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
After my experience in PALETTE in Motion today (and the entire program) I have a better appreciation for working with older adults. I realized that just because older adults do not always move around and participate in as many activities as they did when they were younger, it does not mean that they do not wish they could. It is important to let them do what they feel comfortable doing, but also invite them to participate in any activity because they might just need an extra push to engage them. My PAL also commented once that she loves seeing young people do great things and interacting with us made her day better, so it shows how important it is to keep relationships with older adults. I also have noticed that a lot of the PALs are very excited and happy to be a part of this program and that makes me excited that I could be just as energetic as them when I am an older adult. Today showed me that these older adults really want to be included and we should never exclude them because of any preconceived notions that they are unable to participate because of their age.
Jennifer Dilger, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today was yet another special day spent with special people sharing the freedom and spirit felt from dancing. Nothing feels better than to release all worries and give oneself to the music, letting your body move through space without a care. We all truly feel that the studio is a safe space with no judgment, for we support and encourage each other when we perform and have fun being silly with one another. When it comes to dancing, age has no boundaries. Bodies were meant to move and be used as long as life allows, and it is inspiring to see how just how much energy 90 year olds still have! It is because of this that I cannot tell how old someone is! Maybe I am ignorant, but I always imagined that after the age of 80 people would be frail and dependent. My beliefs have totally reversed. I was blown away after talking with Bertha today to learn that she is 90 years old. She is so light on her feet and dainty when she dances! I hope to be just as full of life as her, at the age of 24.
I realized today how much this program means to the older adults, especially my PAL, Alice. She admires us students for enduring professional school, and is so appreciative of us taking time out of our busy schedules to dance and spend time with her. It is not just another time commitment on a Sunday for me, it is a joy I look forward to each week. I actually appreciate her spending time with me! Alice has taught me to live in the moment and enjoy the company you are with, not to hold back any feelings but express them, let each person know how much you care about them, and be yourself. She is easily overcome by emotions because she lets herself feel them fully and is so thankful for the life that she is living and the people she is spending it with. She is a wonderful human being and a friend I will have for life. I have learned that aging is nothing to fear, life may actually get sweeter because you can appreciate all of the little moments. I am thankful for Alice for teaching me this.
Carlin Tettelbach, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today in class, we worked on an activity where we moved with a beat, then held a pose while working around other participants in space. Something that our instructor Melanie said in PALETTE in Motion today really stuck with me—she said that she could really see all of our individual personalities coming out in our dance, movement, and poses. As I watched other people participate in the activity, I could really see what she meant. Just as we all have a unique way of speaking and thinking, we all have a unique way of moving and expressing ourselves through that movement. I really loved this because I think one of the problems we encounter when looking at people of different ages, is grouping them all together. People tend to put others into a group and label them as elderly, or teens, or middle aged for example, and make assumptions based on that label. I would not want others to make assumptions about me based on my age (or the age I look like), and I think this program is helping me to stop myself from doing this to others. Instead I want to focus on the individual, learn what makes them unique, and watch their personality shine through as they dance!
Hayley Parson, graduate student in Physical Therapy