Singing and Dancing With Neuromuscular Conditions: A Mixed-Methods Study

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The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and meaningfulness of a 15-week recreational dance and singing program for people with neuromuscular conditions. Within a transformative mixed-methods design, pulmonary function tests, plethysmography through wearable technology (Hexoskin vests), individualized neuromuscular quality-of-life assessments (version 2.0), and semistructured interviews were used. The interviews were analyzed through inductive, semantic thematic analysis. Although the sample sizes were small (six people with neuromuscular conditions), the authors found no evidence of safety concerns. There was evidence of respiratory improvements and reported improvements in swallowing and speech. The most notable quality-of-life changes included improvements related to weakness, swallowing, relationships, and leisure. The participants shared that the program offered meaningful social connection and embodied skills and safe and pleasurable physical exertion. The authors learned that recreational singing and dancing programs could be a safe and deeply meaningful activity for those with neuromuscular conditions that impact respiration.

Peers, Eales, Jones, and Toth are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation; Eisenstat, the Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, Faculty of Medicine; and Acharya, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Peers (peers@ualberta.ca) is corresponding author.
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