The University of Calgary Dance Division, led by Professor Anne Flynn who teaches with the faculties of Arts and Kinesiology, and community partners Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, led by Founder in Residence Vicki Adams Willis designed a dance program that would engage participants by stimulating the motor and cognitive areas of the brain, while allowing for expression and building social relationships.
The 40 Dance/Parkinson's participants began dancing on October 29, 2013, and will continue with weekly classes until April 2014, after which they will undergo further testing to evaluate motor skills against a control group of dancers who do not have Parkinson's disease.
The research program, which is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
(SSHRC), the Rozsa Foundation
and Parkinson Alberta
, builds on a successful pilot project held last winter.
is a co-investigator on a $2.5-million national partnership grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada on Arts for Social Change
, which is studying the design and evaluation of arts-based programs that focus on capacity building in communities.