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Free dance classes for people with Parkinson's disease, other movement disorders, in Knoxville

People with any movement disorders are welcome to come out twice a week for free dance classes organized by PJ Parkinson's Support at Dancers Studio.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — If you're living with Parkinson's disease or any other mobility issues, you can now take free dance classes in Knoxville.

Whether you've danced before or this is all new to you, Dancers Studio in West Knoxville is the place to be twice each week for people with Parkinson's disease.

"The main purpose of it is to exercise because, with Parkinson's, that's one of the big problems with the joints and everything. So, this is a fun way to do it," said Cathy Chait.

She danced for nearly a decade as a kid, so she was glad to pick up her old hobby again.

"Even as an adult, I danced," she said. "I'm a widow now, but my husband danced too, so that was one of our favorite things to do."

Cathy's been going to dance class twice a week since PJ Parkinson's Support Group began hosting the free classes this spring. She brings her friend, Bonnie, with her and makes new friends along the way.

"We're all having issues in different ways. But we're there and like in this class, you do what you can do. You're not forced to do other things. So I think that's good," said Cathy.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that slowly impacts movement, making some of the intricacies of dance class important for people whose bodies are finding it harder to move.

That includes people like Bill Cartwright, who's never danced before.

"I can't tell my right foot from my left," he said.

He decided to give this dance class a try as a new way to help his body move.

"It's more active. It gives you more movement in everything," he said.

The class has participants moving for an hour straight. Whether you're sitting or standing, swaying your arms, or moving your feet, this is a space where everyone can dance.

"Well, some people can't. But I mean, it's fun," said Cathy.

Whether new or practiced like Cathy, every dancer in class found a reason to feel the music and smile.

"I enjoy all the people and the positive attitude," said Bill. "That's the main thing is to have a positive attitude."

That's something all these dancers have. Parkinson's disease isn't the focus of their lives while they're in class. Just the rhythm and beat of the music, and their steps as they dance.

These classes are held every Tuesday and Friday at 1 p.m. at Dancers Studio at 4216 Sutherland Ave. in Knoxville.

PJ Parkinson's guarantees the classes are free for anyone with any mobility issues.