Boca Ballet Theatre is proud to offer a 6-week Pilot Dance Program for those in our community who are living with Parkinson’s. Begun on April 22, classes are being held on consecutive Mondays for six weeks at BocaBalletTheatre’sstudio.Danceclassesare for all levels, abilities and ages, and are free of charge to those with Parkinson’s, along with accompanying family members or caregivers. Funding for the initial pilot program has been generously provided by the American Parkinson Disease Association, and prominent neurologist, Dr. Frederick Boltz, has accepted the role of program advisor. “We are so excited to get this program started, especially to benefit the community of Parkinsonians in this area”, says Dr. Boltz. “While their medical needs are a priority, the artistic outlet which dance provides is a secondary supplement to support and enrich their lives.” The classes will be lead by two Boca Ballet Theatre faculty who traveled to New York to train with Dance for PD®, a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, a chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation. The successful Dance for PD® program, the foundation for BBT4PD, has been featured on PBS’ News Hour special, and CBS’ 60 Minutes to highlight the many benefits of the program. The structure of each class will consist of two dance faculty and two assistants leading basic dance exercises, along with a live accompanist. Participants will begin seated in their chairs and progressively work towards standing or holding on for support, depending on their level of comfort. They are always encouraged to modify movement according to their needs and interests. Classes are open to anyone with Parkinson’s, no matter the advancement of their condition. People who are just starting to show symptoms might sit with or dance next to those with later stages of PD. Caregivers, spouses and friends are encouraged to join the class and participate. Not only is it a chance to do something fun and positive with their partner, but they might provide an extra hand of assistance for those experiencing particular challenges with balance. The benefits of this special program for those living with PD are immeasurable. The exercises, designed to guide them within their limitations, can improve general movement and flexibility – and ultimately, enhance their quality of life. The basic choreography can help people to access muscles that they often struggle to control. Despite the tremors and stiff movements associated with PD, there are no limits to the joy that this program can provide. “The artistic spirit is not diminished because of the physical limitations. These outlets exist so that whatever physical ability is available is used to the fullest”, says Jane Tyree, Co-Director of Boca Ballet Theatre. “We are aiming to empower and enable their progress and their windows of opportunity. Stretching is better than shaking…and not just stretching the muscle, but stretching the person.” “It’s the right thing to do”, agrees Dan Guin, Boca Ballet Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director. “Our hope and our goals are to give a standing ovation to the people who support this program, as well as the people who participate in this program”. For more information about BBT4PD and for all inquiries about classes, registration, and how to support this wonderful program, please call (561)995-0709 or visit www.bocaballet.org.