Debbie Sternbach is the Parkinson Foundation’s Bay Area dance chair for Moving Day®. Since 2015, she has worked to motivate, energize and inspire the PD community by leading both the San Francisco and San Jose Moving Day® dance presentations. Every year, she enjoys giving PD dancers throughout the Bay Area an opportunity to come together, learn a dance and perform on stage. Debbie choreographed the Bay Area’s signature Moving Day® dance, “Move It, Move It”, which is performed by the PD community and PD dancers prior to the Parkinson Foundation’s walk. In 2017, Debbie and videographer Richard Cox were awarded a grant by the National Parkinson Foundation to create beautiful, animated dance/exercise videos that would be free to people on line. She also created presentations and lectures about dance, music and Parkinson’s.
Debbie is a professional dancer and master of classical tap. With extensive training in jazz, ballet, theatrical and vintage dance and gymnastics, she brings over 35 years of teaching, performing and show production experience to her work. Debbie has a master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and is married to retired neurologist Robert Sternbach. Her father, Albert Freedman, had Parkinson’s.
Debbie trained with master teacher John Argue and his highly acclaimed Parkinson’s Disease & the Art of Moving program in Berkeley, California. She was also trained in the internationally recognized Dance for PD® program by its director, David Leventhal. In addition, Debbie studied with Dr. Becky Farley and her PWR Moves! program and received accreditation from that program. Debbie also assisted in Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Dance for PD® program for several months.
As an event producer and advocate for the PD community, Debbie produced and directed Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Dance Moves Me! A Tribute to Hollywood fundraiser, helping to support and sustain their Dance for PD® program. She also produced Keep Movin’ for Parkinson’s, a luncheon for leaders of the northern California PD community, with guest speaker Larry Strauss.
Debbie received her master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Boston University. As an audiologist, she worked at Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where her job included counseling parents of newly diagnosed deaf children. She is proud to have been the first clinician to introduce and use American Sign Language in their Aural Rehabilitation Department. Debbie was an active advocate for the deaf community in San Diego and also worked at Mesa College. In the Bay Area, she worked as a clinical audiologist for Kaiser Permanente, Vallejo.
Debbie was the director of Fascinating Rhythm Productions, a company specializing in customized dance entertainment for national and international corporate clients, opening acts for headliners and major hotels. She has danced in and produced shows for such stars as Julio Iglesias, Little Richard and Wynonna Judd and has performed as an opening act for Carol Channing. Debbie has also shared the stage with such stars as Tommy Tune, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. One of her most fun jobs was working as a featured dancer with Beach Blanket Babylon’s 20th Anniversary Show at the San Francisco Opera House.
As a solo tap dancer, Debbie has performed in shows with such tap greats as Fayard Nicholas, Cholly Atkins, Diane Walker and Sam Weber. For over twenty years, she studied privately with tap virtuoso Sam Weber. She is most proud of dancing in partnership with him for several years, re-creating and performing the original choreography of some of the most famous tap duets in history, including Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell’s Begin the Beguine. Debbie is a former student of the late, great tap master Stanley Kahn.
Debbie continues to be inspired by her PD dancers and enjoys collaborating with a variety of teaching artists. She feels that she is constantly learning from her students and is grateful to be so warmly welcomed by the PD community.