When the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the heavyweight boxing champion dedicated the rest of his life to raise awareness for this illness and established a centre in his name to facilitate research and find a cure for it.
Despite the many years of research, a cure for this chronic neuro-degenerative disorder is still not within reach.
However, as the number of cases associated with the illness continue to grow at an alarming rate, Dubai-based Kathak dancer, Dr. Vonita Singh came up with a unique way of alleviating the symptoms of this disease using dance, which is the ethos behind her social enterprise Movement Mantra (MoMa).
“I am the daughter of a Parkinson’s Disease (PD) hero – my father fought this Phantom PD for six long years before succumbing to it in 2009,” she said speaking of her background. “Using the technical rigour and experience gained during and after my Ph.D. in Anthropology, coupled with a lifetime devoted to Kathak, I validated my instinct on how to help People with PD by training with the New York based ‘Dance for PD group’.
“Movement Mantra (MoMa) has been set up with the belief that a holistic, mindful approach is necessary to treat people suffering from PD.
“The long-term objective of my work is to create awareness and interventions for people with Parkinson’s by helping them regain lost mobility through elements of dance, bring them together to share, learn and benefit from collective experiences.”
Dr. Singh has been championing the Parkinson’s cause for the last five years and in light of April being the Parkinson’s awareness month, Dr. Singh collaborated with independent theatre company Third Half Theatre to bring the story of her father to life on stage with ‘Still Dancing’ an original theatre production to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease in the UAE.
Speaking of her involvement with the production, Dr. Singh said, “the inspiration behind this play is my father and the trials and tribulations we went through as a family of care givers.
“More recently though, my inspiration is all the people afflicted with Parkinson’s who I have met in Dubai and the larger Middle East, many of whom have inspired me no end by their grit and determination.
“Whilst one may not be able to prevent PD, we can surely do with becoming better equipped to anticipate the challenges of both patients and care givers and thereby become more effective in our treatment and interventions,” she said.
In the absence of a proper medical cure for Parkinson’s, Dr. Singh affirms the positive impact of the set of non-medical interventions offered by MoMa across all spheres of an individual’s performance like mobility, social integration and emotional well-being.
The tickets for Still Dancing – A true story of a Parkinson’s Hero are currently on sale on www.Platinumlist.net and are priced at Dh100.
Title: Still Dancing – A true story of a Parkinson’s Hero
Venue: The Junction, Al Serkal Avenue
When: Friday 19:00, Saturday 15:30 and 19:30
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