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Reynolda House, Wake Forest University Present ‘Dancing with Parkinson’s’ Sunday at the Museum

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2014) – Reynolda House Museum of American Art is partnering with a dance professor at Wake Forest University to present an innovative dance performance by people with Parkinson’s Disease inspired by the museum’s exhibition “The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design.”

“Dancing with Parkinson’s: Choreography for the Seated Position” will be held Sunday, Sept. 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Reynolda House. Admission is free.

Christina Soriano, associate professor of dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Wake Forest, has for the last two years taught a weekly dance class for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Soriano is focused on exploring how improvisational movement in the seated position creates demonstrable physical and cognitive benefits for people with Parkinson's Disease, whose mobility and endurance are affected by the disease.

As part of the preparation for Sunday’s performance, the dance students studied images of chairs in “The Art of Seating,” visited the museum several times, and talked with co-curators Phil Archer and Julia Hood. Soriano asked them to reflect on the chairs and consider how they each suggest movement – or lack of movement, then choreograph their individual performances.

“Innovative designers and technologies continually expand and refine mobility, and the exhibition features eye-opening examples of early reclining, rotating, springing, and folding chairs,” says Phil Archer, director of public programs at the museum and the exhibition’s co-curator. “Some designers, like Eero Saarinen were very conscious about imbuing their designs with the aesthetic suggestion of potential energy. Of course many choreographers place chairs prominently in their works, with as many symbolic possibilities as there are dancers to convey them.”

“Dancing with Parkinson’s: Choreography for the Seated Position” is presented with the Department of Theatre and Dance, and the Interdisciplinary Performance and the Liberal Arts Center at Wake Forest University.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is one of the nation’s premier American art museums, with masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Gilbert Stuart among its collection.  Affiliated with Wake Forest University, Reynolda House features changing exhibitions, concerts, lectures, classes, film screenings and other events.  The museum is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the historic 1917 estate of Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolda House and adjacent Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village feature a spectacular public garden, dining, shopping and walking trails. For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org or call 336.758.5150. Connect at Facebook.com/rhmaa or @CurateReynolda.