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Italian doctor finds cure for Parkinson’s Disease in Irish dancing

16th September 2014

Amazingly, he has found a way to connect both his professional life and his love of trad music.

The story begins in June of 2010 in Peppers Pub, a Trad hot spot located in the tiny village of Feakle (population 126), in County Clare. Peppers regularly offers Trad nights where customers can enjoy music, and if so inclined, participate in set dances. On this particular night, Dan Fox (Volpe’s stage name) was playing alongside Charlie Piggot, one of the founding members of De Dannan, and as the band was about to start, the Italian doctor noticed a man with an unsteady gait enter the pub. “Someone with Parkinson’s,” he remembers thinking.

About 20 minutes later the band opened the floor for a set dance, and Volpe was surprised to see the man with Parkinson’s among the dancers. What followed was incredible: the man who walked so unsteadily required no assistance to dance. Indeed, the man went through the moves effortlessly, as if he were a different person. Dr. Volpe was quite puzzled, and asked Charlie about a particular leg movement he noticed. Thus Dr. Volpe learned about the Reel step.


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