dance for pd®

Free movement classes for people affected by Parkinsons' Disease

 Dance for PD® originated as a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, a chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation.  The Dance for PD® teaching method is built on one fundamental premise: professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with PD.  Dancers know all about stretching and strengthening muscles, and about balance and rhythm.  Most importantly, dancers know how to use their thoughts, imagination, eyes, ears and touch to control their movements.  While dancing, whether in chairs, at a barre, or standing, everyone in the class explores comfortable dance movements in an enjoyable, non-pressured, social environment in which live music energizes, enriches and empowers.

These classes are appropriate for anyone with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how advanced.  No dance experience is required.  The classes combine elements of modern dance, ballet, tap, social dancing, Mark Morris’ choreography and other repertoire to create an enjoyable, stimulating, artistic experience for people with PD.  The method has been presented at the International Congress for Parkinson’s™ in Berlin (2005) and the World Parkinson Congress in Washington, D.C. (2006).  Articles about the class have appeared in Neurology Now, among other publications.  All classes include live musical accompaniment.

weekly schedule

Mondays, 12:00pm - 1:15pm

Thursdays, 2:45pm - 4:00pm


SUSAN WEBER, Director, Dance for PD® Program and the first DfPD Certified teacher in California, danced professionally with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, assisted Mark Morris on several projects at San Francisco Ballet, and is a member of Berkeley Ballet Theater’s ballet faculty. Susan graduated with honors and earned her M.A. at UCLA.

MEGAN LOW, Dance for PD® Grants Coordinator, danced professionally at San Francisco Ballet where she performed the title role in Mark Morris’ full-length “Sylvia.” She earned her B.A. at St. Mary’s College and her Master’s in Education at UC Berkeley.  Megan is a Core Faculty member and Coordinator for SMC’s LEAP Program.

MARIKA BRUSSEL trained on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School and danced professionally with Ballet Theater of New Mexico, Napoles Ballet Theatre, and Alameda Ballet. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Marika teaches ballet at ODC Commons, Bay Pointe Ballet and Alameda Ballet.

ERIN CARPER trained at The Washington School of Ballet and performed professionally with Ballet Met, Charleston Ballet Theater, and Ballet Chicago. As a modern dancer, Erin performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, and in the Bay Area with Deborah Slater Dance Theater and Kunst-stoff. Erin holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Performance through the SMC’s LEAP Program.

ALYCE MAURER obtained her B.F.A and M.A in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music and danced professionally with the Cincinnati Ballet Company.

Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Dance for PD® faculty also leads weekly classes in San Francisco in association with PDSF Network, an organization that creates opportunities that engage, empower, and encourage the physical and emotional well-being of the PD Community. For information about those classes, contact or 415-285-7377.

Dance for PD® Class,  photo by Diane Dew

Dance for PD® Class, photo by Diane Dew