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June Parkinson's Spotlight

Learn more about Rachelle Smith-Stallman

June Parkinson's Spotlight

Rachelle Smith-Stallman is a board certified dance/movement therapist,  NYS licensed creative arts therapist, a dancer, and a choreographer. Rachelle also has extensive training through the Mark Morris Dance Group, a research supported dance program just for people with Parkinson's Disease. Through her certification with IMPROVment®  she blends neuroscience and dance together to give her participants the best class possible. Today, Rachelle is the leader of Dance Beyond Parkinson's, an incredible local weekly class that promotes connection and movement through dance. She also offers this class weekly on zoom.
Classes on Tuesday at 1:30
with Rachelle Smith-Stallman at Rudy A. Ciccotti Recreation Center
30 Aviation Road, Colonie
$5.00 per class - first class free
In this class people with movement disorders and their care partners are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative.

Partner not required. Walkers and wheelchairs welcome.

Rachelle also leads a ZOOM Dance Beyond Parkinson's class on Thursdays at 1:30.

email Rachelle at for the ZOOM link.
Rachelle's career first started with ballet in kindergarten,  She participated in her Texas high school drill team and since then, anywhere she lived she was always brought back to dance. She received a Bachelors from University of New Mexico in dance and continued dancing throughout her life. Her love of working with people and dance  naturally led her to receive her Master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy.  Over the years, Rachelle has worked with many different populations.  - babies, children, teens, pregnant and postpartum women, alcohol , drug rehab, and of course people with Parkinson's. Rachelle was drawn to working with people with Parkinson's after her cousin and two friends were diagnosed. "I felt like I needed to do something to help," she shared.

When asked what makes working with people with Parkinson's different, she shared "I work with a lot of people my own age so it is like I am with my peers. My dancers are so open, creative, and up for everything." Rachelle said every one of her participants brings incredible energy and desire to each class. According to Rachelle, dance can not only help with balance, strength, and endurance, but she sees a huge impact on her participants' self confidence and socialization.

Rachelle has a bunch of exciting plans in the works! She is working on applying for a grant to choreograph a 5-10 minute dance for people with PD and is working with a few local organizations to offer more parkinson’s dance classes. Starting this month, she will begin to offer in person classes at the Center for Nia and Yoga in Colonie,  Although this class is not geared for Parkinson’s. Interested in learning more? Email Rachelle at

I had the opportunity to watch Rachelle lead 80+ people through a dance at the Healthy Parkinson's Community event this past April. It was just short of magical to see everyone's mood be uplifted. Smiles from cheek to cheek, belly laughter, and pure joy was pouring through the room.

"Dance is the best, it makes you feel good.”

An ode to our dance instructor, from Chris:

"I'd like to make it official. When it comes to leading a class called "Dance Beyond Parkinson's", there can be no peer for our dance leader/instructor Rachelle Smith-Stallman. Rachelle has a very warm, welcoming manner and boy can she shake it and obviously lives to dance. We are so blessed that she has been our instructor these past 8 years or so. She has chosen to bring happiness and sunshine to those of us who have Parkinson's Disease. Dance for us is a cleansing of the cobwebs and an expression of joy in moving to good music and seeing all those frozen masks smiling! Rachelle has been an enthusiastic presence for those of us who like to shake our booties! She won't make you as good as Fred Astaire on the dancefloor but I would encourage everyone to give her dance class a chance. There's everything to gain and nothing to lose. So come on down to the Ciccotti Center in Colonie and have some fun!
Thank you, Rachelle!!

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