Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cerebral Palsy and Dance

Last month, the New York Times featured an actor with cerebral palsy who vastly improved his motor control by learning to dance. The man, Gregg Mozgala, is 31 and has been undergoing physical therapy since childhood to straighten his gait. Through a performance with the organization Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Mozgala met choreographer Tamar Rogoff, who has been coaching him since.

Mozgala says that a tension-releasing technique, common to dancers, has been instrumental in allowing him to regain control of his body. "My body just really took to it...I did that for about 20 or 30 minutes, and when I stood up, I was walking completely differently. My feet were flat on the ground." He is now performing Rogoff's piece in New York, and will again at the VSA International Arts Festival in June at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

A rheumatology specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan says his progress sets an example for people with disabilities everywhere: "It’s not over," he said. "There's always a chance to change. You should not — you dare not — give up."

You can read the original article here.

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