How Dance Affects Walking With and Without Music Cues in People with Parkinson's Disease

Thumbnail Image
James, Alyssa
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
The Department of Kinesiology seeks to provide an ample knowledge of physical activity and active living to students both within and outside of the program; by providing knowledge of the role of movement and physical activity throughout the lifespan, it seeks to improve the lives of all members of the community. Its options for students enrolled in the department include: Athletic Training; Community and Public Health; Exercise Sciences; Pre-Health Professions; and Physical Education Teacher Licensure. The Department of Physical Education was founded in 1974 from the merger of the Department of Physical Education for Men and the Department of Physical Education for Women. In 1981 its name changed to the Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies. In 1993 its name changed to the Department of Health and Human Performance. In 2007 its name changed to the Department of Kinesiology. Dates of Existence: 1974-present. Historical Names: Department of Physical Education (1974-1981), Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies (1981-1993), Department of Health and Human Performance (1993-2007). Related Units: College of Human Sciences (parent college), College of Education (parent college, 1974 - 2005), Department of Physical Education for Women (predecessor) Department of Physical Education for Men
Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Honors Projects and Posters
University Honors Program

The Honors project is potentially the most valuable component of an Honors education. Typically Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some will pick a topic of interest unrelated to their major.

The Honors Program requires that the project be presented at a poster presentation event. Poster presentations are held each semester. Most students present during their senior year, but may do so earlier if their honors project has been completed.

This site presents project descriptions and selected posters for Honors projects completed since the Fall 2015 semester.


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that does not have a cure. Symptoms include resting tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, postural instability, and gait disturbances. Although there is not a cure, there are many alternative therapies to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease. Dance is one such potential therapy. Research has shown that gait improves after 16 weeks of a ballet dance group. Ballroom dance, specifically tango, has also shown to improve various symptoms of PD. However, no study has investigated the effects of a combined exercise and dance program on gait, and if there are preferred walking conditions, such as walking with music, for those that do dance. Participants with PD who dance and those who do not dance, as well as healthy older adults were recruited. They completed five trials of three walking conditions, self-paced with no auditory cues, cued walking with a repetitive tone, and cued walking with preferred music. Walking speed remained constant across all conditions. GAITRite was used to collect gait parameters and electromyography was used to collect muscle activity. All outcome measures were entered into a 3x3 repeated measures analysis of variance to determine differences between groups and within conditions. The results will further inform the use of dance to improve gait in persons with PD.