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Classes help those with Parkinson’s find joy in movement

By MARY BETH SCHWEIGERT, www.lancasteronline.com

Betsy Teschner has lived with Parkinson’s disease for nine years. She knows she’s moving a little more slowly than she used to, but she thought she was managing pretty well.

Then she got a wake-up call at the grocery store.

“A little Boy Scout offered to carry my groceries for me,” she says. “I thought I was doing OK here.”

Teschner, of Lititz, appreciated the offer, but the attention made her self-conscious. Did she really look that bad?

In Dance for PD, a class designed for people with Parkinson’s disease, Teschner doesn’t have to worry about how slowly she moves, or if she shakes.

“Looking around the room feels comfortable,” she says. “It truly lifts the burden from my shoulders.”

Local Dance for PD instructors recently wrapped a six-week pilot program in Millersville, which drew up to 25 people per week.

A second session will begin in June. The instructors also will offer a pilot program in Hershey this summer.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative nerve disease that strikes about 1 percent of older adults, affecting movement, balance and coordination.

The Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group developed Dance for PD, which is now offered in 100 communities.

Shari Vegso-Wilson, director of Susquehanna Dance Center in Mountville and artistic director of COBALT, Contemporary Ballet of Pennsylvania, says dance benefits body and mind in people with Parkinson’s disease.

“These groups are spreading,” she says. “They seem to do a lot of good.” Read the rest of the article here.

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