A new program hosted by Quarry Hill Retirement Community offers people with Parkinson’s disease something they may have thought beyond their reach — an opportunity to experience the joys of dance.

Taught by dance instructor Katie Tranzillo of Belfast, Dancing with Parkinson’s will meet Thursdays April 22 through May 27 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., in the Anderson Inn at Quarry Hill. The class is open to those with Parkinson’s disease and other conditions affecting movement and to anyone interested in moving to music. No experience is necessary; canes, walkers and wheelchairs are welcome.

Tranzillo said her program’s emphasis on rhythmic, fluid movements, presented in a safe and accepting environment, helps participants release tension, increase flexibility, breathe more deeply and connect with others joyfully and creatively. For those with Parkinson’s, the gains may be even more significant.

“In class, we work both sides of the body and challenge different parts of the brain and, for some people, that can help reduce movement-related symptoms,” Tranzillo said.

For example, she explained, if one has difficulty with balance, one may benefit from learning how to transfer weight from one foot to the other. Those who have tremors may notice smoother, more controlled movement. But at its core, Tranzillo said, the class is not about addressing symptoms.

“It’s about using movement, creativity, body awareness and imagery to help people learn about and simply have fun with movement,” she said.

Building body awareness can help anyone — with or without a movement-affecting disorder — stand more solidly, walk more confidently and prevent falls, she said. And many people find that moving to music simply feels good.

Before moving to Maine last fall, Tranzillo offered Dancing with Parkinson’s classes to members of the Connecticut Parkinson’s Working Group. Experienced in teaching a wide range of dance styles, she has received special training to lead dance programs for people with Parkinson’s.

The fee for Dancing with Parkinson’s is $5 per class with a sliding scale available. Participants need not register, and drop-ins are welcome. For more information, call Tranzillo at (203) 915-9371.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.