When it Comes to Dancing, Age has no Boundaries

When it Comes to Dancing, Age has no BoundariesToday 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

We Are All Humans

We Are All HumansThe first class today was a bit different than I had expected; I was thinking we would be having a dance class, where Melanie and the dance students would be teaching how to count music, showing positions, teaching basic movements, etc. However, I was surprised and excited to find out that the class was much more centered on individual creativity and improvisation. I was also very surprised how creative and unreserved the seniors danced. I had a preconceived notion before class that the older adults would be a bit shy, move a bit slower and wouldn’t be able to do some of the more advanced movements the students could do. I quickly found out this ageist opinion was very incorrect; overall the older adults were so much more free and energetic than the students! As I was dancing with my PAL, she was the one coming up with the quick, more advanced movements that I couldn’t keep up with! It was quite an eye-opener and it almost completely caused the generational-gap to disappear.

After just one class, I have already realized how similar older and younger adults are (after all, we are all humans!). Today, specifically, showed me how capable older adults can be. Society has the tendency to show senior adults as dependent, physically sedentary and uninvolved in the community. And because of the negative societal views on older adults, I have always just assumed I too would become dependent, physically sedentary and socially uninvolved as I age. PALETTE in Motion is already proving these stereotypes to be unfounded and is giving me a much brighter outlook on aging. I can honestly say the older adults in today’s class have inspired me and changed the way I look at aging. Growing older is something to embrace and to not be afraid of. I am very excited for the following classes and cannot wait to learn more about how dancing can bring generations closer.

Laura Morris, graduate student in Physical Therapy