Q&A with Alyssa Condotti on the Dance for Parkinson's event



Alyssa Condotti, a senior majoring in kinesiology of dance and nonprofit management, is the artistic director of Dance for Parkinson’s Disease, a national program that helps individuals with Parkinson’s express themselves through movement, according to the website.

The group will be at Rachael’s Café for Lee Formwalt’s book signing 3 p.m. Oct. 5.

Condotti said Formwalt, who regularly attends the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease classes, opened up the signing to the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease class, giving the program an opportunity to reach out to more people in the Bloomington area.

Q What does Dance for Parkinson’s hope to accomplish at the event this weekend?

A We’ll be letting people know what we do each week in Dance for Parkinson’s Disease.

We just want everyone to know what we’re doing each week because it truly is a beautiful space to create and make friends.

We want volunteers, people who want to dance in their later years, people who have Parkinson’s who think they can’t dance at this stage, and we want to show them that we can. It’s a great space no matter what progressive neurological disease one might be facing.

Q Is the goal of the group to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease research or to help the individuals express themselves through ?movement?

A It’s interesting. Parkinson’s manifests itself during tremors at rest, so when our dancers are moving, it’s almost as if they are entering an oasis without their disease.

They can escape the reality and what this debilitating disease brings to them on a daily basis.

We teach rhythms and dance movements so they can employ them into their daily life so they can find peace while doing monotonous movements like picking up a hairbrush or cooking dinner.

Not only do we find a space for people to create a community and non-judgmental space, but we also try and employ things throughout our class that will aid them in their daily life.

Q What kinds of events has Dance for Parkinson’s held in the past?

A We’ve been meeting every single week since September of 2012. We’re developing and growing stronger each year.

This is my first year as the artistic director, and I’m thrilled to have that sort of influence on the group. Each year we’ve become more well known from people in the community because we include anyone who wants to dance. It’s a great, creative space to discover freedom of movement and expression.

Q What has your experience been like with Dance for Parkinson’s?

A I began just as a teaching assistant, and then in December of 2012, the director of the national program trained so I could be a teacher, which I’ve been since January of 2013.

About 10 people come and dance together, and we really just create a safe space for something that might be seen as a socially isolating disease.

We make sure it is an open forum for creativity, expression and really anything that anyone wants to bring to the class. It’s been a fantastic learning experience.

In July of this year, I got promoted to artistic director. Now I attend all board meetings, supervise other teachers who have recently been trained and really just  try to expand this into something greater than it already is.

Q What does participating in this program mean to you?

A To me, personally, it means using dance as more than making myself feel good, it’s using dance as a therapeutic tool to show others that your body is not a limit and that their body is a tool they can use to express themselves each week.

They can find peace and understanding in that and that they can understand that they are artists and that they can express what they need to express with their bodies, although it may seem to them like a limitation. But it is completely the opposite.

They are still beautiful artists, dancers and creators, and I find what they do so much more beautiful than what I can do in the studio.

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