Posted by Nancy Mazonson
One would be hard-pressed to convince the participants in the Parkinson's dance class that sock hops are no longer in fashion. The final class of our winter Parkinson's dance session on December 18 included a luncheon and an opportunity to showcase our outrageous sock wardrobes, dessert making talents, and soaring spirits. Inspired by the choreography and elegant dancing of our dance instructor, Art Sullivan, and our tireless and dedicated volunteer, Rachel Sher, the group was invited to time travel and go on a ‘round the world excursion through dance! After warming up to Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring," we boogied to "Mac the Knife" and the music of Little Eva, then danced to music from Hawaii, India, and Africa.
During lunch, we had the opportunity to enjoy the company of our fellow dancers and to pause and reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela. We viewed a 1999 video of Mr. Mandela in which he was onstage at a concert with South African singer, Johnny Clegg. Mr. Mandela addressed the audience saying, "It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and at peace with myself."
For those struggling with the challenges of Parkinson's disease, hearing Nelson Mandela's meaningful words about the importance of music and dance in bringing peace to his life was a profound affirmation for their participation in our Parkinson's programming. His words provided inspiration and validation. Music and dance truly do bring a sense of peace and a strong sense of community.
In gratitude, one of the care partners wrote the following email to me after the luncheon: "We are definitely a community of people who treasure one another. A nice feeling!"
Nancy Mazonson, MS, OTR/L, has coordinated the Parkinson's Family Support program of JF&CS since its inception in September 2006. The program is a leading resource in the Boston area with its unique programs, including Parkinson's Dance, Adult Child and Care Partner support groups, and Tremble Clefs choral singing group. Prior to her work at JF&CS, Nancy worked extensively as an occupational therapist in inpatient and community-based rehabilitation settings, specializing in helping people with degenerative neurological conditions.