Impact of Dance Therapy on Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson's disease (PD) affects ability of individuals to perform unconscious learned motor tasks, affects quality of life and has been associated with depression. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of dance therapy on motor performance, quality of life and depression in PD patients, by comparing certain symptoms between a group of subjects with PD who undergo ballroom dancing classes and a control group of subjects with PD. The investigators will assess mental status, severity of PD, quality of life and depression using rating scales. Subjects will be randomized to intervention and control group. Intervention group will participate in dance therapy for 12 weeks and will be examined at 12 and 20 weeks. Control group will be examined at same time intervals. Classes will follow a curriculum designed by Arthur Murray Dance Studio Staff. The investigators do not anticipate significant risk for participants.

Full Title of Study: “Impact of Dance Therapy on Parkinson’s Disease”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: January 2013


  • Behavioral: Ballroom Dancing Classes
    • bi-weekly, 12-Week ballroom dance classes

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: intervention
    • group of patients receiving ballroom dancing classes
  • No Intervention: control
    • group of patients who will not receive dancing classes.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Effect of ballroom dancing classes on motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
    • Time Frame: 3 and 5 months
    • The improvement in participant’s motor function will be measured by the UPRS III score. The aim is to detect an 18-20% difference in UPDRS III scores among the two groups.

Secondary Measures

  • Effect of ballroom dancing classes on depression in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
    • Time Frame: 3 and 5 months
    • The improvement in participant’s depression will be measured by the Hamilton Depression Scale.
  • Effect of ballroom dancing classes on quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
    • Time Frame: 3 and 5 months
    • The improvement in participant’s quality of life will be measured by the Parkinson’s Disease-39 questionnaire PDQ-39 scale.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • 18 years and older, both males and females, all races and all ethnicities
  • Idiopathic Parkinson's disease diagnosed using United Kingdom Parkinson's Disease Society brain bank diagnostic criteria
  • Mild to moderate disease severity (Stage 2 to 3 on the Modified Hoehn and Yahr scale)
  • Stable medication regimen for a minimum of 1 month before testing
  • Ability to ambulate independently without using a walking aid
  • Ability to give informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

  • Prior enrollment in a dancing class during the last 6 months
  • Presence of another neurological or medical disorder likely to affect gait or causing frequent falls (rheumatologic/orthopedic disease, stroke, myelopathy, severe neuropathy)
  • Significant cognitive decline (MMSE ≤ 24)
  • Visual deficit
  • Hearing deficit that impairs music perception
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Symptomatic heart disease
  • Depression associated with suicidal ideation

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Arkansas
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Nancy Maalouf, MD, Principal Investigator, University of Arkansas


Gelb DJ, Oliver E, Gilman S. Diagnostic criteria for Parkinson disease. Arch Neurol. 1999 Jan;56(1):33-9. Review.

Park A, Stacy M. Non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. J Neurol. 2009 Aug;256 Suppl 3:293-8. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-5240-1. Review.

Ransmayr G. Physical, occupational, speech and swallowing therapies and physical exercise in Parkinson's disease. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2011 May;118(5):773-81. doi: 10.1007/s00702-011-0622-9. Epub 2011 Apr 3. Review.

Ellgring H, Seiler S, Perleth B, Frings W, Gasser T, Oertel W. Psychosocial aspects of Parkinson's disease. Neurology. 1993 Dec;43(12 Suppl 6):S41-4.

Barichella M, Cereda E, Pezzoli G. Major nutritional issues in the management of Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2009 Oct 15;24(13):1881-92. doi: 10.1002/mds.22705. Review.

Joanna Briggs Institute. The Joanna Briggs Institute Best Practice Information Sheet: music as an intervention in hospitals. Nurs Health Sci. 2011 Mar;13(1):99-102. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2018.2011.00583.x. Review.

Marwick C. Leaving concert hall for clinic, therapists now test music's 'charms'. JAMA. 1996 Jan 24-31;275(4):267-8.

Bradt J, Dileo C, Grocke D. Music interventions for mechanically ventilated patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Dec 8;(12):CD006902. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006902.pub2. Review. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;12:CD006902.

Nilsson U. The anxiety- and pain-reducing effects of music interventions: a systematic review. AORN J. 2008 Apr;87(4):780-807. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2007.09.013. Review.

Glover H, Kalinowski J, Rastatter M, Stuart A. Effect of instruction to sing on stuttering frequency at normal and fast rates. Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Oct;83(2):511-22.

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.