James was the very first participant in the Rx Ballroom Dance program when he came to me devastated and struggling with Ontiponticular Cerebral Atrophy- a brain atrophy disease that degenerates your movement, balance and coordination center.
It’s been 6 months of lessons now, once a week for 30-45 minutes and James’ path hasn’t been perfectly smooth. The first three months saw a huge increase in balance, posture, ability to remember choreography and stamina. He went from not being able to stand on his own, to walking nearly a mile a day without assistance. A little tango went a long way.
But the cerebral atrophy continued to do its damage and James still struggled with balance and coordination. It manifested itself in his speech and vision patterns. He stopped improving. We sought more physical therapy based activities. It felt like the harder I tried as his teacher the more walls I would meet to improvement.
But more research and more analysis showed that harping on technique was NOT the answer. Utilizing rhythm- to help generate and coordinate the missing synapses in his neuro activity was the key. Every time I put on the music, his coordination improved and his balance became exceptional. I alone cannot stop his disease, but the power of cross coordination and rhythm can build new neuro pathways that can improve movement.
Additionally, having a partner, someone to help you in your journey through dance, is key to feeling supported and engaged. James is just one of our participants benefiting from the power of ballroom dance.
Considering volunteering or donating today to help us continue building the program to help more people like James!