’s Disease outside of a clinical setting. Along with the physical benefits, PMI provides a space of shared experience and understanding.

Learn more about PMI.

“Everyone is positive, encouraging, and focused on moving and enjoying it.”

“I feel supported by the dance community and feel like I am an active participant in my care.”

– PMI Participants

 ADF’s Parkinson’s Movement Initiative is currently in partnership with
the NC Dance for Parkinson’s and is supported by
the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, RTI International, and individual donors.