Dance for Parkinson’s 1

Free Dance Class for People with Movement Disorders Offered at OU

Recent research has shown that people with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as other movement disorders, can benefit from dancing in areas ranging from motor function to overall quality of life. Kathleen Redwine, lecturer in dance history at the University of Oklahoma School of Dance, is putting this research into practice here. I spoke with Redwine about the program’s inspiration, who can benefit and how to get involved. 

Q. Can you please describe the classes you are offering at no charge to individuals with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders?

A. These dance classes are specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. We’re able to adapt movement in the class to suit each individual’s ability, so that students are able to experience both the physicality and the artistry of dance. We begin each class seated in chairs, and then progress to standing and traveling across the floor for those who would like to do so.

Q. When did you first start offering the classes? What gave you the idea?

A. This (fall 2018) is the first semester we’ve offered them. I’ve been interested in Dance for Parkinson’s for quite a while. My husband has had Parkinson’s for about 10 years, and as a dancer and dance teacher I’ve eagerly followed the development of dance for PD by the Mark Morris Dance Group in New York. Parkinson’s has also affected the family of the director of the School of Dance, Michael Bearden, and when we talked about it, he helped find a way to make Dance for Parkinson’s available here at OU. We also have a very generous patron of the School of Dance who has supported the training of one of our graduate students, and I attended in New York before we began the classes here.

We’ve had very positive response from attendees! We’re so happy to be able to offer this opportunity here in Cleveland County.

Q. When and where will the classes be held in 2019? How can people sign up/learn more about it?

A. Classes begin on Jan 17 and will be held each Thursday from 1 to 2 p.m. in room 3002, Reynolds Performing Arts Center. This is the same time as fall, but we’re moving to the third-floor dance studio in the same building. Email Katherine at kredwine@ou.edu for more information.

Q. What ages may attend? Any other guidelines they need to know about?

A. These classes are designed for adults with Parkinson’s, but we also welcome those with other movement disorders. Family members or caregivers are welcome to attend, too.  (Note: It’s always a good idea for people to check with their doctor before beginning any new dance or exercise classes.)

For more information and the latest research on how people with these disorders may benefit from dance, visit DanceforParkinsons.org/resources/research.

Meet Kathleen Redwine

Kathleen Redwine earned both her bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees in modern dance at OU. After graduation, she danced and taught in Europe for some years before returning to the United States. She has served on the OU dance faculty for 18 years, where she has taught all the courses in the dance history area as well as modern dance technique and belly dance. She also writes dance reviews for The Oklahoman and edits the School of Dance’s newsletter, Call Board.