A True Story

I wanted to share with you a story about a friend of mine, his name is Kevin.  Kevin and I met a couple of years ago at a concert.  I had been hired to entertain the audience during the band’s first and second set.  I invited people to come up to the stage and learn a quick dance step to go along with the music that the band was playing.  Kevin was one of the people to come up and volunteer.

Later that evening as I was going around and thanking the volunteers, I had a chance to sit and talk with Kevin and we found that we had many things in common.  We were both martial arts, though I had moved on to dancing, he was still a practitioner.  Our studios were both in the Concord, NC area so we were practically business neighbors.  We shared a love of teaching and learning.

He came out to one of my classes shortly after that and I introduced him to my passion – dancing.  It was at this time that I started to really get to know Kevin and also discovered that he suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

Did you know?  Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects over 1 million people in the United States.

I watch Kevin develop into a confident social dancer during our time together.  More importantly, I observed certain changes in his balance and poise.

People with Parkinson’s disease often demonstrate postural instability, gait difficulties, and impaired functional mobility, which can lead to falls and decreased quality of life.  Medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease do not fully address gait and balance issues and, consequently, additional approaches are needed.

One of the things that I love about my job is helping people change their life for the better.  This can happen through gaining confidence, learning new things or in some cases, meeting that special someone while attending my classes.  Kevin met Kelly, another student in one of my group classes.  What first started out as simple dance partners soon turned into a budding romance.  I take no personal credit for putting them together.  People being in the right place, at the right time are the work of God.  I am simply happy that my classes were a small part of that process.

The reason why I am telling you this story is due to an article that I read just this week.  The article, titled “Dance Therapy in Parkinson’s disease: Can the Argentine Tango Improve Motor Function?” was written by Neha Jinda, a 4th year medical student at NYU School of Medicine.  The article gives some great research data on how dancing has proving to help people with Parkinson’s disease.  Please take a moment to read it in full here: http://www.clinicalcorrelations.org/?p=5035

Remember that I said Kevin’s balance changed?  It had changed for the better….

Have you known people that have similar experiences?  Please leave your comments below.

Remember to keep dancing!



2 Comments on “A True Story

  1. Bravo Ryan! I love hearing stories like this – very inspiring.

    So many times doctors tell people with medical conditions to “exercise” but mentally it is hard. It sounds like this adds a fun and social piece to the mix – making it much easier to get the exercise in.

    What do you know about dance and fibromyalgia?

    • I have a few friends that suffer from it. They have not joined me for a class yet, but I hope they might some time in the future. Hope I might be able to write an article about their success, like my friend Kevin.

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