News Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Logan McSwain, communications manager
704.372.0101 x2765

North Carolina Dance Theatre announces new outreach program – Dance for Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

North Carolina Dance Theatre, in partnership with the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas and Carolinas Medical Center, is proud to announce Dance for PD in Charlotte, N.C., a pilot dance program for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Supported by Carolinas Healthcare Foundation, this program is the first of its kind in N.C. Dance for PD started in 2001 in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group. 

Beginning October 31, NC Dance Theatre will present three, six-week sessions offering people with Parkinson’s Disease an avenue to develop artistry and grace while addressing such Parkinson disease-specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation and depression. 

The first session, held on Mondays from October 31-December 6, is followed by additional sessions in February and April 2012. Participants will take a weekly one-hour and fifteen-minute dance class, free of charge, at the Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride Center for Dance at 701 North Tryon Street.

The classes are led by NC Dance Theatre teaching artists who went through an intensive training program in September, led by teaching artists from the Mark Morris Dance Group and hosted by NC Dance Theatre.

“I am so happy NC Dance Theatre has the opportunity to pilot such an amazing program in Charlotte and collaborate with such wonderful organizations!” said April Berry, NC Dance Theatre Director of Education and Outreach. “Our teaching artists are extremely excited about this program. We know this will truly be a life-changing experience for all involved.”

To register for Dance for PD classes, participants should contact Lisa Van Rossum, with the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas, at 704.248.3722 or Lvanrossum@parkinsonassociation.org.

About Dance for PD
The Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group (BPG) started offering free dance classes for people with Parkinson’s in the Fall of 2001. BPG’s Executive Director, Olie Westheimer, approached MMDG with the initial idea for a class. Since 2005, the two organizations have expanded the Dance for PD® program into more than 40 other communities around the world by engaging participants in Dance for PD® master classes, training teachers through intensive workshops, and by nurturing relationships among organizations so that on-going classes are available to local communities.

According to the Mark Morris Dance Group, The Dance for PD® teaching method is built on a fundamental premise: professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Dancers know all about stretching and strengthening muscles, and about balance and rhythm. Most importantly, dancers know about the power of dance to concentrate mind, body, and emotion on movement; they use their thoughts, imagination, eyes, ears, and touch to control their bodies.

The method has been presented at the International Congress for Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders in Berlin (2005), the World Parkinson Congress in Washington, D.C. (2006) and at Neuroscience 2008 in Washington, D.C. Articles about the class have appeared in USA Today, Neurology Now, The New York Times and Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation among other publications, and the class has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, PBS Frontline and CBS.  


North Carolina Dance Theatre is a Charlotte-based ballet company focused on performing, inspiring and educating through artistically excellent programming. Led by internationally acclaimed President and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, NC Dance Theatre is known for its strong dancers and versatile repertoire, ranging from classical ballet to bold, contemporary works. In June 2010 NC Dance Theatre moved to the Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance in Uptown Charlotte. The Center houses the Company’s administrative offices, rehearsal space and School of Dance. For more information visit ncdance.org.

North Carolina Dance Theatre is supported, in part, with operating support by the Arts & Science Council. Dance Theatre is also supported by individuals, corporations, and local and national foundations, the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.