Why Dance Can Help Those with Parkinson’s Disease

Published March 9, 2016

Research is still emerging on the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease--but many studies have been conducted to analyze the relationship between dance therapy and several facets of Parkinson’s disease progression.

Music based movement therapy or dance therapy has been associated with improvements in several concerning areas including: gait, balance and perceived quality of life for individuals with mild to moderate disease progression.1-3 After participation in 8-10 weeks of consecutive music based movement therapy significant improvements have been noted in balance and gait related activities including walking velocity.1-3

One study also showed that these benefits were sustained one month after the completion of the program.2And many studies suggest music based movement therapy as an appropriate adjunct to traditional exercise programs for Parkinson’s Disease. 1-3

For these reasons, Burke Community Wellness and the Steffi Nossen School of Dance have come together to offer Dance Party for Parkinson’s.

About the Class
The initial class will be held March 25, 2016 at 6:30 pm. We are asking all levels of interested participants to join us. After class we will be taking a survey of the group to see if participants would prefer two separate sessions--one that will be seated dance and one that will be standing.

We encourage all participants to bring a friend, family member or caregiver to participate and receive a reduced per-person class cost.

More information: 

Where: Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Adult Fitness Center

Building: Sports Center

When: Friday’s 6:30-7:30 pm, starting March 25 

Provided by: Steffi Nossen School of Dance

Cost: $15 per class OR $96 eight week session (non member)/ $86 eight week Session (Members). Couples or those with a caregiver who will be participating in the dance party, $20 per class (two people).

For more, click here

Also, on March 24 from 2 – 3pm, there will be a lecture on Parkinson’s disease titled, “Parkinson's Disease: Development, Treatment and Progression” in the Rosedale room of Burke’s billings building on the White Plains campus. For more information, click here. 

1. Dreu, M. J. de, Wilk, A. S. D. van der, Poppe, E., et al.  Rehabilitation, exercise therapy and music in patients with Parkinson’s disease: a meta-analysis of the effects of music-based movement therapy on walking ability, balance and quality of life. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders. 2012; 18: S114–S119.

2. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. Effects of Dance on Gait and Balance in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Partnered and Nonpartnered Dance Movement. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2009:

3. Earhart, G. M. Dance as Therapy for Individuals with Parkinson Disease. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2009; 45(2): 231–238. Retrieved from

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