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Art Moves Me: A Therapeutic Dance Program For People Living With Parkinson's Disease

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State today announced an innovative partnership with the National Parkinson's Foundation WNY to present Art Moves Me, a dance program designed for people living with the brain disorder. The initiative at The Center will distinguish Buffalo as one of only five cities in the world to offer therapeutic dance designed for this audience in an art museum setting. Two locations are in Europe, the Tate Britain and Museo Civico in Bassano del Grappa, Italy. In the United States, the Burchfield Penney will join the ranks of MoMA in New York City and Dallas Museum of Art.

Art Moves Me is a site-specific program developed especially for The Center by Cynthia Pegado, based on the fundamentals of Dance for PD® by Mark Morris Dance Group, Brooklyn, NY.

“Each class will begin in the gallery with Charles Burchfield paintings where participants will discover their innate ability to interpret visual art using movement,” described teaching artist Cynthia Pegado, BFA, who will provide a supportive atmosphere to investigate creativity. “Guided improvisation techniques will awaken the physical artist in participants while exploring the collection. We will also listen to passages from Charles Burchfield’s journals to transition into movement as we react with creative dance and musical accompaniment.”

The classes (17 sessions), free of charge, are open to any adults and accompanied children ages 8 and up, interested in exploring aesthetic appreciation of art. Registration is required, to sign up please call (716) 878-6011 during museum hours of operation. The class schedule is as follows:

Art Moves Me - Wednesdays 10:00 AM -11:30 AM
10:00-10:15: Arrival and sign-in
10:15-10:30: Class-specific tour of gallery
10:30-11:30: Burchfield journal reading and movement class

August 9, 16, 23, 30
September 6, 13, 20, 27
October 4, 11
November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
December 6, 13

Art Moves Me is exclusively designed for people living with movement disorders, no prior dance experience required. “We have special accommodations for those who use wheelchairs or walkers,” said Pegado. “If a participant cannot stand for very long, has difficulty with balance or is unable to stand at all, it does not bar them from dancing in this class. As an interpretive improvisational class, I use choreographic strategies that allow for self-expression within the range of individual ability, while challenging and expanding movement vocabulary and quality of movement. Some activities will be done with all participants seated”

An exciting demonstration of Art Moves Me will take place on the Burchfield Penney's Front Yard for M&T Second Friday September 8, 2017, 7:30 pm. Students will participate in a live, site-specific performance accompanied by video projection on The Center’s façade. A live musician will integrate dancing with the projections; a lighting designer will illuminate the participants as darkness falls.

Art Moves Me is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; administered by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.