Dancing with Parkinsons Disease

Once a week, every Wednesday I get a reality check. It’s been happening for 5 years, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

See, 5 years ago I read an article in the Globe and Mail about a new dance class in Toronto for people with Parkinson’s Disease started by former National Ballerina Sarah Robichaud. On a whim, feeling incredibly inspired, I called her up.

The rest is history. I flew to Brooklyn, NY for training at the Mark Morris Dance Center, volunteered, observed, read everything I could on the disease and finally became a teacher for Dancing with Parkinson’s here in Toronto. I cried teaching my first dance class, watching our Parkinson’s students dance with such courage and joy in spite of the disease that is gradually taking over their bodies.

This is my weekly reality check. This puts it all into perspective. Their choice to face an insurmountable obstacle (read: degenerative, incurable disease) with such grace, courage and positivity is beyond humbling.

Dancing with Parkinson’s is a Toronto based charity that offers dance classes to those living with Parkinson’s. We aim to increase the accessibility of this revolutionary program to as many Parkinson’s sufferers as possible.

On May 30th, 2013 we are hosting our 5th annual gala fundraiser at the Capitol Event Theatre. Our featured performers include comedian Sean Cullen, Barenaked Lady Jim Creeggan, and CBC’s beloved host Andy Barrie. This night will be reminiscent of the dance hall days complete with an eighteen-piece swing band, a silent auction, and, of course, dancing by our PD students themselves! Get your tickets here!


Your support is crucial to the growth and sustainability of this program. You can show your support by buying a ticket to the event, making a monetary donation or by donating items to our auction. Your support will be gratefully acknowledged in all media leading up to and following the event.

See you on the dance floor!



You are enough

That’s really the most important thing to remember!

I read a wonderful piece the other day about a woman who felt deeply jealous because she constantly compared herself with her peers. One minute she’d be feeling great, making tons of progress when BAM – the news of someone else’s accomplishment or success would trigger the green monster of envy and negative self talk ” Why am I not that _____ ?” and “Why don’t I have _____” etc.

It’s something we have all done to sabotage our own success. Jealousy sets in, you start to feel like a failure and it’s not awesome! Studies have actually shown that social media only contributes to this phenomenon. Let’s face it – Facebook is everyone’s highlight reel. Most of those photos have been carefully selected. No one posts pics of sitting in traffic, cleaning the toilet or rolling out of bed with no make up on. You see someone’s artsy photo on Instagram of them sipping cocktails on a beach and think “Damn I need to get my shit together.”

Stop it!! STOP IT NOW!!!!

Did you get that? Seriously. Stop. Here are some strategies to keep the green monster at bay and shift your mindset to focus on your own talents, gifts and awesomeness. Put them on a sticky note by your computer (for when you’re checking that newsfeed!)

1) You are exactly where you need to be. This place you’re in offers special lessons you need to learn in order to grow.

2)  Toss aside the need to feel perfect. No one is. There…feel better?

3) Keep a journal and write down how you’re feeling. Find a friend you can trust and talk to them about it. You may be surprised how many people are feeling exactly the same thing!

4) Make your voice heard! When you feel valued and respected you will be less likely to compare yourself to others. You have unique gifts to offer, so let them shine!

5) Embrace your vulnerability. Tell yourself “I am not comparable”, “I am enough.” To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into someone else is the most courageous thing you can do!

Finally, check out this amazing Ted Talk talk by Brene Brown, “The power of vulnerability.”

To your infinite success!!!