Dance class for people with Parkinson’s to be offered at Penn State Hershey

The internationally acclaimed program Dance for Parkinson’s will now be available to residents of central Pennsylvania thanks to a new collaboration among teaching artists from the nonprofit, Lancaster-based Contemporary Ballet of PA (COBALT) and the Penn State Hershey University Fitness Center, which will host the classes. The first pilot session will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on four consecutive Fridays this summer: July 12, 19 and 26, and Aug. 2. Future Hershey classes will be scheduled based on the results of the pilot classes in July.

The classes, which are open to persons with Parkinson’s disease, their families, friends and care partners, will be offered free of charge, thanks to a generous private donation. The classes are designed to  empower people with Parkinson’s disease to explore movement in ways that are stimulating and creative. Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Center Stage program will provide musicians to perform at each class.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer these classes in Hershey for the first time,” said COBALT Artistic Director Shari Vegso-Wilson, a former professional dancer. “The program was started in Brooklyn in 2001 at the Mark Morris Dance Center and has helped transform the experience of people with Parkinson’s living in many different places around the world. We want folks in Central PA to have the same access to this high quality arts program.”

The teaching approach in Dance for Parkinson’s is built on utilizing the expertise of professionally-trained dancers to work on dance concepts with the Parkinson’s disease community.

“We emphasize balance, strength, flexibility, rhythm and creative expression with individuals who have Parkinson’s disease, just as we do with all of our students,” Vegso-Wilson said. “Teaching artists draw on their own movement background, often combining different dance genres in each session.

To learn more about the program, visit www.COBALTdance.org or call 717-676-9039.

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Last Updated June 13, 2013