Time to Rediscover Dance and Music

Time to Rediscover Dance and Music

Slow Is the New Fast

“The music and movement started, I was filled with great joy. I was able to take the whole class and walked out feeling accomplished, encouraged with that passion for dance rekindled. Seeing the class participants enjoy music and movement and benefit from it was so thrilling. I saw the endless possibilities for those with Parkinson’s and for myself.” —Dance for PD participant

Some background

Steve was the love of my life for over 33 years. He died by suicide in 2015. Steve would always chide me on how I never knew the lyrics to my favorite songs. While Steve knew song lyrics and was moved by them, I thrived on feeling the rhythm of the music in my body — probably the reason I studied dance for so many years.

Why did I stop dancing?

When Steve passed, I lost my love of dance and music. After receiving my Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis later that year, I thought I might try Dance for PD at Lincoln Center in New York City to see if I could recapture that love of dance and music.

I left the class in tears, seeing how much I had lost, and never went back.

Fast-forward to the end of 2018, the song, and the book

More Than a Feeling” was playing on the radio. This is a 1976 Boston song and one of Steve’s favorites. Now that my life partner is gone, I find myself listening to the words of songs more. Steve’s penchant for learning lyrics spurred me to search for the words of that song. I noticed that the lyrics mentioned slipping away (“Slipped Away” is the title of Steve’s memoir, which I wrote).

Later that same week, a friend loaned me the book “Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello Life!” by Alex Kerten. Alex espouses the Gyro-Kinetic method for eliminating PD symptoms. What I got out of the book was that movement and music are key to attaining relief. On the first page of Chapter 17, “The Role of Music,” there were lyrics from “More than a Feeling”:

“I lost myself in a familiar song

I closed my eyes and I slipped away”

Hearing a favorite song of Steve’s from 1976, reading the book about Gyro-Kinetics, and seeing the song lyrics containing “slipped away” in Chapter 17, all in the same week, blew me away.

Is this a ‘sign’ from Steve?

Perhaps Steve is sending me a sign that I need to dance again and rediscover my love of music. That is the way I will take it. Now, I am listening to a lot more music, conducting imaginary orchestras, and dancing with abandon in my living room in an effort to ease my PD symptoms.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

—William W. Purkey

As I was putting the finishing touches on this column, over a week after I started it, “More than a Feeling” started playing on the radio.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Jean Mellano Editor
At the age of 62, I started writing to inspire conversation about mental illness and suicide after my life partner, Steve Tarpinian, took his own life in 2015. Seven months after Steve passed, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Now, in addition to Steve’s story, I am telling my own.
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Jean Mellano Editor
At the age of 62, I started writing to inspire conversation about mental illness and suicide after my life partner, Steve Tarpinian, took his own life in 2015. Seven months after Steve passed, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Now, in addition to Steve’s story, I am telling my own.

2 comments

  1. Louis Ezrick says:

    Music is great way to get positive thoughts and live better with Parkinson’s.

    We from Evolve NY, physical therapists always recommend positive thinking and every day life is better.

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