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Syracuse University to Present Series of Dance Classes for people with Parkinson’s

Classes begin on Thursday, Oct. 16, free and open to the public

Oct 15, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

Photo of Donna Korol

Donna Korol


Neuroscientists Donna Korol and Tumay Tunur in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences are partnering with the Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute, the Dance Theater of Syracuse, and Cynthia Stevenson, director of caregiver services at the Onondaga County Department of Adult and Long Term Care Services to offer a series of dance classes to Central New Yorkers with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive movement disorder affecting nearly one million Americans.

The dance classes are part of a bigger initiative called Movement for Healthy Aging, being developed by Korol, Tunur, and colleagues.  Classes will begin on Thursday, Oct. 16 at Dance Theater of Syracuse (117 Harvard Place, Syracuse) and will be held every Thursday from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. They are free and open to people with Parkinson’s, their families and friends, and caregivers. For more information, contact Tumay Tunur via email at tumaytunur@yahoo.com or by phone at 504.570.0752.

The classes aim to provide an immersive creative exploration for people with Parkinson’s and to help define ways dance effectively complements traditional medical interventions. Recent studies have shown dance can help people manage their symptoms and quality of life while maintaining a sense of grace and dignity as they face challenges of living with a chronic condition.

“Though dancing is neither a cure for Parkinson’s nor a substitute for medical regimens, it is an opportunity for people with Parkinson’s to express themselves freely through movement, something that is not always easy for someone with Parkinson’s,” says Korol, associate professor of biology. “Dancing can provide temporary relief to Parkinson’s patients and help everyone to learn to ‘dance through life’, so to speak. We are pleased to bring this to the people of Central New York and hope area residents will join us as we kick off this very exciting initiative.”

This announcement comes on the heels of a successful dance workshop held last April and presented by Tunur and Korol with the Department of Biology, SU Arts Engage, and the Mark Morris Dance Group. The two-day event consisted of dance classes, dance performances, and the screening of Capturing Grace, a documentary film about dancers with Parkinson's disease joining forces with Mark Morris Dance Group to stage a unique performance.

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Contact Information

Sarah Scalese
315-443-8085
sescales@syr.edu