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Photo courtesy of Pamela Lappen

A prayer of thanksgiving ends the Joy of Movement dance class at Desert Spring United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. The class is for people with Parkinson's disease.

Photo courtesy of Pamela Lappen

Joy of Movement class members begin their dance while sitting and stand as their bodies allow.

Photo courtesy of Pamela Lappen

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Dancing with Parkinson’s

 

Christine Kumar
January-February 2017

It Worked for Us

The Joy of Movement is a dance class for people with Parkinson's disease.

At Desert Spring United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, men and women who have the disease meet each Thursday at the church to dance. Pamela Lappen, a member of Desert Spring, teaches the group.

Lappen began dance training for people with Parkinson's in 2011 and helped develop and grow two other classes in California and Nevada. With the encouragement of her pastor, the Rev. David Devereaux, she began the dance ministry at Desert Spring in May 2016.

In class, the dancers start in a seated position and then stand to allow more movements. Lappen believes the dancers will improve their thinking as they build stamina, flexibility, postural stability, coordination, confidence and relationships with partners.

One student said the class has been very helpful, and she loves the atmosphere where she can connect with others with the same disease, share stories and encourage one another. She also appreciates Lappen's dedication to the class.

"The class is open to the community," said Lappen. "Spouses and caregivers are also encouraged to participate." As class ends, the men and women stand in a circle, hold hands, lift them up and give thanks to God.

"Dance is the first and foremost stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body," Lappen said. "The essence of dance is joy."

AT A GLANCE: Desert Spring United Methodist Church | 120 N. Pavilion Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 891449 | 702-256-5933 | DesertSpringUMC@gmail.com | www.DesertSpringChurch.com | The Rev. David K. Devereaux, pastor | Average worship attendance: 753 | Desert Southwest Conference

Christine Kumar is a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send story ideas to interpreter@umcom.org.