Dance for Life

Dance for Life: Movement Program for People with Parkinson’s Disease

The Dance for Life program provides therapeutic and recreational movement opportunities for people with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their significant others. The program is designed to help people with PD improve their quality of life through enhanced overall physical well-being, social interaction, creative expression, and targeted improvements in Parkinson’s symptoms including balance, strength, and mobility. The program is led by professional and student dancers from the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance and Shands Arts in Medicine, and combines elements of modern dance and social dance.

Dance for Life in the News:

  • Dance Brings New Life to Parkinson's Patients
  • Parkinsons Patients See Improvement through a Less Conventional Therapy
  • Parksinsons Patients find Relief through Dance
  • College of Fine Arts: Dance for Life

    Program Structure: The Dance for Life program is offered on an ongoing weekly basis. Each semester concludes with a final performance or social event, and is open to people with PD and their significant others. The program is free and requires no prior dance experience. New participants are welcome to join at any time.

    Time: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1-2:15pm

    Location: Room G-11 of the McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavillion on the UF Campus (Museum Road, adjacent to the UF Welcome Center and Bookstore)

    Parking: Handicapped parking is available in numerous locations around the building, and metered parking is available in the Reitz Union parking lot. Loading Dock parking is also available for individuals needing immediate proximity to the building.

    Contact person: Jill Sonke 352-273-1488

    Dance for Life

    Program Goals:

    • To help people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders achieve improvements in balance, mobility, coordination, range of motion, posture, quickness, and kinetic awareness;
    • To reduce depression, anxiety, isolation, fatigue, pain, and constipation;
    • To enhance quality of life by providing regular social interaction with friends and family members;
    • To increase motivation and self-confidence through goal-setting and periodic “performance”;
    • To encourage engagement in dance as a lifestyle change by including significant others in weekly classes; and
    • To articulate the benefits of dance for Parkinson’s patients through research.

    Project Director: Jill Sonke

    Instructors: Jill Sonke, Emily Pozek, Kristin O'Neal, and students from the Center for the Arts in Medicine and UF School of Theatre and Dance

    Contributing Departments: The UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, Center for the Arts in Medicine, Shands Arts in Medicine, and the UF School of Theatre and Dance.

    Mark Morris Dance for PD Training Workshop, May 30-June 2, 2014

    The University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance and the Center for the Arts in Medicine is pleased to host an annual Dance for PD training workshop, designed and taught by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group, for dance teachers and movement practitioners.

    The two-and-a-half day program is designed to help dance and yoga teachers adapt what they already know so that they can work effectively and comfortably with the Parkinson's population, replicating a class model that started at the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, NY. The workshop will also expose other movement practitioners to Dance for PD® Best Practices so that they might incorporate components of the program into their own work.

    For more information, please click here

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