Embodied temporalities and time management when dancing with Parkinson’s

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As a group living with a chronic neurodegenerative condition, which is known to affect the motor system in different ways and over time, people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are not easily grouped into uniform courses of illness. Rather the treatments of PD are informed by unpredictable temporal framings of ‘slowing down’ symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity and slowness, but also a life course that is not necessarily (but may be) shortened because of the disease (Parkinson.dk).

The popularity of therapeutic dancing classes and related forms of arts-based therapies in the treatment of PD have increased (Aguiar et al. 2016; Hackney & Bennett 2014; McGill et al. 2014). Research indicates that dance may help to delay, or slow down the development of symptoms of PD. But, like all other forms of treatment, dance cannot prevent the development of PD and its course of chronicity (persisting over time) and progression (deteriorating over time). At the same time, related but broader questions of time and temporality seem to emerge in the meeting between dance as an arts-based sensory practice and the experiences of living with PD.

In this paper we explore the embodied temporalities of dancing with PD, and how they play into and challenge traditional narratives and normative notions of ageing and illness as crisis; for instance, through highlighting the experiences of rhythm and pulse and the shared experience of moving and dancing together, as well as the recollections and memories of having received dance training earlier in life. In addition, we also discuss the amount of time and care that goes into managing everyday life in order to slow down the development of PD over time.

The paper is based on a new participatory and collaborative research study from Denmark focusing on the co-creation of knowledge about the lived experiences of people with PD through dance therapeutic practices.

Aguiar, L.P.C., da Rocha, P.A. & Morris, M. (2016). Therapeutic Dancing for Parkinson’sDisease. International Journal of Parkinsonism and Restless Legs Syndrome, 4, 1-25.
Hackney, M. & Bennett, C. (2014). Dance therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease: improving quality of life. International Journal of Parkinsonism and Restless Legs Syndrome, 4. 17-25.
McGill, A., Houston, S. & Lee, R.Y.W. (2014). Dance for Parkinson’s: A new framework for research on its physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22:3, 426-432.
Parkinsonforeningen (s.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.parkinson.dk/fakta-om-parkinson (accessed: 4 April 2019).
Publikationsdato25 okt. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 25 okt. 2019
BegivenhedChronicity and Crisis: Time in the Medical Humanities - Montclair State University, Montclair, USA
Varighed: 25 okt. 201926 okt. 2019


KonferenceChronicity and Crisis
LokationMontclair State University

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