The Dance and Parkinson’s program at Rutgers University is a community outreach project of the dance department which offers free programs open to the public that primarily serve people with Parkinson’s disease (PWP), their families, and care-givers. Initiated by Dance Chair and Artistic Director Julia M. Ritter with a symposium featuring scientists, dance artists, and community members in October 2014, the program was established in spring 2015 by dance faculty Dr. Jeff Friedman, based on his long-time association with dance artist Pamela Quinn. Quinn, a New York City-based choreographer and performer, has been living with Parkinson’s since 1995. Quinn’s unique approach to generating personal solutions based on her movement expertise inspired Friedman to seek out models for a dance movement-based program for people with Parkinson’s to serve the Central New Jersey region. The Dance for PD program at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn NY provided that model and director David Levanthal was instrumental in supporting the development of the pilot program at Rutgers University.

The Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts is the primary sponsor for the Dance and Parkinson’s program; additional partners include the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, New Jersey Chapter Information and Referral Service; the New Jersey Ballet; and the Aidekman Family Foundation.