The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in many creative adjustments to contemporary life. Stay Thirsty Magazine was especially interested in how the renowned Invertigo Dance Theatre of Los Angeles had navigated the outbreak with regard to its storied Dancing Through Parkinson's (DTP) program.

Created in 2011, DTP is an ongoing community-based program of classes designed for people with Parkinson's Disease (PD) that is also beneficial for combatting aging and other neurological challenges. Family and caregivers have been encouraged over the years to attend classes taught by professional dancers trained in methods specific for PD that offered a supportive environment fostering physical stability, mental clarity, grace and creativity. Participants in the program were encouraged to move at their own pace and no dance experience was required.

The pandemic made in-person classes of DTP no longer possible. Invertigo's response, however, was swift and clear. They moved their classes online and modeled the experience of a professional dance class with movement executed from wheelchairs, walkers and chairs or while standing. The curriculum was designed specifically to meet the needs of people with Parkinson’s Disease from the newly diagnosed to those in the late stages of the disease.

Teachers Kelsey Ang, Linda Berghoff, Heidi Buehler, Jess Evans, Haylee Nichele and Rachel Whiting, representing the five different studio classes, lead segments online featuring their unique styles and music selections. DTP participants move at their own pace and every section of the class is designed with seated modifications for those who need to remain seated or who would like to take a break from standing.

Each session begins with a seated warm-up that incorporates breath work, upper body stretches and joint mobility. Participants perform seated choreography, tap work and muscular brain teasers. For the next section, members progress into a modified ballet barre segment either standing with a chair or sitting and then move through standing or seated center traveling steps with creative at-home improvisation. The class’ traditional end – a circle of gratitude – has been adapted into an individual hand-on-heart gesture where all participants join in a collective breath of thanks for this opportunity to remain connected to community.

Stay Thirsty Magazine applauds the work that Invertigo is doing with their Dancing Through Parkinson's project for its compassion, humanity and service to a very important group of people. 

Dancing Through Parkinson's - Invertigo Dance Theatre

Dancing Through Parkinson's   
Invertigo Dance Theatre

All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.