Dance for Parkinson’s Australia Background
Dance for PD® is a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group (BPG). MMDG/BPG started offering free dance classes for people with Parkinson’s in 2001, after BPG’s Executive Director Olie Westheimer approached MMDG with the initial idea for a class. Since 2005, the two organizations have expanded the Dance for PD® program into more than 100 other communities around the world by engaging participants in Dance for PD® master classes, training teachers through intensive workshops, and nurturing relationships among organizations so that ongoing classes are available to local communities.
The Dance for Parkinson’s Australia program started through an initial Dance for PD® presentation at the National Parkinson’s Conference in Brisbane in 2012. Since then, Australian Program Coordinator Erica Rose Jeffrey has worked with the dance and Parkinson’s communities to share the joys of dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. Working with Dance for PD® founding teacher and Program Director David Leventhal, the first Australian teacher training workshops were offered in May of 2013 in Sydney and Brisbane at Queensland Ballet.