“What struck me most when I first started dancing, was how it focused on what I could do - or doing things I never thought of doing - as opposed to all the things I've lost, can't do or am losing. . . When I'm dancing, I can forget that I have Parkinson's for a little while."
- Wayne Gilbert, Reconnect participant
READ THE DAILY CAMERA ARTICLE
LISTEN TO THE CPR COLORADO MATTERS INTERVIEW
Every Wednesday, an unexpected group of people comes together at Apex Community Center in Arvada. There are nine students, eight women and one man, six of them have Parkinson’s Disease and three do not. Everyone greets each other enthusiastically, often sharing hugs and catching up in the few minutes before class.
The class begins in chairs, sitting in a circle. Lifelong dancer Sarah Leversee leads the class in a brief meditation, encouraging the participants to focus on their breath and notice how their bodies feel. This moves into Sarah’s version of a sun saluation, sitting in the chairs and moving slowly to music. The music upshifts to the more driving “Howlin for You” by The Black Keys, and the whole group starts to vibrate with excitement. After waking up everyone’s bodies in the chairs, the class moves to standing and dances across the floor to everything from Stevie Wonder to Etta James to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”. At the end of the class the dancers move back into a circle to cool down. After the music ends and Sarah thanks everyone for dancing, they collapse into a satisfied group hug.
"This is far from a typical easy-moving class you might see at the senior center. The music was diverse and cool (The Black Keys, Florence and the Machine) and the choreography was exciting and very well done.
But best of all, I loved seeing the change in energy and excitement. At first, many of the participants moved slowly. By the end, one woman said she was feeling so good she skipped out of class. And you know what? Parkinson's or not, I felt like skipping out, too. I have no doubt if I returned to this class, the participants would overwhelmingly and probably literally embrace me."
- Aimee Heckel, Daily Camera Reporter
Reconnect with your Body classes began in 2011. These classes explore the power of dance, creativity and artistic expression and enable participants to discover new ways to move their bodies. Dance has the power to transform and heal – plus it’s fun!
This class was originally designed for people with Parkinson’s disease who have been deeply betrayed by their bodies – with each day comes a new loss, a new discovery of something they can no longer do. With the transformative power of dance, they discover new things they can do and enjoy using their bodies for movement and creative expression. Reconnect with your Body dance class is beneficial for all bodies and all are welcome to come experience the class firsthand. COME DANCE WITH US!
Art as Action Artistic Director and lifelong dancer Sarah Leversee teaches the classes. Sarah is a Stanley J. Wertheimer Fellow for the Dance for PD® program, which provides in-depth training and mentorship to exceptionally qualified teachers offering high quality dance classes modeled after the Dance for PD® program.
Contact us for more information or to schedule a class for your support group.
Our Reconnect dancers made their PERFORMANCE DEBUT in December, 2014 in both/and.Technical dancers and members of our Reconnect class, many of who have PD, took the stage together in a dance piece set to the music of Nina Simone. Sarah choreographed this exploration of the both/and of being deeply betrayed by your body and discovering the transformative power of dance. Watch the video
“Although participants from all over the world tell us they find elements of the class therapeutic, the primary goal of our program is for people to enjoy dance for dancing’s sake in a group setting—and to explore the range of physical and creative possibilities that are still very much open to them."- David Leventhal, founding Dance for PD® teacher
Weekly Class Prices
Ten Class Card $110 | Five Class Card $60 | Drop-in Class $13
"The sessions with Sarah have been so rewarding, especially in the areas of joint pain and balance. I have improved my balance and ability to move with confidence. Sarah has the ability to conceptualize and use descriptions so remarkable that they translate into easily learned movements that make your PD symptoms easier to live with." - Charles Cunis, participant
"My unrelenting dance partner, PD, has interrupted my rhythm and grace. So I seek the freedom of the dance without PD leading, without PD following. I actually feel graceful here. I can move here. I can dance in circles, not squares. I can move with curves and arcs, not heaves and listings. I sometimes wobble, quiver or tremble. But here no one notices, I’m sure of it. My words: Flowing. Smooth. Gliding. Graceful. Confident. Unguarded." - Amy Dressel-Martin, participant
"Thank you for including me as it was great fun, a push to connect my wiring with my limbs and smiles all around." - Michele Dressel