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URBANA — People with Parkinson’s disease can take part in free monthly dance-based classes at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Studies have shown dance can have therapeutic benefits for people with Parkinson’s, a progressive nervous system disease affecting movement.

The local Dance for People with Parkinson’s program is in its 10th year.

The dance sessions are held on one Friday a month in the Level 2 drama rehearsal room at Krannert, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U.

The next class is set for 10 a.m. Friday. Next month’s class will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 13.

Advance registration isn’t required.

The program is intended to help participants with preserving and improving their balance, flexibility and strength and to build a community of people with Parkinson’s and their supporters, according to Krannert.

The classes focus more on movement rather than technique, according to coordinator Whitney Havice.

Family members and caregivers can and do come along and sometimes participate in the classes, she said.

“It kind of creates more of a sense of community and support, and I think it’s nice for them to kind of get a sense of what the program actually does for people,” she said.

The program was launched in November 2009 by the Krannert and dance staff at Illinois in partnership with the Unity Parkinson’s Disease Support Group and the former Carle Clinic.

“The Dance for People with Parkinson’s program is an incredibly special demonstration of what happens when you are able to explore the creative empowerment of dance and the positive impact it can have on mind, body and soul as well as the connection and sense of family that it can create within communities,” Havice said.