Warm Hearth Village and Mark Morris Dance Group Transform Lives Through Dance

March 05, 2024

Co-hosted by the Moss Arts Center and Warm Hearth Village (WHV), Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) recently led a session of Dance for PD® at the Village Center. This session is the group’s internationally-acclaimed, research-backed global program that invites people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to transform their lives through dance. More than 40 peer-reviewed studies have shown the effectiveness and many benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s Disease and Dance for PD® held classes online, in New York City and around the world.

Jon Catherwood-Ginn, associate director of programming at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech partnered with WHV Fitness Director, Kenny Harrah to coordinate the event with Harrah’s Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) program students. In 2018, Harrah brought RSB, which is specifically designed to improve physical skills for those battling Parkinson’s Disease, to the Village. He and his fitness assistants, Marcus Burks and Jessica Robinson, are certified RSB Coaches and have been leading approximately 35 participants through drills targeted to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s and strengthen the body as part of the non-contact boxing-based curriculum.
Thirty boxers, family, and caretakers participated in the event led by Courtney Lopes and Taína Lyons. Class started with everyone dancing in their seats and progressed to dancing around the room then closed with hands held, individual dance moves, bows and applause.

Harry Mott, one of the participants, said the session was a real benefit for the people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. “It was a gray cold day outside, but there was sunshine and warmth on the inside,” he added. Harrah said it was great to invite the dance group to Southwest Virginia and have them work with the RSB clients. “Courtney & Taína were fun, knowledgeable and approachable and our participants loved the entire program. A big thanks to the Moss Arts Center and MMDG for making this happen.”
WHV Fitness is a proud partner of RSB and uses its resources and practical tools to encourage and enhance fighters’ experience and overall wellbeing. “It is so rewarding to see this program improve lives. We also offer support groups for anyone with Parkinson’s Disease and for their caregivers.” Contact Kenny Harrah at 443-3474 to join the program or the support group or visit retire.org to learn more about what’s available at the fitness center at Warm Hearth Village.