Happy Birthday to our Dancing Through Parkinson's program!
by Laura Karlin
We have been running these classes for 3 years now! We began the program in March 2011. At the beginning, I never could have predicted how joyful, fulfilling and inspirational these classes would be. They are often the best part of my week, and the people who come to class have become my friends.
I am often asked, "Oh wow, Parkinson's - isn't that super depressing?" To which I can only say, no. No, it isn't depressing. It's inspiring to see people living and moving fully, getting out there and dancing beautifully. Sometimes people work through frustration or fear in our class, but the community we've built allows us to do so together.
Almost as often, people say, "Awwww, I bet they're so CUTE." To which I can only say, no. No, they aren't just cute. I mean, yes, the people who dance with us are fabulous, but . . . it's so much more than that. We aren't teaching kindergarteners. We're teaching adults, with rich life histories and fully formed personalities, and we don't condescend to them. They're beautiful and funny and quirky PEOPLE. They rise to challenges, move expressively and bring their own unique twist to everything.
Every week, Fiona comes to class to work the front desk and greet people as they come in, creating a warm community for us all. Some of our dancers have been coming for 3 years now. We dance to all kinds of music, from the Beatles to Ella Fitzgerald to Lady Gaga (yup) to Fela Kuti to Celia Cruz to Indian Summer.
Sofia, Andrea, Linda and I always talk about how much these classes feed our own souls, and I am so grateful to these women for their work in keeping this class going. We are opening a second location in April. (See here for details.)
It's been 3 years, and we're danced through the challenges and the joys. I'm so glad we can continue.