Student Spotlight – Eileen

Eileen and Patricia

Meet participant Eileen (left) and her friend Patricia (right). Eileen jokes that if someone is going to get diagnosed with something, she has already had it. A brain tumor, a stroke, dystonia and now breast cancer, she has a feisty fighting spirit! Eileen already knows what the other participants of Rx Ballroom Dance have figured out- if you want to keep your brain and body healthy, keep on dancing!

Eileen’s biggest obstacle continues to be her balance and coordination from the struggles with dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions). But Eileen is a fighter and is determined to get the steps correct. She gets the student of the week alert for amazing concentration and determination while working on her core and posture! Go Eileen!

Your support allows us to continue programming for amazing participants like Eileen. Since classes are free of charge, she doesn’t have to worry about any expenses as she fights the good fight for the health of her brain and body. Consider donating to continue providing classes to amazing women like Eileen.

Student Spotlight – Rick

Meet Rick and his wife Rosie! Rick was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and the pair found out about Rx Ballroom Dance classes at a Parkinson’s support group meeting. The two admitted they never knew about the benefits of ballroom dance until they took their first cha cha cha.

The road isn’t always smooth. On their first day, Rick struggled with “freezing”- a common struggle for people with Parkinson’s. Just three weeks later, Rick no longer has freezing and can syncopate the rhythm in his feet with ease! Not to mention, Rick and Rosie are smiling, laughing and breaking a sweat!

Interested in learning how you can improve your mind, body and spirit with ballroom dance? Contact us today!

All of Rx Ballroom Dance classes are 100% free to participants. Please consider supporting our program with a donation.

Student Spotlight – Alan

This is Alan and he has been to every class during our Rx Ballroom Dance summer session. Alan has been diagnosed with severe Alzheimer’s and struggles to remember basic information. Additionally the disease has robbed him of his normal speech patterns so regular social conversations can seem frustrating and hard to carry on.

The first day I met him, he was embarrassed about his perceived disabilities. But Alan loves to dance. He just lost his confidence to be in regular social situations.

Ballroom dance accesses new neural pathways to build new motor function skills. Alan couldn’t remember my name, but he remembered the merengue without needing any review. He couldn’t remember his birthday, but he waltzed for over 5 minutes without ever once missing a step. He sang along to the music. He experienced joy. This class was not about his disability. It was about enhancing the quality of his life.

Six weeks later and Alan has seen improvement in balance, coordination and his overall ability to remember directions. It did not happen in a day, but consistent practice and showing up every week has made a huge difference.

Your support gave Alan this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has donated, volunteered and contributed to make a difference.

Fall program starts Monday, August 5th and we can’t wait for our new group of Fall students to experience the prescription of Rx Ballroom Dance!

Student Spotlight – James

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!

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