“I cannot thank you and the others enough for the wonderful weekend. I learned so much and it more than exceeded my expectations. This was the best workshop I have attended in a long time.”—Veronica B, 2010 trainee and Dance for PD teacher
The workshop was beautifully presented, a truly generous forum for learning, sharing and becoming creatively inspired.”—Brooklyn Workshop participant, 2011
It has been great to finally start teaching the class. My biggest satisfaction has been watching our members who looked at me with fear when I first spoke to them about starting a Dance class, slowly agree to just come and try and class, and now attend regularly. I have taught students of all ages and all levels, and this has so far been one of my most enjoyable (and most learning) experiences.—KC, 2010 trainee and Dance for PD teacher”
Dance for PD®’s Dance Teacher Program
We believe that people with Parkinson’s deserve to work with knowledgeable and experienced dance teachers and professional teaching artists, and that these professionals usually provide the most comprehensive and artistically enriching experience for participants.
The Dance Teacher program provides a progressive, structured and self-paced training course for qualified and experienced dance teachers who are interested in teaching classes based on the Dance for PD® model developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group. The components of this course include an introductory workshop, practice teaching, continuing education and, for those who are interested, certification.
Dance for PD teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have extensive professional performing experience, dancing with such companies as Mark Morris Dance Group, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, San Francisco Ballet, English National Ballet, and Houston Ballet. Others are accomplished dance educators and choreographers who have experience teaching students of all ages and abilities, or professors in university dance departments. Regardless of their different dance backgrounds, they all bring the right combination of experience, confidence and teaching skills to their Dance for PD classes.
For those teachers who are specifically interested in leading their own Dance for PD classes, we recommend:
• Excellent proficiency in at least one major dance style (ballet, classical Indian, modern, jazz, tap, ballroom, Argentine Tango, flamenco, West African etc.)
• At least 3-5 years’ experience consistently teaching dance in a group setting
• Ability to adapt dance techniques and styles to a special population
• Ability to create original, dynamic sequences of dance movement in several styles
• Sensitivity and patience
• Proficient musicality and sense of rhythm
• Some performing experience preferred
Introductory training workshops
Our introductory training workshops are the foundation of our teacher training program, and the first step in a process to develop a Dance for PD teaching practice. Dance Teacher trainees cover special modules that focus on class structure, pedagogy and exercise design, and participate in a practicum class to develop class content and teaching techniques with founding teachers and other trainees, in addition to covering general modules about safety and working with Parkinson’s participants.
To view a short sample section of a few of our eight training modules, please click on one of the linked modules below:
Module 1: Core principles
Module 2: What to Expect
Module 3: Safety
Module 4: What makes a good Dance for PD teacher
Module 5: Class Structure
Module 6: Exercise Design
Module 7: Adaptations
Module 8: 12 Keys to Success
Appendix: Group Training Activities
To watch a clip from a community class that was part of our Denver training workshop, please click here.
An interview with David Leventhal, a founding teacher of Dance for PD
Application for Introductory Workshop
If you feel that our recommendations match your experience, we invite you to begin our online application.
You are welcome to submit an application even if you do not yet know when you might be able to attend a workshop. We review each application personally, and we invite you to apply even if your credentials don’t exactly match the profile above.
Continuing Education and Professional Development
We provide professional development and continuing education for Dance Teachers through our advanced workshop programs and our Teaching Membership.
Designed for teachers who have taken the introductory workshop and are already leading Dance for PD classes, advanced workshops focus on further developing teachers’ skills and knowledge about their own work and related scientific fields. Teachers exchange concerns and exercises with colleagues, and develop new ideas to take back to their local classes. These workshops are often integrated into introductory workshops or offered during MMDG residencies in cities where there is an existing Dance for PD program.
Our Teaching Membership will provide teachers with comprehensive online resources and a Teachers’ Listserv. These resources will allow dance teachers to deepen their knowledge by connecting with a virtual interactive community of affiliated teachers doing similar work. For more information, please click here.
Although some teachers feel confident enough to start teaching after their first workshop, others prefer to apprentice in an existing program (where available) or to develop an initial pilot ‘lab’ program in collaboration with local partners to test and hone skills and confidence while receiving on-going feedback from PD participants and collaborators in addition to utilizing our continuing education resources.
A certification program is currently in development for those teachers whose classes closely follow the Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group Dance for PD model. Certified teachers should be able to teach a class that successfully incorporates all five core components of Dance for PD:
• Classical and contemporary technique training
• Improvisation and aesthetic interpretation
• Choreographic repertory and originally choreographed movement sequences
• Circle dances, line dances and scene work
• Strong musicality and sense of rhythm
Certified teachers will be able to list Dance for PD® Certification in their publicity materials, will have access to a variety of support resources including private, dedicated online areas, regular virtual conferencing, prime billing on this site’s class listing, relocation support, and special continuing education conferences.
Individuals enrolled in the Dance Teacher program who have already taken a Dance for PD introductory workshop, and who have been teaching or assisting in existing Dance for PD classes for at least 40 hours, will be eligible to apply for certification.
Candidates will be asked to submit an application, references and a DVD sample of their local class for review by the Dance for PD management team. Candidates will also complete an online test. Candidates will be asked to lead an in-person mock class for approved Dance for PD certifiers. If granted, certification will be valid for three years so long as continuing education requirements are met.