WEEKEND: Dance classes for Parkinson's, MS, stroke patients set in Port Angeles, Chimacum
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Corrie Befort, a specially trained instructor, will lead dance classes for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke patients in Port Angeles and Chimacum this Saturday.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

Dance classes especially for people living with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or a stroke's aftermath are set for Saturday in Port Angeles and Chimacum with Corrie Befort, a specially trained dance teacher, and Linda Dowdell, a jazz pianist.

Their first class will go from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Sons of Norway hall, 131 W. Fifth St., Port Angeles.

Then the Chimacum session will go from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road.

Each class costs $10, while participants are encouraged to bring spouses, friends and other caregivers for free.

“Never let money keep you from participating; all are welcome,” noted Darlene Jones, a coordinator of the monthly sessions.

Classes meant to be fun

A professional dancer with a fine arts degree from Seattle's Cornish College, Befort puts fun at the top of her agenda.

“I hear from my students that the battle with Parkinson's can feel like a battle against one's own body,” she has said.

“The disease detracts not only from a person's sense of control over the body but also from their sense of pleasure.”

Relief can come through moving to music. Befort has seen this for herself.

“As a dancer, I know that dancing to live music with other people generates real, physical joy,” she said.

“I see joy rise up in their bodies. I may lead the class, but they are creating the pleasure they feel.”

Deborah Magallanes, a movement and meditation instructor, will assist Befort in Saturday's sessions.

The two women drive from their homes in the Seattle area to teach classes around the Puget Sound region.

Jones, for her part, joins the class “not just to support it but also because it's fun,” she said.

“People think, 'I can't dance.' But it is so fun.”

A short video showing dance classes at New York City's Mark Morris Dance Center, where the Parkinson's dance program developed, can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/cp88dhk.

For more information about the monthly classes, contact Jones at 360-457-5352 or djones@olypen.com.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 16. 2014 6:03PM
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