Professor Rafi Eldor and Israeli dancer Anna Aronov dance during Eldor's Tedx talk. Professor Rafi Eldor and Israeli dancer Anna Aronov dance during Eldor's Tedx talk. Professor Rafi Eldor and Israeli dancer Anna Aronov dance during Eldor's Tedx talk. (Photo: YouTube)

A benefit of dancing you don't know

Professor's Ted Talk demonstrates how dancing can help combat Parkinson's.

Dancing is an activity that provides a brief physical and emotional release to many, but for Rafi Eldor it is vital to his well-being.

A celebrated academic, with a resume that includes a Ph.D from Harvard University and stints lecturing at both Columbia and Boston Universities, Eldor now teaches at a university in his native Israel. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008.

The degenerative disorder principally affects motor skills, and following his diagnosis he went looking for ways to thwart the inevitable physical decline he had apparently been condemned to.

He tried swimming and walking, but a curiosity with dance led him to discover that the discipline was the foil he had been in search of.

That's because the balance, sequencing, rhythm and aesthetic awareness necessary for dancing are seen as useful to people with Parkinson's. "The requirements for a dancer are just the opposite for symptoms of Parkinson's disease," Eldor explained during a Ted Talk he gave recently in Israel.

During the talk, Eldor, looking fit and healthy despite his ailment, movingly demonstrated his unique form of physical therapy with the dancer Anna Aronov.

And While Eldor's ingenuity led him to discover dance, it has in fact been embraced by a small but growing number of Parkinson's sufferers for some time.

For many years the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, NY has been offering classes to those so inclined. And with Eldor's public affirmation of its benefits, the number of Parkinson's sufferers who will find relief in dance is likely to grow.

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A benefit of dancing you don't know
Celebrated professor Rafi Eldor's Tedx talk demonstrates how dancing helps combat Parkinson's.