Participating in adapted hip-hop dancing can improve the quality of life and social engagement in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP), a small study suggests. The study was published in Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria.
Dance is a form of exercise, but it is also a social experience and an opportunity for artistic expression, and it can be modified to suit the needs of people with limited movement abilities.
In their study, nine children and adolescents with CP took adapted hip-hop dance classes for 20 months (the study group). The intervention involved one-hour classes once per week. On average, the participants each attended about 21 total classes, in addition to at-home rehearsals and a performance. The average age was about 13 years old in the group, which was about evenly split between males and females, and between black and white participants.
For comparison, the study also assessed another nine children and adolescents with CP and with similar demographics who did not participate in the dance classes, dubbed the control group.
Specifically, although both groups had comparable average quality of life scores prior to the intervention, after it, the study group had significantly higher average scores than the control group in the transfer and basic mobility domain (96.1 for the study group vs. 81.9 for the control group) and in the global function and symptoms domain (89.2 vs. 78.9).