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‘Art as Lifeline’ topic of Amos Fortune forum

David Leventhal will be the guest speaker for the Amos Fortune Forum on Friday, July 25, at the Meeting House.

Leventhal will address “The Arts as Lifeline: Dance, Parkinson’s and Aging Well.”

In 2001, the Mark Morris Dance Group began a collaboration with the Brooklyn Parkinson Group to develop specialized dance classes so that people with Parkinson’s disease could explore movement in ways that were refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating, and creative.

The program was based on one fundamental premise: professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with PD.

What began as a monthly class for eight people has evolved into an internationally-acclaimed global program called Dance for PD. With affiliated classes in more than 100 communities and 11 countries, the program provides a beneficial, positive activity for people with Parkinson’s around the world, as well as a model for how the arts can successfully address issues of healthy aging and quality of life in chronic disease.

Leventhal is a founding teacher and program director for Dance for PD. He leads classes around the world and trains other teachers in the Dance for PD approach.Leventhal will explore the program’s origins and objectives, making the case for the role that the arts — and dance in particular — play in helping people maintain a sense of human identity in the face of health challenges.

Using Parkinson’s as a case study that reveals entrenched ideas about the efficacy of health care, he will discuss how the artistic and creative elements of dance open doors for a wide range of people who otherwise risk entering a state of permanent medicalization, and how participation in the arts provides a lifeline that allows individuals and families to focus on possibilities rather than limitations.

Leventhal’s parents have a home in Dublin.

The presentation is free and begins at 8 p.m.

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