Dance for Parkinson’s gives different remedy for patients

Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients are dealing with their illness with one rhythmic step at time.

Unlike many diseases, PD is not terminal nor life threatening, but it can take a toll on the body overtime. PD sometimes cause the body to tremor when its not doing work, rigidity and impartial movements and even lack of balance. But for every patient the symptoms may be different.

While there is no found cure for PD, a Brooklyn based dance group called Mark Morris Dance discovered a remedy no doctor can prescribe in a bottle. Combining stretching and muscle strengthening techniques to a funky modern dance.

The Mark Morris Dance groups works specifically with PD patients and teach professional instructors, like Dance for Illinois dance instructor Kate Kuper, their methods.

Kuper is also a visiting dance lecturer at the University of Illinois. She and her co-instructor Marianne Jarvi choreographs creative dance moves and exercises for PD patients, which allow them to control their movements.

“Everybody loves it…its fun creative and expressive….very engaging,” says Kuper.

Every month, for a hour and half, a group of local PD patients who also meets regularly at the Carle Clinic Parkinson’s Awareness Group, come to Krannert Center of Performing Arts for what Kuper likes to call a “movement experience,” and is better known as For Parkinson’s Disease Dance.

She and Jarvi start each session with a forty-five minute seated activities to a live piano music, then a short barre series, which is very similar to ballet.

Following a sequence of patterned circular movements, gentle taps of the feet and a few sways and sweeps into the air to the melody of the live piano music, helps the patients warm up their muscles and minds.

“I think its medicine for the soul. While they’re in class, they forget about having Parkinson’s disease,” says Kuper.

Take, 69 year old Charotte Brady for instance. She was diagnosed with PD four years ago, shortly after retiring from teaching Art in the Mahomet school district. She admits, while the medications she take help her with temporary conditions, the dance moves are more efficient for her overall health.

“Being in shape helps my health…I can’t stop the disease, nut I can push it off by keeping up with my health,” said Brady.

Brady is among the local group of PD patients who attend the monthly For Parkinson’s Disease sessions at Krannert.

Four years ago, Charlotte Brady was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), shortly after retiring from teaching Art in the Mahomet school district.

Brady said the exercises with Kuper really helps her a lot. She enjoys attending the sessions because she can meet and talk to other people with PD.

“ We all have something in common…it’s good to know you’re not alone,” said Brady.

Since, retired Brady paints in her home, and runs a art gallery at Lincoln Square in Urbana–International Gallery Wall of Brady.