It was a regular day of work when Sue Miles felt the first symptoms. It started off with a restless, involuntary tremor in her hands - noticeable in her writing - accompanied by a stiffness in her left leg. Six months later, doctors gathered together all the symptoms and finally put a name to her condition.
Sue was only 39 when diagnosed with Parkinson’s, joining more than 10 million people worldwide living with the disease. Like many others, she had to discover a new way of living.
The causes for this condition haven’t been completely unravelled just yet. Currently, studies around the world are attempting to crack that mystery. But there is one thing that researchers are certain about. Exercise is essential to prevent and control Parkinson’s.
One could then ask: what are the best types of exercise for those living with the disease? The answer depends on who you ask. But Sue would put dance on top of that list.
‘Dance for Parkinson’s’ is a not-for-profit organisation founded in the US by Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Since 2001, the organisation has been supporting people with the condition and their families to find joy and relief through dance.
Throughout the years, the organisation has expanded its activities beyond the North American borders, partnering with institutions across 25 countries, including Australia.
Dr Erica Rose Jeffrey is the powerhouse behind Dance for Parkinson’s Australia (DPA), and the person responsible for kicking-off its Asia Pacific activities back in 2012.
Erica is a life-long dancer, and defines herself as a ‘dance-activist’. She believes in the power of movement connected to positive social change, and this is the exact fuel for her dance classes.