Dancing with Parkinson’s at Canada’s National Ballet School (DwP@NBS)

Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), in collaboration with Mark Morris Group’s Dance for PD®, Sarah Robichaud, Founder & Creative Director of Dancing with Parkinson’s™, and researchers from York and Ryerson Universities, is hosting a 12-week dance program to study the physical and neuropsychological effects of dance on people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The program, known as Dancing with Parkinson’s at Canada’s National Ballet School (DwP@NBS) is taking place at NBS’ state-of-the-art facilities in Toronto, Ontario. It will study how dance is able to seemingly bypass the neurodegeneration occurring in the PD brain and facilitate improvement in movement for those with PD.

Led by York University Centre for Vision Research’s Professor Dr. Joseph DeSouza as well as Ryerson University graduate student and NBS alumna Rachel Bar, DwP@NBS will see twenty PD participants take part in a weekly dance class co-taught by NBS Artistic Faculty and Sarah Robichaud, both trained in the Dance for PD® method.

Volunteers electing to participate in the study will undergo a series of brain imaging scans to help researchers understand how dance affects changes in brain network activity and structure. While being scanned, participants will be asked to listen to music they have danced to during their classes and visualize themselves dancing. Preliminary data gathered by examining professional ballet dancers and non-clinical populations has already shown that after learning a dance, changes in brain activity are detected in primary auditory cortex and supplementary motor cortex, when visualizing a dance while listening to its music. Partial funding for the start-up and research comes from a generous donation from the Irpinia Club of Toronto and Parkinson’s Society Canada.

Watch a recording from the first-ever Parkinson's Multi-City Livestream Event on Tuesday March 3 2015, to hear more about the DwP@NBS program.

Contact: Principal Investigator Dr. Joseph DeSouza of York University - desouza@yorku.ca

For more information visit: www.nbs-enb.ca/Community-Initiatives/Dance-for-Health/Dancing-with-Parkinson-s