Dr. Christopher Duma in his office at Hoag Neuroscience Institute in Newport Beach. Duma has recently been working on "Symphonic Suite for Healing" with American pianist and composer Mike Garson. "Symphonic Suite for Healing" is music used for patients living with various disorders and ailments to treat the human mind, body and soul. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / February 18, 2014)

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The Dufaults, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, had danced together for decades by the time Nancy's condition set in, and they found that the movement helped to reduce symptoms. If the couple were about to go to bed on a cruise ship and her tremors began, they would simply get dressed and hit the dance floor until they abated.

"We've found that dancing to music substitutes rigidity for fluidity," Nancy said. "And what it does is it just makes you feel like you don't have any problems in the time that you're on the dance floor, because you can move with ease."

At Segerstrom, the two will dance a three-minute piece that combines Argentine tango with waltz — a combination that they requested from Garson. Several of the patients who chose the symphony's parts are expected to be in the audience as well.

For Duma, the Segerstrom performance will not represent the conclusion of a project but a step in an ongoing one.

The doctor's ultimate dream is to establish music therapy programs in Orange County and beyond. If his nonprofit receives enough donor funds, Duma would like to experiment further with the medium's affects on health — determining whether an Alzheimer's patient, for example, functioned better with a tune playing over an earpiece or if a brain scan showed different areas responding to diverse types of music.

"It can go viral," he said. "It can go nationally. There's no sense in just keeping it here in Orange County."

If You Go

What: "Symphonic Suite for Healing"

Where: Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

When: 8 p.m. March 1

Cost: Tickets start at $25

Information: (949) 553-2422 or http://www.music-heals.comhttp://www.music-heals.com