Christina Tsoules Soriano is an associate professor of dance at Wake Forest University where she teaches a wide spectrum of courses in the dance program: Modern Dance Technique, Improvisation, Dance Composition, a first year seminar about dance and film, and a course she co-teaches with Rebecca Alexander in the Chemistry Department entitled Movement and the Molecular. Christina received her MFA in dance from Smith College and has danced for many inspiring choreographers, including Heidi Henderson and B.J. Sullivan most recently. In addition to the new works she creates for the Wake Forest Dance Company each year, Christina’s choreography has been presented throughout New England, North Carolina and more recently in New York and Vienna, Austria. Choreographic or teaching residencies include the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Amherst College, Trinity College (CT), Salve Regina University, Rhode Island College and Providence College.
In 2012, Christina was a key collaborator in a pilot study led by Dr. Glenna Batson that emphasized improvisational movement for people with Parkinson's Disease. This pilot included 7 community-dwelling adults who completed an improvisational movement class 3 times a week for 7 weeks. Outcomes were promising, as study participants showed significant increases in balance and improvements in quality of life. Furthermore, brain imaging performed on one study participant showed changes in connectivity of motor-related areas. Perhaps even more significant was the tremendous level of patient engagement. The class expressed a desire to continue dancing at the completion of the study. Some participants and their care partners have attended the class for over 3 years now, and new participants regularly join the group.
Last year, Christina received funding from the National Parkinson Foundation to hold 3 workshops throughout NC to share her improvisational approaches with the NC Parkinson community. She taught workshops in Asheville, Durham and Winston-Salem to allied health professionals, artists and other instructors who work in PD communities. In each workshop, Christina offered a mock class in a lecture-demonstration format and then encouraged participants to discuss the movements and develop their own improvisationally-driven exercises.
Visit Christina's page on the Wake Forest website to learn more about her work as an associate professor of dance and choreographer.
Glenna Batson is an Emertus Professor of Physical Therapy at Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Batson is a graduate of Hahnemann Medical University in Physical Therapy. She received her doctorate in clinical neuroscience, and taught in North Carolina State University state system in physical therapy for 22 years. A Fulbright Senior Specialist, Glenna has completed residencies in dance science and somatics around the world and played a pioneering role in the development of the field. She worked with Professor Soriano on the original 2012 study looking at dance to improve balance and mobility in persons with neurological disorders.
Christina Hugenschmidt is an Assistant Professor in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wake Forest's Center for Human Genomics, Diabetes Research Center. Her research interests lie in the interplay between physical health and brain function. She is currently leading several studies looking at the effects of exercise and weight loss interventions on the brain. She is also partnering with the Wake Forest School of Medicine's Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks to investigate the effects of exercise and weight loss on the architecture of complex brain networks.
Sukhada Gokhale currently freelances as a videographer/filmaker in Winston-Salem, NC. She has made several educational, promotional and short videos for non-profits, local businesses, and educational institutes. Before moving to Winston, she taught vilm and video production courses at the Art Institute of Charlotte, University of Central Florida and Full Sail University. Her works have been screened in various film festivals, galleries, classrooms and on television channels around the world. Sukhu has worked with Professor Soriano since she began her research on dance and neurological disorders and continues to document the evolution of IMPROVment.