The program’s fundamental working principle is that professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge about balance, sequencing, rhythm, and aesthetic awareness is useful to persons with PD. In class, teaching artists integrate movement from modern, ballet, tap, folk, and social dancing, and choreographic repertory to engage participants’ minds and bodies and create an enjoyable, social environment for artistic exploration.
Since 2007, David has trained more than 1,500 teachers in the Dance for PD® approach in 25 cities around the world. He’s co-produced four volumes of a successful At Home DVD series for the program and has been instrumental in initiating and designing innovative projects involving live streaming and Moving Through Glass, a dance-based Google Glass App for people with Parkinson’s. He received the 2018 Martha Hill Mid-Career Artist Award, a 2016 World Parkinson Congress Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson’s Community, and was a co-recipient, with Olie Westheimer, of the 2013 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award from the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. He has written about dance and Parkinson’s for such publications as Dance Gazette and Room 217 and has a chapter about the program in Moving Ideas: Multimodal Learning in Communities and Schools (Peter Lang), and Creating Dance: A Traveler’s Guide (Hampton Press). He’s featured in the award-winning 2014 documentary Capturing Grace directed by Dave Iverson. As a dancer, he performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2011, appearing in principal roles in Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare. He received a 2010 Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for his performing career with Mark Morris. He graduated from Brown University with honors in English Literature. Dance for PD®, founded in 2001, offers specialized dance classes to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends, and care partners online via Zoom and, when safe, in nine locations around New York City. The program is available through our network of affiliates in more than 300 communities in 25 countries around the world. Dance for PD classes invites people with Parkinson’s to experience the joys and benefits of dance while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression, and physical confidence. The program’s fundamental working principle is that professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge about balance, sequencing, rhythm, and aesthetic awareness is useful to persons with PD. In class, teaching artists integrate movement from modern, ballet, tap, folk, and social dancing, and choreographic repertory to engage participants’ minds and bodies and create an enjoyable, social environment for artistic exploration.
Originally founded as a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and now fully administered by the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Dance for PD program provides teacher training, nurtures relationships among other organizations to foster classes around the world, and offers an acclaimed.
Dance for PD has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Dance Magazine, The Guardian, and hundreds of other publications, as well as on NBS, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, and NPR. The program has been honored by several awards, including the Parkinson Awareness Award, Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award, the Sapolin Award for Public Service from the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and the William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Life Long Learning.
More than 40 peer-reviewed scientific research studies conducted at a number of major university research centers around the world including Roehampton University, University of Florida, Queensland University of Technology, York University, and the University of Freiburg point to the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s. A number of leading neurologists and movement disorder specialists around the world include Dance for PD classes among a shortlist of recommended activities for their patients.
Learn more about David Leventhal and Dance for Parkinson’s through the links below.
You might want to listen to my fascinating discussions with other improv teachers and innovators including Tara Langella and Marcus Sams *Improv Interviews podcast‘ is introduced by Susan L. Parker of yourinternationalvoice.com