What the Research says about dance for people with Parkinson’s

Research has looked at the physical, psychological and social benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s. Download the Dance for Parkinson’s: Translating Knowledge Into Action summary presentation, which offers an overview on research to date.



The following is a corresponding reference list of primary research, reviews and other related papers.

Primary Research (i.e. studies assessing effects of dance on people with PD)

  1. Batson, G. (2010). Feasibility of an intensive trial of modern dance for adults with Parkinson disease. Complementary Health Practice Review15(2), 65-83.
  2. Batson, G., Migliarese, S. J., Soriano, C., H. Burdette, J., & Laurienti, P. J. (2014). Effects of improvisational dance on balance in Parkinson's disease: a two-phase fMRI case study. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics32(3), 188-197.
  3. Bearss, K. A., McDonald, K. C., Bar, R. J., & DeSouza, J. F. (2017). Improvements in Balance and Gait Speed after a 12 Week Dance Intervention for Parkinson's Disease.Advances in Integrative Medicine.
  4. Blandy, L. M., Beevers, W. A., Fitzmaurice, K., & Morris, M. E. (2015). Therapeutic argentine tango dancing for people with mild Parkinson’s disease: a feasibility study. Frontiers in Neurology6, 122
  5. Bognar, S., DeFaria, A. M., O’Dwyer, C., Pankiw, E., Simic Bogler, J., Teixeira, S., ... & Evans, C. (2016). More than just dancing: experiences of people with Parkinson’s disease in a therapeutic dance program. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-6.
  6. Cameron, I., Brien, D., Links, K., Robichaud, S., Ryan, J., Munoz, D., & Chow, T. (2013). Changes to saccade behaviors in Parkinson’s disease following dancing and observation of dancing. Frontiers in Neurology4, 22.
  7. de Dreu, M. J., Kwakkel, G., & van Wegen, E. E. (2015). Partnered Dancing to Improve Mobility for People With Parkinson's Disease. Frontiers in Neuroscience9.
  8. de Natale, E. R., Paulus, K. S., Aiello, E., Sanna, B., Manca, A., Sotgiu, G., ... & Deriu, F. (2016). Dance therapy improves motor and cognitive functions in patients with Parkinson’s disease. NeuroRehabilitation, (Preprint), 1-4.
  9. Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2012). Randomized controlled trial of community-based dancing to modify disease progression in Parkinson disease. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair26(2), 132-143.
  10. Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2014). Are the effects of community-based dance on Parkinson disease severity, balance, and functional mobility reduced with time? A 2-year prospective pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine20(10), 757-763.
  11. Foster, E. R., Golden, L., Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2013). Community-based Argentine tango dance program is associated with increased activity participation among individuals with Parkinson's disease. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation94(2), 240-249.
  12. J. Lee, S.-Y. Kim, Y. Chae, M.-Y. Kim, C. Yin, W.-S. Jung, K.-H. Cho, S.-N. Kim, H.-J. Park, H. Lee. (2012). QI dance in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, 18(2), S157.
  13. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2009). Effects of dance on movement control in Parkinson's disease: a comparison of Argentine tango and American ballroom. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine41(6), 475-481.
  14. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2009). Health-related quality of life and alternative forms of exercise in Parkinson disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 15(9), 644-648.
  15. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2009). Short duration, intensive tango dancing for Parkinson disease: an uncontrolled pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine17(4), 203-207.
  16. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2010). Effects of dance on balance and gait in severe Parkinson disease: a case study. Disability and Rehabilitation32(8), 679-684.
  17. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2010). Effects of dance on gait and balance in Parkinson’s disease: a comparison of partnered and nonpartnered dance movement. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair24(4), 384-392.
  18. Hackney, M. E., Kantorovich, S., & Earhart, G. M. (2007). A study on the effects of Argentine tango as a form of partnered dance for those with Parkinson disease and the healthy elderly. American Journal of Dance Therapy29(2), 109-127.
  19. Hackney, M. E., Kantorovich, S., Levin, R., & Earhart, G. M. (2007). Effects of tango on functional mobility in Parkinson's disease: a preliminary study. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy31(4), 173-179.
  20. Hashimoto, H., Takabatake, S., Miyaguchi, H., Nakanishi, H., & Naitou, Y. (2015). Effects of dance on motor functions, cognitive functions, and mental symptoms of Parkinson's disease: a quasi-randomized pilot trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine23(2), 210-219.
  21. Heiberger, L., Maurer, C., Amtage, F., Mendez-Balbuena, I., Schulte-Mönting, J., Hepp-Reymond, M. C., & Kristeva, R. (2011). Impact of a weekly dance class on the functional mobility and on the quality of life of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience3, 14.
  22. Houston, S., & McGill, A. (2013). A mixed-methods study into ballet for people living with Parkinson's. Arts & Health5(2), 103-119.
  23. Koch, S. C., Mergheim, K., Raeke, J., Machado, C. B., Riegner, E., Nolden, J., ... & Hillecke, T. K. (2016). The Embodied Self in Parkinson's Disease: Feasibility of a Single Tango Intervention for Assessing Changes in Psychological Health Outcomes and Aesthetic Experience. Frontiers in Neuroscience10.
  24. Lee, N. Y., Lee, D. K., & Song, H. S. (2015). Effect of virtual reality dance exercise on the balance, activities of daily living, and depressive disorder status of Parkinson’s disease patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science27(1), 145-147.
  25. Lewis, C., Annett, L. E., Davenport, S., Hall, A. A., & Lovatt, P. (2014). Mood changes following social dance sessions in people with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105314529681.
  26. Marchant, D., Sylvester, J. L., & Earhart, G. M. (2010). Effects of a short duration, high dose contact improvisation dance workshop on Parkinson disease: a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine18(5), 184-190.
  27. McKee, K. E., & Hackney, M. E. (2013). The effects of adapted tango on spatial cognition and disease severity in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Motor Behavior45(6), 519-529.
  28. McNeely, M. E., Mai, M. M., Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2015). Differential effects of tango versus dance for PD in Parkinson disease. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience7.
  29. Murray, E. A., Jung, C. H., Millar, J., Daniel, L. M., Talles, E., Dunlop, S. R., ... & Ying, S. H. (2010, January). Dance therapy: Effect on gait measures and quality of life in Parkinson's disease patients. In Movement Disorders (Vol. 25, No. 7, pp. S301-S301).
  30. Natbony, L. R., Zimmer, A., Ivanco, L. S., Studenski, S. A., & Jain, S. (2013). Perceptions of a videogame-based dance exercise program among individuals with Parkinson's disease. GAMES FOR HEALTH: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications2(4), 235-239.
  31. Romenets, S. R., Anang, J., Fereshtehnejad, S. M., Pelletier, A., & Postuma, R. (2015). Tango for treatment of motor and non-motor manifestations in Parkinson's disease: a randomized control study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine23(2), 175-184.
  32. Shanahan, J., Morris, M. E., Bhriain, O. N., Volpe, D., Richardson, M., & Clifford, A. M. (2015). Is Irish set dancing feasible for people with Parkinson's disease in Ireland?. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice21(1), 47-51.
  33. Ventura, M. I., Barnes, D. E., Ross, J. M., Lanni, K. E., Sigvardt, K. A., & Disbrow, E. A. (2016). A pilot study to evaluate multi-dimensional effects of dance for people with Parkinson's disease. Contemporary Clinical Trials51, 50-55.
  34. Volpe, D., Signorini, M., Marchetto, A., Lynch, T., & Morris, M. E. (2013). A comparison of Irish set dancing and exercises for people with Parkinson’s disease: a phase II feasibility study. BMC Geriatrics13(1), 54.
  35. Westbrook, B. K., & McKibben, H. (1989). Dance/movement therapy with groups of outpatients with Parkinson's disease. American Journal of Dance Therapy11(1), 27-38.
  36. Westheimer, O., McRae, C., Henchcliffe, C., Fesharaki, A., Glazman, S., Ene, H., & Bodis-Wollner, I. (2015). Dance for PD: a preliminary investigation of effects on motor function and quality of life among persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Journal of Neural Transmission122(9), 1263-1270.
  37. Zafar, M., Bozzorg, A., & Hackney, M. E. (2016). Adapted Tango improves aspects of participation in older adults versus individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-8.


  1. De Dreu, M. J., Van Der Wilk, A. S. D., Poppe, E., Kwakkel, G., & Van Wegen, E. E. H. (2012). Rehabilitation, exercise therapy and music in patients with Parkinson's disease: a meta-analysis of the effects of music-based movement therapy on walking ability, balance and quality of life. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders18, S114-S119.
  2. Earhart, G. M. (2009). Dance as therapy for individuals with Parkinson disease. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 45(2), 231.
  3. Lötzke, D., Ostermann, T., & Büssing, A. (2015). Argentine tango in Parkinson disease–a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Neurology15(1), 226.
  4. Mandelbaum, R., & Lo, A. C. (2014). Examining dance as an intervention in Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review. American Journal of Dance Therapy36(2), 160-175.
  5. McNeely, M. E., Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2015). A comparison of dance interventions in people with Parkinson disease and older adults. Maturitas81(1), 10-16.
  6. McNeely, M. E., Duncan, R. P., & Earhart, G. M. (2015). Impacts of dance on non-motor symptoms, participation, and quality of life in Parkinson disease and healthy older adults. Maturitas82(4), 336-341.
  7. Shanahan, J., Morris, M. E., Bhriain, O. N., Saunders, J., & Clifford, A. M. (2015). Dance for people with Parkinson disease: what is the evidence telling us?. Archives of Physical medicine and rehabilitation96(1), 141-153.
  8. Sharp, K., & Hewitt, J. (2014). Dance as an intervention for people with Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews47, 445-456.

Other Peer-Reviewed Literature about Dance for People with Parkinson’s Disease

  1. Ashburn, A., Roberts, L., Pickering, R., Roberts, H. C., Wiles, R., Kunkel, D., ... & Fitton, C. (2014). A design to investigate the feasibility and effects of partnered ballroom dancing on people with Parkinson disease: randomized controlled trial protocol. JMIR Research Protocols3(3), e34.
  2. Batson, G., Hugenschmidt, C. E., & Soriano, C. T. (2016). Verbal auditory cueing of improvisational dance: a proposed method for training agency in Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in neurology, 7, 15.
  3. Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2010). Recommendations for implementing tango classes for persons with Parkinson disease. American Journal of Dance Therapy32(1), 41-52.
  4. Houston, S. (2011). The methodological challenges of research into dance for people with Parkinson's. Dance Research29(supplement), 329-351.
  5. Kaski, D., Allum, J. H., Bronstein, A. M., & Dominguez, R. O. (2014). Applying anodal tDCS during tango dancing in a patient with Parkinson's disease. Neuroscience letters, 568, 39-43.
  6. Marchant, D. W. (2016). Dancing with Disease: A Dancer’s Reflections on Moving with people with parkinson’s and Memory Loss. Frontiers in Neurology, 7.
  7. McGill, A., Houston, S., & Lee, R. Y. (2014). Dance for Parkinson's: a new framework for research on its physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits. Complementary therapies in medicine22(3), 426-432.
  8. Seidler, K. J., Duncan, R. P., McNeely, M. E., Hackney, M. E., & Earhart, G. M. (2016). Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a telerehabilitation approach to group adapted tango instruction for people with Parkinson disease. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. https://doi.org/10.1177/1357633X16668092
  9. Shanahan, J., Bhriain, O. N., Morris, M. E., Volpe, D., & Clifford, A. M. (2016). Irish set dancing classes for people with Parkinson's disease: The needs of participants and dance teachers. Complementary Therapies in Medicine27, 12-17.
  10. Soriano, C. T., & Batson, G. (2011). Dance-making for adults with Parkinson disease: one teacher’s process of constructing a modern dance class. Research in Dance Education12(3), 323-337.