Dance for Parkinson’s

Lecture Description:

Each week, thousands of people with Parkinson's in 25 countries around the world enter the creative space of the dance studio to participate in specially-designed classes led by trained teaching artists. Drawing on more than 17 years of experience as a founding teacher and, more recently, program director of the Mark Morris Dance Group's acclaimed Dance for PD® program, dancer David Leventhal will explore the unique benefits of dance for people with Parkinson's disease and their families. By exploring the program’s origin and objectives, as well as some of his team's latest initiatives, Leventhal will make the case for the role that the arts—and dance in particular—play in helping people maintain a sense of human identity in the face of health challenges like Parkinson's, and how the artistic and creative elements of dance provide a lifeline that allows individuals and families to focus on possibilities rather than limitations.

Learner Outcomes:
  • • List three benefits of dance for people with Parkinson's.
  • • Describe research related to dance for people with Parkinson's.
  • • Describe the framework through which arts-based programs help to de-medicalize the experience of people living with chronic challenges.

David Leventhal

Financial Relationship: Received an honorarium for this lecture
Nonfinancial Relationship: None

David Leventhal is a founding teacher and Program Director for Dance for PD®, a program of the Mark Morris Dance Group that has now been used as a model for classes in more than 300 communities in 25 countries. Leventhal, who performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2011, leads classes for people with Parkinson's disease and trains other teachers in the Dance for PD® approach around the world. He received the 2016 World Parkinson Congress Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson's Community and was a co-recipient of the 2013 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award from the Parkinson's Unity Walk. A 2010 Bessie Award recipient, Leventhal has written about dance and Parkinson's in Moving Ideas: Multimodal Learning in Communities and Schools and Creating Dance: A Traveler's Guide. Leventhal serves on the boards of the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center's Arts and Humanities Program.