Today we explored the concepts of expansion and compression in the body and in space. We also investigated quick and slow movement to begin choreographing small studies of how bodies can amplify time and space. As always, the movement explorations served as an entryway for all of us (older adults, students, dancers and people discovering dance) to unite in laughter, silliness, and creativity. Some Sundays I come to PALETTE tired, groggy, or stressed out. However, once we begin moving together it all immediately melts away. I am constantly amazed at all the beauty and openness in the room, and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces lights me up inside. I inevitably leave invigorated and inspired.
Before this program, I dreaded the thought of aging. Now, each week PALETTE puts my life into perspective: whatever stress or worries I have shrink when I realize how much of my life I have to look forward to, because I am dancing and laughing and sharing joy with people who have lived through it already. I am so thankful for the opportunity to move alongside people who might not otherwise experience dance in a space where we all move as unique equals.
Aria Roach, student in Dance
First off, I love every second of our Sunday afternoon sessions together! Seeing the room light up with positivity is an invigorating instance to be a part of. Being a dance and choreography major we can get lost in the rigor of our program and tend to only associate with other dance majors, our faculty members and on occasion other arts-based disciplines. This program is a nice way to ground myself in the reasons why I even began dancing when I was 8, and that being the fact that it’s just fun. I love seeing how willing everyone in the program is to participate and jumps right into a new art form without any hesitation! Whether the other participants know it or not, it is a wonderful learning experience, as a dancer, to see how dance-centered tasks get translated to non-dancer bodies of all ages. Working with different age groups and scientific disciplines creates a lovely dynamic in the space that establishes community and collaboration because everyone has something different to bring to the movement studies.
Todays work was stimulating to watch and be a part of because I could see peoples faces light up when they saw their own choreography come to life on other people! Working with Alice was a joy specifically because she went full out from the start of our choreographic exploration together! Another aspect of today that I had fun toying with was the memory component of the movement studies because it made people feel like they were working together to make something beautiful. Memory is a large part of dance and choreography so I’m sure people are beginning to trust this art form and fully submerge themselves in something completely new. I always know I can count on the short time we all have together to be an uplifting part of my week and I’ll always have a smile on my face while participating in this program! This integrated program also lets the different generations understand each other in a non-verbal way that we can all communicate with. For example, when we are all together it isn’t about how old or young you are or even how much or how little you’ve danced in your life its just about being together and present in the task at hand while generating enough positive energy in the room to fill the Grand Canyon!
Danielle Frye, student in Dance
Today was the second session of PALETTE in Motion. I couldn’t wait to enter the same judge-free-zone I had left two weeks earlier. The friendly and supportive atmosphere achieved during the first session had relieved all of my initial hesitations about dancing in front of strangers; I had quickly learned that no matter if you were a student or senior volunteer, we were all entering unknown territory and accepting the challenge at hand. I spent all morning anxiously awaiting the mid-afternoon movement arts class that I knew would make me feel joyous both mentally and physically. As I entered the dance studio today, I was excited to see new and returning faces.
Our task today was to move beyond spontaneous movements in order to try our hand at choreographed movements. The eye contact and coordinated actions required during the various exercises allowed me to connect with my groupmates on a deeper level than if we had simply talked amongst ourselves. My three person team composed of one senior volunteer, another student volunteer, and myself worked together to create a brief movement sequence – complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Our final product was achieved by giving equal consideration to each other’s ideas and communicating effectively. I noticed that the senior member of our group exuded confidence as all three of us engaged in this unknown world of choreography; not to mention, she had a huge smile on her face the entire time. After we completed our routine, we watched the performance of two student volunteers grouped with a senior volunteer of limited mobility. It was beautiful to watch as the two student volunteers structured their movements such that they framed the senior member dancing in the middle of the trio. I left today’s class feeling rejuvenated for the second time in a row. I only hope that I am as brave and confident as the current senior members when I’m old enough to be a senior member. Despite having only been with these wonderful senior ladies for such a short amount of time, they have taught me to never stop challenging myself, never underestimate myself, and most importantly, never stop having fun!
Kayla Miller, graduate student in Pharmacy