Life After Dance...

I've taught for over half my life and up until recently had no plans to stop anytime soon. However, I was just diagnosed with Parkinson's. It began as a slight tremor in my left hand and is slowly expanding to other body parts. Now, all of a sudden, I'm not sure about the future. I have never been one of those teachers who sits on a stool and points at an assistant demonstrator. I've always danced. The tremors are affecting that now, and the parents and students are noticing. So... I'm mostly just here looking for others dance teachers who may be in similar predicaments to share advice, feelings, whatever.


Well-Known Member
An acquaintance has had good results with meds so far. She swears that movement and light weight training help her symptoms. Of course everyone is different. Best of luck to you. This is a tremendously difficult situation for an athlete.
I just saw this today. I have no idea of the actual struggles of Parkinson's, but I found this to be inspirational. My best to you.

that was remarkable and beautiful, and omgosh how inspirational! Thank you so much for posting. I've been shown exercises to do daily for Parkinsons but nothing like this... I'm going to investigate this lovely man's case further!
An acquaintance has had good results with meds so far. She swears that movement and light weight training help her symptoms. Of course everyone is different. Best of luck to you. This is a tremendously difficult situation for an athlete.
This is so good to hear! My diagnosis is still so fresh there's tons I do not know. I've just begun meds and been shown some exercises. Thank you so much for your kinds words and response.
I'm still working, however, I'm starting to think more urgently about how I'll earn a living when Parkinson's prevents that. I'm single and my studio is my only source of income. I knew this day would come, but having the time line shortened up significantly has made me a bit panicky. Surely others here have begun to ponder this question. What are some of you thinking for the future?


Well-Known Member
Most of the members of the forum are amateurs, not professional dancers, so it's a very different situation. Have you had any thoughts about what you might want to do?
I'm a closet computer geek lol... I built my studio's website back in 2000 when everything was still html. There weren't any drag and drop programs like today. Most people find it tedious, but I love it. So, I'm investigating things in the computer niche because I'll be doing something I enjoy, AND something I can do seated LOL. Might as well laugh at my situation, things are gonna go downhill whether I do or don't, and I prefer laughter.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Do you know who Skippy Blair is? At one time her studio had grown to "4 buildings."
I believe she is 97 now, at one point injured her back "and the verdict was COMPRESSED DISC...MUST OPERATE...", had a stroke a while back, but continues to remain involved in spreading the word about her Universal Unit system and a Whole lot of good information about dance and music.

She wrote, "My personal PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE is that WHAT SEEMS TO BE A NEGATIVE...IS ALWAYS A POSITIVE IN DISGUISE. It is only our PERCEPTION that gives us momentary doubt."

Possible role model?
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I do not know of her, but I will after some time on the computer tonight. She sounds amazing, and yes, a perfect role model. Thank you so much for the info. I truly agree with her quote on perception... it's all how you look at it. =)


Well-Known Member
Welcome pgbsimon to DF. I recently viewed a "dance class" therapy for those people with Parkinson's, taught in England. I mix of sitting ballet arms, standing ballroom movements and music of course. There was noted improvement, I cannot remember exactly but I think if you search you tube or Facebook you might find this item. I wish you good luck on your journey, everyone is different and I do personally know that Micheal foundation has accomplished enormous strides in this area.


Well-Known Member
I do hope you're able to keep dancing, even if you stop teaching. I know two amateur competitive ballroom couples where the follow has Parkinson's. The one I know better has told me a number of times how much she notices her symptoms improve the more she dances.

Sending you best wishes for very slow progression!
Thank you, open door, so much for posting! I've been scouring the internet for info like this but haven't seen this before. Great resource. I truly appreciate your help.


Well-Known Member
@pgbsimon I unfortunately don't have anything helpful to add, other than I've known a couple of dancers with Parkinsons over the years. They were not teachers, but they did social dance quite a lot. I can certainly sympathize with what you must be going through, and I'm sending you lots of well wishes.


Well-Known Member
I can only add anecdotes here, in that I have also heard that dancing, and partner dancing in particular is beneficial for those with Parkinson's. There is a social dancer in our local dance community that has it (diagnosed a number of years after starting to learn to dance as an adult), and I think continuing to dance has been a good thing for them.

You might ask around with your local ballroom studios (as well as any doctors and therapists you work with) and ask if any of them are aware of any local dance programs for people with Parkinson's in your area. Though partner dancing is not your main dance area, you might enjoy and benefit from getting involved in partner dancing if you can find the right situation, not as a job, but as exercise and a beneficial pastime. If no suitable groups exist, private lessons might be an option if you found the right teacher, and then each session could be tailored to your wishes and abilities.

Just some thoughts, I hope it is helpful. Good for you for looking for every possible way to make the best of the situation and to stay positive. I hope you will keep us posted here from time to time, and let us know how it is going. Sending best wishes.


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