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BMDC Bequeaths Dance For PD Program to the Kennedy Center and George Mason U. School of Dance

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Programs join a previously-announced partnership with Maryland Youth Ballet to provide Dance for PD Program throughout the DC Metro area.

Bowen McCauley Dance Company, the award-winning contemporary dance company who closed out its 25th and final season tonight at The Kennedy Center, announces partnerships with The Kennedy Center and George Mason University's School of Dance to continue free Dance for Parkinson's Disease (Dance for PD) classes. Earlier this year, BMDC announced a similar partnership with the Maryland Youth Ballet, and this triad of partnerships will ensure that Dance for PD classes are accessible throughout the DC Metro area.

Securing a future for BMDC's Dance for PD Program was an organizational priority in the nonprofit's dissolution plan and an essential step in securing its legacy in the DC area. The continuation of these programs demonstrates Lucy Bowen's lasting commitment to serving the Parkinson's Disease community. Thanks to an anonymous donation, these essential community offerings will provide the means to carry this program forward.

"It was important to me that people living with Parkinson's continue to have easy access across the entire DC Metro area. To partner with these three iconic institutions in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia is an absolute dream, and will ensure that the program lives on into the next generation.," said Lucy Bowen


More of a "third act" to her career than a retirement, Lucy Bowen's first task after closing BMDC will be training teaching artists to help lead these FREE classes at all three locations. Notably, the partnership with George Mason will integrate Dance for PD instruction into the dance education curriculum, ensuring that the next generation of dancers can carry on this important work.

Karen Reedy, Director of the School of Dance at George Mason University said, "Mason's School of Dance is delighted to partner with Lucy and provide a home for the Dance for PD Program in Northern Virginia. We look forward to further enriching the learning experience of our students by highlighting the impact of dance beyond the stage and fostering new connections with members of the Parkinson's Disease community."

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease associated with progression of motor dysfunction within the first 5 years of diagnosis. A July 2021 study published in Brain Sciences entitled "Parkinson's Disease Motor Symptom Progression Slowed with Multisensory Dance Learning over 3-Years," demonstrates a clear correlation between dance movement and the slowing of disease progression. The study states that over three years, "the daily rate of motor decline was zero among the dancers, indicating no motor impairment, whereas among the nondancers, the motor decline during follow-up was as average as expected."

Dance for PD is a movement-based class that begins slowly with warm-up movements and progresses to combinations of movements to a variety of uplifting music. The class offers not only physical benefits, but also reduces the dancers' social isolation which is commonly associated with this neurological disease.

Lucy Bowen has been leading Dance for PD classes for thirteen years. BMDC is the only Dance Company that is a licensed affiliate of the Mark Morris Dance Group's researched-backed Dance for PD program in the Mid-Atlantic region. Participants are empowered to explore movement and music, during which participants report a decrease in physical symptoms and improved psychological and emotional benefits. Since 2008, BMDC has served over 900 people living with Parkinson's as part of the program.

Registration details are forthcoming. For more information about schedule, registration and teacher training workshops, interested parties should visit each specific organization.

REGISTRATION DETAILS

The Kennedy Center

Contact: educationdance@kennedy-center.org

https://www.kennedy-center.org/

Starting in October, Dance for PD classes will be held in the REACH on Wednesday afternoons.

George Mason University

Contact: Shaun B. D'Arcy; sboyleda@gmu.edu

https://dance.gmu.edu/about/dance-pd

Classes will take place Friday from 1:00-2:15 p.m., starting October 1 - November 19, 2021 in the deLaski Performing Arts Building, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA.

Maryland Youth Ballet

Contact: info@marylandyouthballet.org

https://www.marylandyouthballet.org/dance-for-pd/

Classes will be offered in studio and virtually on Tuesday from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m., starting October 5 - December 14, and in the new year from January 11 - May 23.


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