RECONNECT with your body
dance for every BODY
Dance has a reputation of being available to a select few: those blessed with a particular body type, the privilege of expensive training and the rare talent to master challenging technique. Every Wednesday afternoon, an unlikely group of dancers comes together and defies convention to revel in the healing powers of dance that are beneficial and enjoyable for every body, including those with Parkinson’s disease.
Reconnect offers a safe place to gain confidence in movement and explore new challenges within a supportive community. The class has evolved to include participants without PD who are also looking for an opportunity to share the joy of dance.
"Before (Reconnect), I referred to my dancing as ‘pathetic.’ Reconnect has given me a new perspective. I now view my dyskinetic movements as creative expressions of the inner self. Dance class is like getting out of jail for an hour and a half. It’s freedom, and it’s sweet for those of us with or without PD. Thank you for caring about us and transforming us."
- Carol Jenkins, Reconnect Dancer
Reconnect is growing fast: our class attendance has more than doubled over the past two years. Collectively, our participants travel over 400 miles round trip to come to class each week. During 2016, we brought the power of dance to over 1,500 people through classes, performances, presentations and demonstrations. The Reconnect program includes:
Before (Reconnect), I referred to my dancing as ‘pathetic.’ Reconnect has given me a new perspective. I now view my dyskinetic movements as creative expressions of the inner self. Dance class is like getting out of jail for an hour and a half.
It’s freedom, and it’s sweet for those of us with or without PD. Thank you for caring about us and transforming us.
Reconnect class allows me to forgive my body for not living up to its full potential and appreciate all the incredible abilities I possess. I become lost in the music and movement, not only my movements but those free-spirited and graceful moves of my fellow dancers. Somehow I forget what brought me to this place where I am symptom free and feel like a dancer. I sense that this is definitely one of the best hours of my week, both for my body and my spirit.
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.
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... And then I discovered dance was also a new way to creatively express myself as a performer. I could “say” things to an audience as a dancer that I could not as a poet and actor. Dance is full of surprises!
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.
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.
Dancing with the Reconnect community and performing with Art as Action (from my wheelchair) brings joy and light to my previous dancer-body: It nourishes and sustains my identity, gives my body and spirit hope, and is just so darn fun!