Older adults are often stereotyped in our society as being frail and unwilling to try new things. The participants that I have met in this class have been the exact opposite. Many of the seniors in our class have been the most enthusiastic participants, and they have demonstrated leadership in the small groups. Because the movement arts class is such a new experience for all of us, the seniors and students seem to have similar feelings of apprehension, curiosity, and eagerness. When my PAL commented that she didn’t feel very graceful, I responded that I felt the same way. Even though my PAL and I have vastly different backgrounds, we were able to bond over our shared experience of trying something new and different. We were both willing to give it our best effort, and we ended up having a lot of fun. In the past, I have sometimes assumed that older adults have a completely different perspective than I do. However, the process of participating in a movement arts class allowed me to see that my PAL and I have more in common than I expected.
Emily Glasson, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today was an extremely successful first movement based session of PALETTE in Motion. The class began with a brief introduction in which all participants sat in a circle. Sitting in a circle was a great way to ease everyone into the program because it automatically developed a sense of equality and community between senior, participant, dancer, and coordinator. From there, Melanie led us through a warm up that explored all parts of the body from the muscles in the face to grounding down through our legs. It was interesting to see the progression of the class; how everyone started out reserved and as time went on, personalities shined through. Sharing movement with a group of people who do not “study” dance was extremely humbling.
As our creative hats turned on, we began some small gestural improvisation. This is something that I, as a dancer, don’t have to think about but impulse brings me there. However, as I examined the people around me, I realized that mostly everyone else was hesitant or embarrassed to create a movement gesture. The classed progressed through a series of movement exploration activities such as mirroring and sharing eye contact while spelling your name through your body. I realized that by creating movement in a group atmosphere, we were all embarking on a journey of discovery together. We were all people given the permission to put aside judgment, and move freely based on impulse. We were all dancers.
Rachel Stanislawczyk, student in Dance