Bowen McCauley Dance Company (BMDC), an award-winning contemporary dance company with a legacy of community engagement, announces a partnership with Maryland Youth Ballet (MYB) to continue free Dance for Parkinson’s Disease (Dance for PD®) classes. Earlier this year, BMDC announced that its current 25thseason will be its last, but this program will ensure that this essential community offering continues, thanks to a sizable anonymous donation. A faculty member at MYB for three decades, this partnership will allow Lucy Bowen McCauley to continue teaching and sharing the joy of dance with people who have Parkinson’s Disease.
Alyce Jenkins, executive director at MYB, said, “MYB has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Lucy as a faculty member and with BMDC, which it hosted as a resident company for over 20 years. We are thrilled to be able to again offer the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease classes when COVID restrictions are lifted and it is safe to return in-studio.”
McCauley has been leading Dance for PD® classes for 13 years. BMDC is the only dance company that is a licensed affiliate of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s researched-backed Dance for PD® program in the Mid-Atlantic region. Participants are empowered to explore movement and music, during which participants report a decrease in physical symptoms and improved psychological and emotional benefits. Since 2009, BMDC has served over 800 people living with Parkinson’s as part of the program.
“As BMDC’s artistic director and a Dance for PD® certified teaching artist, Lucy has been a passionate and tireless champion for dance experiences that are inclusive and accessible for people living with Parkinson’s and other movement challenges,” said David Leventhal, program director for Dance for PD® at Mark Morris Dance Group. “Admirably, she has made Dance for PD® an individual and organizational priority, and her talents, expertise and compassion continue to make an indelible impact on the region and beyond. We are so pleased that Lucy will be partnering with MYB to sustain a program that has become a lifeline for so many.”
When COVID-19 hit last year, McCauley shifted her programming to free, online weekly Dance for PD® classes. While she misses being in the studio in person with her students, she has found that offering online classes has dramatically increased access for participants, who already struggle with social isolation, or simply feel more comfortable exploring movement from the comfort and privacy of their own home. So much so, that she plans to continue with a hybrid online component once the pandemic restrictions are lifted. Currently, BMDC offers three, free weekly online Dance for PD® classes, along with on-demand classes available on the company’s YouTube channel.
The shift to online livestream performances is an additional opportunity for BMDC to fulfill its mission to “make contemporary dance accessible to all, through performances and community outreach activities,” and make exceptional artistic programming accessible to all. BMDC will be livestreaming its Season Opening Performance – Live from the Kennedy Center for One Night on May 26, at 7pm. Performed live and broadcast free via livestream, the season opener features three pieces that demonstrate the range of McCauley’s choreographic work: Trois Rêves, Dances of the Yogurt Maker and Far Behind.
For more information on Bowen McCauley Dance Company, visit www.bmdc.org.