Dance class helps Parkinson's patients
Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:23 PM
Story Created: Mar 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM America/New_York
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- Some Southwest Florida seniors are battling Parkinson's disease on the dance floor.
Fluid on the dance floor, it's hard to believe each step is a battle for Jill Goode.
"I get stiff. Sometimes I can't walk," Goode said Tuesday.
She has Parkinson's disease. But during "P.D. in Motion" class, she and others diagnosed with the progressive movement disorder aren't skipping a beat.
"When we're concentrating on the movement. We're not shaking, we're not getting stuck. We're just moving," Goode said.
Instructor Isabel Castro choreographs each class, utilizing different forms of dance as therapy.
"We do Mambo, we've done Cha-Cha," Castro said Tuesday.
Castro claims she doesn't modify moves for her dancers. Instead, she starts class slow.
"They start out kind of rigid. As the class moves on, they do so much better and are able to stand and do Tango and do Zorba and cross their legs," Castro said.
But the benefit of ballet, tap, and tango isn't just temporary relief from the pains of Parkinson's. With each pointed toe and plie' comes a little piece of hope.
"All of us here are looking forward to life, and not looking backward on it because we see each other and how we're coping and how we're improving," said Tom O'Grady, who also has Parkinson's.
"P.D. in Motion" classes are completely free of charge for anyone with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers.
However, the two agencies that fund the class, United Arts Council of Collier County and the Parkinson Association of Southwest Florida, are facing financial cuts. The two agencies are now looking to the community to keep the classes going.
Currently, classes are offered at the Bonita Springs Fitness for Life on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-12:15pm.
The class is also offered in Naples at the Parkinson Association's Headquarters on Thursdays from 1-2:15pm.
Kathrynne Holden, MS
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