Tag Archives: Dallas Musuem of Art

Movement Therapy

The local Dance for Parkinson’s Disease troupe prepares for its first public performance in collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art’s Jackson Pollock exhibition.

Misty Owens leads a class at the Dallas Museum of Art for the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease program. Photo: Courtesy of Dance for PD.

Dallas — Dance educator Misty Owens has devoted most of her career to discovering fun and creative ways for people with mental and physical disabilities to get involved in the art of dance. Her first experience working with adults with disabilities was with Joanie Carlisle’s dance troupe, Buen Viaje, in New Mexico where Owens also earned her B.F.A in dance at the University of New Mexico.

“I was literally in the classroom with them every week learning how to work with people with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome and anything in between,” Owens says.

This experience would later come in handy when Owens started teaching at the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group where the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) program was founded back in 2001.

“Mark Morris had just started his dance company in 2001 when Olie Westheimer, the founder of the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, approached him about classes for members of the group. The classes consisted of six people and were taught once a month by Mark Morris dancers John Heginbotham and David Leventhal. I was invited to teach a few months later when they began holding the classes on a more weekly basis and that was the beginning of this program building.”

Currently in its 15th year, the Dance for PD program offers specialized dance classes to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and care partners in six locations around New York City and through their network affiliates in more than 100 communities in 13 countries around the world.

Photo: Courtesy Dance for PD.

Dallas is lucky to be among one of these 100 communities thanks to Owens, who took the initiative and reached out to the Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society after moving back home in 2010. “It took a little while to get people following the program, but I started Jan. 4, 2011, with my first class and I had about nine students,” she says. “We would meet once a week at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas and over the summer we changed to twice a week because of the demand. And since August 2010, the Dallas program is the only one in the nation that consistently meets twice a week.”

Through the use of imagery and storytelling Owens is able to get her students to open their minds up to new ways of moving no matter how well their bodies are working. “The essence of dance is joy and there is nobody on the planet who dances that doesn’t experience some sort of release while doing it. For someone with a movement disorder 99.9 percent of their day is about navigating symptoms, but when they step into my class they become this entity who can be anything from a bird soaring to the swimmer Esther Williams. Using the imagination and creativity to immerse ourselves in an alternate world, which for me is the vocabulary of dance, that sort of possibility about an unknown discovery has so much potential.”

Owens has been wanting her students to perform for a while, and they get will their chance this Friday thanks to an artistic collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) facilitated by Amanda Blake, the DMA interim director of education and head of family, access and school experiences. The performance concludes a four-month long pilot program in which members of the local Dance for PD and Movement Disorders classes were brought into the DMA for gallery discussions followed by interactive dance and movement workshops.

“Amanda Blake has been an absolute champion and the creative force behind inviting me to come to the museum and do this access program with my Dance for PD students. Together we crafted out a four-month venture for people with Parkinson’s to come into the museum and experience a completely new world.” She adds, “One of the reasons many of my students agreed to perform was because they actually felt more liberated, and safe and free to express themselves in a completely new context in the DMA.”

About 19 Dance for PD students (some standing and some seated) ranging in ages from mid 50’s to early 90’s will perform a new piece choreographed by Owens and inspired by works of art in the Jackson Pollock: Blind Spotsexhibition which runs at the DMA through March 20. “The piece is comprised of three sections of movement and each section is inspired by different parts of the Jackson Pollock exhibition.” She adds, “And before that we are presenting an excerpt from the Mark Morris piece Falling Down Stairs from The Bourree Project. The entire performance is probably about 35 minutes long, but it’s their first venture into performing and I am excited to see what happens at the final presentation.”

The Dance for PD students of Dallas will take the stage for the first time in Mark Morris’ Falling Down Stairs and an original work by Owens at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19 at the DMA.

» More information about the event can be found at www.dma.org. And more information regarding the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease program is available at www.danceforparkinsons.org.

This preview was originally posted on TheaterJones.com.



Dallas Arts District Announces Newly-Elected Officers

Check out this press release from the Dallas Arts District announcing its new officers for the 2013-2015 term, including Charles Santos, Executive Director of TITAS and Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

Arts District CEOs Boost Collaboration Among Organizations

DALLAS, TX — May 7, 2013 — The Dallas Arts District announced Tuesday its new officers for the 2013-2015 term with a common goal of strengthening collaboration both among Arts District organizations and with the surrounding community. The group represents CEO-level leadership as the District gears up for the national conference of the Theater Communications Group this June, and in 2014 the Association of Art Museum Directors Annual Meeting and U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Dallas Arts District organization is a catalyst for cultural activity within the Dallas Arts District recognizing artistic excellence and the role arts organizations play in the ongoing development of North Texas’ social, educational and economic development.

“This group represents a wealth of knowledge and experience,” says Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, Chair of the Dallas Arts District nonprofit board and Eugene McDermott Director of The Dallas Museum of Art. “With the completion of the Dallas City Performance Hall, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Klyde Warren Park, we are now seeking ways that we can actively work together to reach our ultimate goal of inclusivity and community engagement crucial to the success of the Arts District.”

With Dr. Anderson as Chair, the 2013-2015 officers also include Vice Chair Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director at Dallas Theater Center; Secretary Charles Santos, Executive Director of TITAS; Treasurer Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre; and Past Chair Amy Hofland, Executive Director of the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

“It’s an exciting time to be in the Arts District and for Downtown Dallas,” said Catherine Cuellar, Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District. “We can outline and achieve common goals to spark momentum and enhance the vibrancy of the city so that everyone — not just in our neighborhood — wins.”

The Dallas Arts District is no stranger to collaboration. This month, The AT&T Performing Arts Center opens the District’s first coffee shop inside its new Ticket and Information Center, partnering with local vendor The Pearl Cup. Last week, TITAS announced its new season, including the Dallas debut of Shen Wei, the lead choreographer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics; in conjunction, The Crow Collection of Asian Art will present an exhibition and salon discussion series. Next month’s Theater Communications Group national conference has received support from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to be presented at the Dallas City Performance Hall, the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Latino Cultural Center in Deep Ellum.

About the Dallas Arts District

Dallas Arts District was created in 2009 as a nonprofit organization that advocates for the 68-acre Dallas Arts District and stimulates the economic and cultural life of the region. The Dallas Arts District is funded by grants, voluntary membership dues, sponsorships, donations and operational support from Downtown Dallas, Inc. For more information on memberships and sponsorships, please visit www.thedallasartsdistrict.org.


Media Inquiries:

Catherine Cuellar
Executive Director, The Dallas Arts District