What's an Adaptive Dance Lesson?
For three weeks each summer, a dance floor is set up in Damrosch Park and thousands of New Yorkers show off their moves at Midsummer Night Swing. Starting June 25, this year's programming features wide-ranging styles of music and dance—from tango to disco and more. Each night begins with a dance lesson, followed by DJ sets and live music.
For the third year, Midsummer Night Swing will include a free adaptive dance lesson led by the teaching artists at Mark Morris Dance Group's Dance for PD®. This year, the lesson will take place from 5:30–6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, before Leonardo Sardella and Mariana Parma's tango lesson and before Típica Messiez takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Originally created for people with Parkinson's Disease, this Dance for PD® lesson is open to everyone and is designed for guests with limited mobility. Following the free lesson, Dance for PD® instructors will remain on stage to offer simultaneous adaptive versions of moves in Leonardo Sardella and Mariana Parma's tango lesson.
Who's teaching the class?
David Leventhal is the Dance for PD® program director and founding teacher. With a 14-year dance career at Mark Morris's company, David has led lessons around the world and has trained more than 1,500 teachers in the Dance for PD® approach.
Misty Owens is a fellow founding teacher for the Dance for PD program. Misty began teaching the Dance for PD® classes in 2003 in Brooklyn. She was also part of the inaugural partnership with Midsummer Night Swing in 2017.
Can I stay for the tango lesson and dancing that follows?
Please do! David and Misty will be offering adaptive variations of Leonardo Sardella and Mariana Parma's tango lesson, and the dance floor is open to any ticket holders during Típica Messiez's performance. Tickets to attend the tango lesson and live music are available here: July 11 Event and Tickets
I've never attended an adaptive dance lesson before. What should I expect?
The lesson will run about half an hour, with participating dancers on the raised dance floor and the instructors on the stage. Dancers with any level of experience (including no experience) are encouraged to attend. The instructors will lead movement from a seated position, and dancers will follow along from a seat, a mobility device, or standing. Dancers will work with a partner—either a friend who came with you, another participating dancer, or volunteers who will assist in the dance lesson. Each motion will be taught and reviewed, and then tied together to create a piece of choreography by the end of the lesson.
If you choose to stay for the following tango lesson, David and Misty will demonstrate seated adaptive versions of Leonardo Sardella and Mariana Parma's standing moves from the stage.
I have limited mobility, but I don't have Parkinson's Disease. Can I attend the class?
Yes! This free event is open to the general public, and anyone can participate. While the program was originally designed for people with Parkinson's Disease, this class is structured to be enjoyable and educational for anyone with limited mobility.
Are there any benefits to dance classes for people with Parkinson's Disease?
There's been a great deal of research on this, with evidence pointing to changes in balance, functional mobility, confidence, quality of life, and more. You can see a lot of these studies here: Dance for PD® Research Information
In preparation for the adaptive dance lesson in 2017, David Leventhal and Maria Portman Kelly (Dance for PD®'s engagement manager) answered a wide range of questions on the history of Dance for PD® and the benefits of the model. You can find that article here: Dance is Everyone's Right
How can I find more classes like this?
Dance for PD® offers a large number of programs throughout New York City weekly. You can find dates, locations, and registration information here: Dance for PD® New York Classes
Can I attend other nights of Midsummer Night Swing?
While July 11 is the only date that includes an adaptive dance lesson, everyone is welcome to attend any night of Midsummer Night Swing. The dance floor is fully accessible for every event. For safety reasons, stools or seats are not permitted on the dance floor during the live music portion of the evening. You can see the full line-up for Midsummer Night Swing and purchase tickets and passes here: Midsummer Night Swing Events
If you have further questions about this event, please contact the Accessibility at Lincoln Center staff by email ([email protected]) or by phone (212.875.5375).
Katie Fanning is Temporary Assistant Manager, Guest Services and Accessibility.