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Allegro has announced THRIVE, described as “an exuberant, intergenerational program of music and arts designed specifically for folks over the age of 55, who want to live their senior years with gusto, optimism and a sense of belonging.” 

While the word “aging” may come with its share of stigma, the staff at Allegro believes that life’s most rewarding growth begins after years of wisdom, experience and journeying; older adults are the beacons of vitality and energy for our future generations. 

THRIVE builds on the proven concept of the arts as medicine and includes special programs: 

  • Dance for Parkinson’s Disease
  • Specially designed dance classes for individuals in wheelchairs
  • A community choir
  • A special guitar program for returning veterans. 

More classes will be added over time. 

“In researching arts and aging, we found some incredible reasons to pursue a program such as THRIVE in our community,” said Allegro’s Executive Director Sam Yoder. Among the benefits  were fewer falls, fewer doctor visits and a better mental outlook, he said. 

“We are not about entertaining people; we are about teaching them a new skill. There is a lot of development and growth that happens in our brains when we physically play an instrument, sing or dance,” Yoder said. 

“We welcome everyone, especially those who have never before participated in an arts program,” Yoder said. An emphasis is placed on developing friendships with other participants. 

Dance with Parkinson’s Disease is taught by Cecilia Dohm, one of only five people in Virginia certified to teach the program. This approach to dance has been proven to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 

Here are 10 reasons why dance is especially beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease. 

· Dance develops flexibility and instills confidence. 

· Dance is first and foremost a stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body. 

· Dance relieves isolation. 

· Dance invokes imagery in the service of graceful movement. 

· Dance focuses attention on eyes, ears and touch as tools to assist in movement and balance. 

· Dance increases awareness of where all parts of the body are in space. 

· Dance tells stories. 

· Dance sparks creativity. 

· The basis of dance is rhythm. 

· The essence of dance is joy. 

For more information on Dance for Parkinson’s Disease and other THRIVE programs, contact Cecilia Dohm at or 540-348-5088 or visit

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