Post written by Dr. Karen Blindauer
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. Every April I try to review all the ways people are doing well with Parkinson’s.
I like to touch base with Terry Steffen, PT, and the other marvelous physical therapists who are running the now 12 Parkinson's Disease (PD) exercise programs being offered around southeastern Wisconsin. Terry started his program at the Brown Deer YMCA almost 10 years ago and it has grown, and grown and grown. I see it helping so many of my patients both physically (gait, balance, flexibility and even voice) but also socially. Twice a week they see their workout friends, and they encourage and inspire each other.
I have other patients who participate in the Yoga for Parkinson’s class at the Milwaukee Yoga Center, and they have done so for years.
I’m also so pleased that we’ve had dozens and dozens of people with Parkinson’s complete the Living Well with Chronic Conditions six-week workshop. These folks are taking an active part in managing their Parkinson’s.
|The Program that most makes me smile is the Parkinson's Dance Wisconsin (PDW) program. On Friday, April 8, 2011, two members of the Mark Morris Dance Group conducted a master class for the students of PDW, which is an adaptive dance class developed specifically for people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Dee Schwaiger, owner of the Exercise Studio in Mequon, is the founder of the PDW. She began the program after seeing an increase in people with Parkinson's disease come to the Exercise Studio for Personal Training. She collaborated with dancers, Jane Brooks Reilly, Susanne Carter, Kate Mann and Tom Thoreson. Since the Fall of 2009, they have been teaching classes, creating a curriculum, and sponsored a Celebration of Parkinson’s Dance at the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay.
||Al Jones dances with his wife, Thelma. Al says participating in the Parkinson's Dance Wisconsin program has helped him with some of the effects of Parkinson's disease. To read more about Al, read the January 2011 issue of Froedtert Today. |
The program is open to anyone wanting to feel more confident in their balance, gait and mobility.
Mark Morris Dance Group founded Dance for PD™ in Brooklyn, New York. The program is run by David Levanthol, a former dancer with the group. He retired from performing and has been running Dance for PD™ full time. They have established a reputation as a leader in the field. They conduct teacher training programs while using dance to help people with PD.
In the Fall of 2011, instructor Kate Mann of PDW visited the Mark Morris Dance for PD™ in their facility in Brooklyn. In so doing, she made contacts that helped to make the connection between the two programs. The result was this very special master class.
John Heginbotham and Samuel Black conducted the master class, which was held at the Jewish Community Center, 6255 North Santa Monica Blvd. Whitefish Bay, WI. They both appeared with the group in its one night only performance on Saturday, April 9, at the Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield.
Fifty participants began sitting in chairs, facing different directions. They were led in gentle warm-ups some of which reflected the group’s repertoire. This developed into standing activities using the chairs as a ballet barre. The teachers then split the group into two groups and led them in movements across the floor. In closing, the class was pulled together into a circle of sharing and giving movements to each other.
It gave Parkinson’s Disease Awareness a whole new meaning! My thanks to Suzanne Carter — much of the information on Parkinson's Dance Wisconsin is from an article she submitted to the Wisconsin Dance Council for their Spring 2011 newsletter.
For more information about any of the programs mentioned in this blog, please contact Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Program Coordinator Vicki Conte at 414-805-8326.
||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
Wow, I had NO idea that Mark Morris had this commitment to PWPs. Bravo! I've always liked his innovative dance troupe.
I've got several friends with PD, and have recently found a few blogs that have helped me understand what their experiences (all so different) are like. Here's one. Take a look when you can.
Keep dancing, everyone!