Starting in November, JF&CS Parkinson’s Family Support will take its Parkinson’s Dance program to Cambridge. It will be hosted by the José Mateo Ballet Theatre at its home, the National Historic Landmark Old Cambridge Baptist Church, located in Harvard Square. Scott Fraser, managing director of José Mateo Ballet Theatre, remarked, “For 25 years, José Mateo Ballet Theatre has strived to make its programs available to all members of the community. This exciting partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Service will allow Ballet Theatre to take a next step in making the benefits of dance available to the broader community.”
The five-class series is modeled after Dance for PD®, a collaborative program of the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. The dance program is intended to engage the participants’ minds and bodies, and create an enjoyable, social environment that emphasizes dancing, which can be therapeutic. Learning from skilled dance instructors inspires participants to recapture grace, while guided improvisation fosters creativity and experimentation with movement. In fact, participants, who have a clinical movement disorder, find that they can actually move freely during the two-hour class and often say they even forget they have Parkinson’s during that time.