Last week, each group was assigned at least one student in the dance program. This is very helpful because inexperienced dancers (like me and I’m sure several others) were able to mimic motions if they were unsure about where their limbs needed to be
next. This week, all the dance students were part of a major performance, so they were absent and the physical therapy and pharmacy students were expected to take the reins. Don’t get me wrong, the dance students were definitely missed, but their absence allowed all of us to dive into our more creative sides.
The theme for today’s class was listening. By listening, I do not mean listening to words.
I’m talking about listening to actions, motions, body language…etc. Engaging in non-verbal communication made me recall the common phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”, which usually is used to label those who make promises or statements and do not follow through with them. Today’s class allowed to contemplate a different perspective of that phrase. At the start of class, there was an assigned leader that initiated motions, and then the rest of the responders reacted to the movement. It was amazing to watch how quickly we became comfortable with each other. We reached a point, within minutes, to where there really was no need for a leader because each group was so in-sync with each other. Watching people dance gave me a snippet of each of their personalities, which is something that may take hours, weeks or even months to discover in verbal conversation. Some were outgoing and goofy while others were more reserved and shy. It also reminded me that age really IS just a number and that we all, no matter how young or old, are just people trying to live life and have fun.
Aging is change and it happens to everyone. Most people do not like aging because of
all the negative-associated and uncontrollable changes that comes with it. I don’t know what’s in store for me when I get older, but I do know that there are several constants that I know I can control and keep: my goofy, outgoing personality and my positivity to enjoy life and have fun.
Teri Draper, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today I met my PAL for the very first time. After speaking with her I learned that she has a daughter in Australia that she visits once a year and that she has traveled a lot her whole life. What surprised me is that I found out she is a nurse. Because she is older than me, I didn’t actually think she would still be able to be employed. I learned that even I have stereotypes ingrained in my brain that need to be changed. Just because people are older, it doesn’t mean they sit at home all day.
I really enjoyed this intergenerational program because it has already taught me so much in one day. It was a bit of a challenge at first because I don’t have grandparents and it was nice to be able to sit down with someone older than me, full of wisdom and stories. She has hearing aids but laughed about it and it didn’t bother her if she didn’t hear something right away. She is funny and witty, I enjoyed myself with her and can’t wait to meet up with her again next week.
Suzy Tavakoli, graduate student in Pharmacy
Some stand statuesque while partners walk around one another, observing how we move, how we hold ourselves. Coming together into webs, where there were physical connections between everyone in the group. Breaking away, where every person drew away from each other, but still feeling that connection between the group. Everyone involved in each simple connection and movement. Each of these moments stood out to me from today’s class as ways of breaking down the walls and pre-conceived notions that are often between the different generations that met together today. Each movement pulled away blinders of age and simply allowed me to see a partner with whom I am sharing movement and expressiveness.
I am not exactly sure what I was expecting out of the first day in PALETTE in Motion, but it was better than I could have imagined. I was extremely excited to meet my PAL for the first time and to see what we were going to be learning. I was also nervous about what was going to be asked of us. I was worried that there might be movements that not everyone could do. That was not the case. There was some timidity at first, but by the end of class today everyone was so open and willing to jump in and move freely. I was in awe at the connections I could see between everyone in the groups on the first day, I cannot wait to observe how each group will continue to grow together throughout the semester. I can honestly say that I never envisioned myself continuing to dance as I got older; however, after today, I want to embrace growing older and confidently know that I will still be dancing.
Colette McFaden, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today was the last day of the PALETTE in Motion program. We had our showcase event where we choreographed a dance incorporating the difference dance elements that we have learned together throughout the movement art classes. It was amazing to see how much my group has learned together through these dance sessions. I remembered in the first movement art class, we were unfamiliar with how our bodies moved. Each movement required thought and the motions were uncertain and less defined. Today, however, as we slowly pieced together our dance, I can see that our movements were more spontaneous but yet more certain and confident. Not only were we more familiar with our own body movements, but we were also more familiar with each other and how our bodies moved together. Because of this understanding and comfort with each other, we were able to communicate with each other using nonverbal cues throughout the dance as we transitioned almost seamlessly from one dance segment to the next. In the end, when we showcased our dance to everyone, I felt like we were not only performing our dance to everyone but we were also showcasing our relationship with each other through these different dance movements.
It has been such an incredible journey this semester getting to know the PALs, especially my PAL Beverly. Beverly told me today that she retired a few years ago, but she is still so actively involved in our community that her grandson jokes that she has not retired yet. Beverly taught me that aging is not something to be feared but something to embrace in the future. Age is only a number; it does not confine us nor does it define who we are as a person. Instead, it’s our actions and attitudes that determine who we are and who want to be in the future as we age. I will take my newfound understanding of ageism with me and apply it to myself as well as my professional practice.
Yvonne Zhang, graduate student in Pharmacy
Today was the last day of PALETTE in Motion for the Fall 2015 semester. The group I have been working with over the past few weeks has grown tremendously in their ability to understand and comprehend the overall concepts of movement. Counting and establishing a pulse with music is a rather hard task for many people and communicating with my group about how to count was crucial. In the end, my group was really able to find and keep a pulse when dancing together.
I have realized how great it is to work with people from different areas of study and age groups. You become aware of how amazing and powerful dance is in bringing people together to accomplish a common goal. A common misconception among many young adults is that older adults are tired and stuck in their ways. PALETTE in Motion has shown me that this is incorrect. The older adults I had the opportunity to work with were more willing and excited about moving and learning new things than the students! They also completed every exercise with confidence and gusto! Aging should be seen as a good thing! It has been an invigorating and rewarding experience sharing and moving with everyone!
Kara Robertson, student in Dance