Objective: This poster will present four programs – the pioneering work of a dance for PD program, along with three programs that drew upon this model to design dance classes for people with MS. The four programs now work together to understand the perceived impact of dance on people with movement disorders.
Background: Dance has the ability to improve the physical, social, and emotional health of people experiencing health challenges, and may be an effective tool for improving quality of life and overall wellbeing for people with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). The inherent creative practices that define dance as an art form, along with its physical nature, position dance to have a unique and arguably greater impact on these populations than traditional exercised-based interventions.
Method: For over twenty years, dance for PD programs have been providing dance classes specifically designed for people with PD that address symptom-specific concerns related to physical, social, cognitive, and emotional health. Similarly, dance classes designed specifically for people with MS have emerged and are growing in popularity. The partners on this project are pioneering dance for MS programming and research and have each launched dance programs aimed at improving wellbeing for people with MS.
Results: Each of the four programs have undertaken research studies to understand the impact of dance on people with PD and MS with results showing that participation in dance programs yields improvements in balance and gait along with reduced fatigue and muscle spasms. Additionally, participation in dance activities improves perceived self-efficacy, confidence and sense of agency1. Similar studies also show improved quality of life for people living with movement disorders through creativity, social interaction, and increased strength and mobility2.
Conclusion: With the established leadership of dance for PD programming, this network of dance for MS programs is positioned to catalyze this work nationally and internationally. Through knowledge-sharing and standardization of best practices and additional research, creative, safe, and evidence-based dance programs can be designed to improve quality of life and wellbeing for people with PD and MS. Additionally, virtual programming may be a promising intervention to increase participation and expand access among a wider global audience.
References: 1. McRae, C., Leventhal, D., Westheimer, O., Mastin, T., Utley, J., & Russell, D. (2018). Long-term effects of Dance for PD® on self-efficacy among persons with Parkinson’s disease. Arts & Health, 10(1), 85–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2017.1326390 2. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2009). Effects of dance on movement control in Parkinson’s disease: a comparison of Argentine Tango and American ballroom. JRehabilMed. 41(6), 475–481. https://doi.org/10.2340/16501977-0362; Mandelbaum, R., Triche, E. W., Fasoli, S. E., & Lo, A. C. (2015). A Pilot Study: examining the effects and tolerability of structured dance intervention for individuals with multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 38(3), 218–222. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1035457; Sharp, K., & Hewitt, J. (2014). Dance as an intervention for people with Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 47, 445–456. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.09.009; Scheidler A. M., Kinnett-Hopkins D., Learmonth Y. C., Motl R., & López-Ortiz, C. (2018). Targeted ballet program mitigates ataxia and improves balance in females with mild-to-moderate multiple sclerosis. PLOS ONE, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205382
To cite this abstract in AMA style:K. Mason, D. Leventhal, J. Sonke, J. Langley, B. Whiteside, T. Gyang, B. Borgert, E. Johnson, D. Riley, C. Cassidy, L. Sinclair. Dance for Movement Disorders: Improving Health and Quality of Life [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2021; 36 (suppl 1). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/dance-for-movement-disorders-improving-health-and-quality-of-life/. Accessed December 2, 2023.
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