In a quest to learn about the benefits of music for people with Parkinson’s disease, we met Pamela Quinn, a professional dancer in New York City who was diagnosed with young-onset PD more than 20 years ago. These days, she teaches thriving dance classes in Brooklyn and Manhattan for people with Parkinson’s (check out her class PD Movement Lab for more), and gives talks around the world – from Chicago to Japan – about dancing and moving with PD (catch one of Pam’s inspiring lectures here).
Gary and Pam recently sat down for a chat, friend to friend, and let us join in. This is just a snippet:
Pam: “I was in shock because Parkinson’s was not really in my world view at the time – I was a professional dancer, I was a young mother and that was the farthest thing from my thoughts.”
Gary: “So what did you do after finally accepting that you had this chronic progressive disease that would be with you for the rest of your life?”
Pam: “Well, I didn’t accept it…”
Hear the 15-minute podcast
Beyond sharing her reaction to her diagnosis, Pam offered lots of tips for taking elements of dance, breaking down movements and using music to keep on moving (in addition to using prescribed medication, she notes).
“Music is fantastic,” Pam says. “Music is definitely part of my medicinal arsenal. It eases my gait. It propels through space. It helps initiate movement. It has no side effects. It’s cheap. And when they banned it from the New York City Marathon because it gave runners a competitive edge, I knew I was on the right track.”
Looking for more movement tips and tricks from Pam? She’ll be posting videos and practical pointers for people with PD on her new blog, PamelaQuinn.net.
A note from Pam: The content of this post and podcast is intended to provide experiential advice from a fellow patient about ways of moving to help manage your PD. It is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before engaging in any new exercise program. Pamela Quinn or PD Movement Lab will not be responsible for any injury or harm you sustain in performing any exercises or following any advice presented here in.
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