“Movin ‘It” with hip hop dance lessons for people with Parkinson’s disease


“I like to move, to move. I like to move, to move. I like to move!”

These words of dance tune, performed in the children’s animated film “Madagascar”, reflect a sad reality for many patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Some patients with Parkinson’s disease seem to be on the move constantly, which is known in the Parkinson’s world as dyskinesia. Dyskinesia causes involuntary movements that can affect the arms, legs, head, or the whole body. But what if we could channel this involuntary movement into something constructive, like dancing?

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I channel my movement into my tap, ballet and jazz lessons at a local studio. I have noticed that many Parkinson’s dance classes offered near me tend to focus on slower movements such as ballroom dancing. But what about classes for younger people with Parkinson’s disease, like hip hop classes?

Hip hop?

Yeah, I said hip hop.

It’s a movement

Hip hop is a style of dance movement rooted in African American culture. It is characterized by bounces and rocks executed in music. Although it is generally referred to as Dance style, hip hop dance is part of a whole culture hip hop which includes particular types of deejaying, graffiti and different types of movement, including break dancing.

In July 2015, British hip hop dancer and choreographer Simone Sistarelli organized her first hip hop dance class for patients with Parkinson’s disease. He was inspired by his passion for hip hop and his love for helping others in need. When he was a child, his grandfather had Parkinson’s disease. He remembers his grandfather moving constantly, which led to his first connection between Parkinson’s patients and hip hop.

“I realized that people with Parkinson’s disease were shaking without the music or the beat. And pop dancers like me train all their lives to vibrate to the rhythm ”, Sistarelli told Culturico.

Sistarelli’s hip hop class is called “Fall for Parkinson’s disease. “Popping refers to the rhythmic contractions of a dancer’s muscles to accentuate a musical rhythm. Thanks to a grant from the National lottery in the UK, Sistarelli is able to provide the class for patients at no cost.

According to an article published on the National Lottery website, Sarah Webb, creator of the South London Younger Parkinson Network, the first group to participate in Sistarelli’s hip hop class, noted that “as soon as the music goes on, your body s ‘animates one way or another. . It goes back to how it was before. It distracts the brain with music; you move to the beat and it’s amazing what your body can do.

Get up and be happy

I decided to try it myself. The class was very engaging and had participants from different stages of the disease. I was able to follow Sistarelli or watch other participants to see examples of different modifications. Full courses are available online.

Dancing has physical, psychological and social benefits, especially for people with Parkinson’s disease. I know that when I dance I can’t help but smile and be happy.

Do you have one of those days when your body wants to move but you don’t? Perhaps you are going with the flow and making the trip that your body is determined to take. Get up and dance!

“I like to move, to move. I like to move, to move. I like to move!”


To note: The news of Parkinson’s disease today is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or processing. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or processing. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a health problem. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional and do not delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of The news of Parkinson’s disease today or its parent company, BioNews, and aim to spark discussion on issues relating to Parkinson’s disease.

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