Therapeutic Arts

Students in Seattle's Dance for Parkinson's

It may seem counterintuitive: Ask movement-challenged people to not only move, but dance; or those with memory issues to observe the details of paintings. But that is exactly what a collaboration between some Seattle arts groups and health care organizations is off ering to patients, and their caregivers, with Parkinson’s and dementia. Dance for Parkinson's is a popular series of eight-week classes put together by the Seattle  eatre Group, Spectrum Dance Theater and EvergreenHealth that use dance and music to address symptoms such as balance, flexibility and coordination. Meanwhile, individuals with early onset or midstage dementia can turn to the Frye Art Museum’s Here:now, the only museum-based arts program in the state in which they can paint or sculpt in classes and tour the galleries.  e program is also the subject of a study by Dr. Lee Burnside, a geriatric specialist at the University of Washington, who is looking at its eff ect on participants’ lives. The classes aren’t a cure, says Shawn Roberts of Spectrum Dance, “but they have a real impact on quality of life.”