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Parkinson’s Programs

Free Movement Classes

The Parkinson’s Movement Initiative (PMI)
All people with Parkinson’s and/or PD care partners are invited!
All classes are free, but you must pre-register at the links below to participate.
12-week fall term: September 12 – December 11 (no classes the week of Nov. 21 – 27)

In-person Classes

ADF Scripps Studios
721 Broad St, Durham, NC 
Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Learn More

 

Virtual Classes

Offered live weekly via ZOOM

Learn More

PMI logo

The Parkinson’s Movement Initiative (PMI) was founded in 2017 by American Dance Festival (ADF), NC Dance for Parkinson’s, and Poe Wellness Solutions, and 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

In-Person Parkinson’s Classes

ADF Scripps Studios, 721 Broad St, Durham, NC
Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Two PMI students working with an instructor

Pilates for Parkinson’s with Andrea Didisheim
Mondays at 2:00 pm
12-week fall term: September 12 – December 11 (no classes the week of Nov. 21 – 27)

Pilates for Parkinson’s consists of a warm-up focusing on alignment, exercises challenging strength and balance, and a cool-down for stretching and relaxation. All exercises are explained and demonstrated with options for beginners as well as more advanced participants. Time is spent seated in a chair, standing with the wall or a chair for support, and on the floor. Each class explores new ideas for improving strength, flexibility, and balance.

About the Instructor

Andrea Didisheim is a Duke-certified Integrative Health Coach and Yoga and Meditation teacher. For much of her career, she also worked as a Physical Therapist. Andrea received her BA and MFA in Dance and is currently a member of Big Red Dance Project under the direction of Gerri Houlihan. She brings her life-long practice of body awareness, mindfulness, and the joy of movement to all of her work. Andrea has worked with Meg Poe for the past 4 years with the Parkinson’s Movement Initiative and is thrilled to be a part of this program.

Students moving in a Dance for Parkinson's class

Dance for Parkinson’s with Susan Saenger
Sundays at 3 pm
12-week fall term: September 12 – December 11
(no classes the week of Nov. 21 – 27)

This class conveys the benefits of exercise and 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 theater 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. NC Dance for Parkinson’s is modeled after the Dance for PD® program developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Our teachers have attended their training workshops in Brooklyn.

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.

Virtual Parkinson’s Classes via Zoom

A PMI student in a pilates pose

Virtual Pilates for Parkinson’s with Meg Poe
Wednesdays at 2:00 pm
12-week fall term: September 12 – December 11
(no classes the week of Nov. 21 – 27)

Pilates for Parkinson’s consists of a warm-up focusing on alignment, exercises challenging strength and balance, and a cool-down for stretching and relaxation. All exercises are explained and demonstrated with options for beginners as well as more advanced participants. Time is spent seated in a chair, standing with the wall or a chair for support, and on the floor. Each class explores new ideas for improving strength, flexibility, and balance.

About the Instructor

Meg Poe is dedicated to health and happiness through movement and mindful living. She is a Duke-certified Integrative Health Coach, a registered Yoga teacher, and a certified Pilates instructor with a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been directly involved in educating and training students in the integration of mindful, healthy movement for over 25 years. A dedicated student comments, “Meg is a skillful practitioner herself and a masterful teacher who knows how to create an atmosphere that is relaxed, respectful, meditative, yet informal and fun. There is no pressure to perform or compete – students are free to adapt the exercises, with Meg’s guidance, to their own abilities and needs.”

Students moving in a Dance for Parkinson's class

Virtual Dance for Parkinson’s with Susan Saenger
Fridays at 11 am
12-week fall term: September 12 – December 11
(no classes the week of Nov. 21 – 27)

This class conveys the benefits of exercise and 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. 

In addition to dance, the teachers utilize related art forms such as theater 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. NC Dance for Parkinson’s is modeled after the Dance for PD® program developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Our teachers have attended their training workshops in Brooklyn. 

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.

American Dance Festival is proud to offer Parkinson’s Movement Initiative classes, Dance for Parkinson’s and Pilates for Parkinson’s, in partnership with NC Dance for Parkinson’s and Poe Wellness Solutions and supported by a community grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation. Through this support, all classes offered through the Parkinson’s Movement Initiative are free for people living with PD and their caregivers.

Additional support is provided by RTI International.

 

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