I woke up Monday morning to a slight buzz throughout my body. “Today is the day!” I thought. I rode the BX bus from Boulder to Market Street Station, then took a quick 16th Street Shuttle ride, and walked a block or so to my destination. The buzz was still present as I walked through the door of the Colorado Ballet and read the note saying “Rhythm & Grace meets in Practice Room C.” I was 30 minutes early for the noon class. “Today is the day!” Wow!

Lindsay Vassar from PAR checked me in and then introduced me to Private Freeman, a young man with flashing eyes and friendly manner. “BUZZ!” A few more folks came to the check-in table. Moments later a woman glided in. “BUZZ! BUZZ!” She had to be a dancer, her movements were so balanced and fine. She greeted us and introduced herself as Sharon Wehner. She is a Principle Dancer for the Colorado Ballet, whose performances my wife and I have enjoyed many times over the past decade. “BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ!” And now Sharon and Private are the teachers for this new Rhythm & Grace class.

Practice Room C absorbed the thirty or other participants, most of us showing some symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Our attention was drawn to our leaders as they guided us through the physical movements of the dance. Their encouragement for us to move as much or as little as we felt ourselves able caused us to reach and bend to the rhythm of the music. I followed Sharon performing small segments of the swan’s patterns feeling the uplift of my spirit with my soaring wings. We transitioned to the plié and the grand-plié and a momentary arabesque. We moved to the dance sometimes separate, other times together. We mirrored movements of a partner to stimulate our muscles to respond to what our mind asked.

The hour dashed away too quickly. We barely had time to learn the basics of line dancing. Closing in a circle holding hands, receiving a head bow from our left and passing it on to our right was a solemn act. Each of us had found a new degree of moving freely.

Was I dreaming? No! I was soaring with Rhythm & Grace.

-Paul Browne

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