​Dance for Parkinson's classes provide a safe and creative environment for participants and their friends, family and caregivers to focus on movement. Through an engaging approach, students learn to enhance their aesthetic awareness and grace while addressing Parkinson's disease specific concerns such as balance, flexibility, coordination, gait, and depression. Teaching artists introduce movement from modern dance, musical theatre, ballet, folk dance, tap, improvisation, and choreography.

The mission of Dance for Parkinson's is to foster movement using a variety of music and dance choreography to enrich the lives of people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers.



  • Dance develops flexibility and instills confidence.

  • Dance connects mind to body.

  • Dance breaks isolation.

  • Dance invokes imagery in the service of graceful movement.

  • Dance focuses attention on eyes, ears, and touch as tools to assist in movement and balance.

  • Dance increases awareness of where all parts of the body are in space.

  • Dance tells stories.

  • Dance sparks creativity.

  • The basis of dance is rhythm.

  • The essence of dance is JOY!!!

Meet the Instructor


Jo Rivera

Bachelor of Science - Sociology

Minor in Dance

Eastern New Mexico University 1987

                     My Passion is Dance

     I have always loved to dance from the time I can remember. It is hard for me to sit still when I am listening to music. My body just takes over and moves to the beats and the rhythms. I even dance to the music playing in my head when there is no audible music to be heard. Yes, I'm that person dancing down the grocery store aisle and be-bopping to the tunes coming from the car radio...actually now, it's the Bluetooth!

     I team danced in middle school, high school, and college in New Mexico, graduating with a Minor in Dance. From 1998-2001, I performed with the Fantaptics, a tap dance group in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Our motto was, "Have taps, will travel." While living in Okinawa, Japan, I taught ballet and tap at the Kadena AB Youth Center and an Adult Tap class at the USO. In Tucson, AZ, I founded and directed the ORE TapKids at Ocotillo Ridge Elementary School. While being a military wife and mother of two beautiful daughters, dancing was not my first priority, but it was always just under the surface and I engaged with dance off and on throughout the past thirty years.

     In 2016, with my daughters grown and in college, I waltzed into the world of Ballroom Dance. My first love, DANCE, was rekindled!

Stepping into the ballroom world ignited a fire within me and my soul felt like it was home after a long journey. Dancing brings me joy. I knew deep in my heart that I had to do more than just dance for my own pleasure. I felt called to explore dance and movement to help a population of people with mobility issues. I was introduced to Dance for PD, based in Brooklyn, NY, at the Mark Morris Dance Center. I have attended the Beginner and the Advanced Level Dance Teacher training workshops and became a member of Dance for PD in 2017. 

     I hope to bring beautiful movements, expression, and imaginative elements that will allow joy to fill hearts, bodies, and minds.

                               Dancing with Joy,

                                               Jo Rivera

Disclaimer: Dance for Parkinson's - A Tapestry of Movement, is strictly an educational website. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and the content on this site is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the counsel of your physician, or another qualified health provider with any medical questions you have. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Classes Modeled after DANCE for PD® Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson's Group, Brooklyn, NY. 

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