Where can you take a break from Parkinson’s disease with a group of friends to go places, laugh, create, and expand your imagination for a while, all without leaving your home? Learn the fun and benefits of improv and the immense joy that I and thousands, if not more, are experiencing from online classes. About a year ago, my friend and co-host of the podcast, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, Larry Gifford, (also co-founder of PD Avengers), told me about Tightrope Improv Theatre in British Columbia, Canada. The program was developed by Dr. Jonathan Squires, a Movement Disorder Specialist and Tightrope Improv Theatre’s Director of Improv for Work and Wellness, Dan Dumsha. I joined and completed the program, with excitement. I was hooked!
More Options to Choose From!
The instructors tailor the classes for people with Parkinson’s disease. The teachers are actual performers. The founders of Tightrope Improv Theatre are knowledgeable about Parkinson’s and are flexible in accommodating for any help that you might need. Participants can choose if they if they want to watch first, before they interact with the class. The exercises trigger opportunities for faster thinking and response, improving socialization, bonding with the class, unleash a great deal of laughter, involve storytelling, initiate creativity, and so many other health benefits that research is uncovering as we speak.
Improv is Good for You!
Dr. Robert Cochrane is one of those researchers who is delving into the benefits, both mental and physical. Robert teaches classes on improv and trains and educates groups as well as individuals on honing their communication skills through his non-profit, Yes and…Exercise! Dr. Cochrane’s ebullience, enthusiasm, and overall joy for the class, make the time in class fly on by. Students leave wanting to share their stories from the class and looking forward to coming back for more. Carepartners are welcome to join these classes. I attended Robert Cochrane’s class for free due to the generous sponsorship by the Young Onset Parkinson’s Network in supporting these sessions. I plan on attending future sessions, even if they are not free.
To Learn More:
There is no pressure in either group to participate. Both groups make you feel safe, encouraged, and happy to share their knowledge with participants.
If you are interested in learning more about improv and how you or someone you care about might benefit from improv, contact these providers for more information or to have them speak to your group.
- Tightrope Improv Theatre: https://tightropetheatre.com/improv-for-parkinsons
- Robert Cochrane’s Yes and…Exercise! non-profit: http://www.YesAndExercise.org