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
After today’s movement art class (as well as previous classes) I have gained a better understanding of intergenerational programming. It is a coming together, both those of younger and older ages, in order to move towards a common goal as a team. In this case, it is practicing and having a better understanding of the day’s dance concepts. It is not as difficult as it sounds. Working as part of a team, we have learned to communicate our opinions on picking the next choreographed move as well as taking into account each other’s limitations. This is one of the most important things I have learned as being part of this program – communication.
We, as individuals, must learn to communicate clearly, reflect back to show an understanding, and practice other forms of communication – those that only come with experience, in order to not just communicate with older adults, but others as well. Clear communication allows a better understanding of each other. For example, giving an opportunity for our PAL to pick the next dance move has shown me that I was wrong in my thinking – older adults are “not with the times”. This is a stereotype that I no longer hold and one that others should not. An older adult may just not have been given the opportunity to show what they know. Overall, I have taken away from PALETTE in Motion, that we must all work on being patient in communicating with others.
Waimin Khuu, graduate student in Pharmacy
This Sunday’s class was definitely the most difficult class, but that also made it very enjoyable. In this class, we focused on rhythm and beat, and applied those principles to African and Brazilian music. Kayla, Michelle, and myself worked on movements to try to emphasize different parts of the beat, as well as focused on call and response techniques to create a choreography. Not only was this a workout of our body, but also our mind. It took an incredible amount of effort to focus on keeping the beat, as well as knowing when to transition to the next part of our dance. We stumbled a few times in the beginning, but with some practice our group was able to stick together and keep good rhythm.
My PAL, Michelle, never ceases to amaze me. She is always contributing ideas to our dance routines, and is open to try anything. Having someone like this truly is amazing, because her comfort in expressing ideas also gives me comfort in expressing ideas, and that combination allows us to brainstorm really well. We moved a lot this dance class, and I was legitimately sweating a bit by the end of it, and Michelle kept up like a champion. Age really is just a number, and not just a reflection of someone’s physical ability. I look forward to next week, where we can combine all that we have learned. I’m sure it will be challenging, but nonetheless an incredibly fun time as it always is.
Josh Simons, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Day two of class was much more comfortable than the first class. I honestly had no idea what to expect when signing up for this dance class, but the movements required of us during the first class were nothing that I had ever tried before, and by the end, I was still feeling a bit uncomfortable. While we repeated many of the same motion activities today, I was much more comfortable and was able to find a lot more enjoyment in the movement. During the choreography section I even really began to feel like we were expressing something through our movement, and we were creating art. I think the class generally was more comfortable with each other, and more comfortable moving together, which may have helped the creative juices flow.
I signed up for the class because I was excited about the intergenerational component. Today I was able to speak a little more in depth with some of the senior volunteers and enjoyed learning more about their interesting lives, but also to learn that they too were motivated to sign up for the class because of the intergenerational component. With both sides wanting to engage with, develop relationships with and learn from the other, makes for a really beautiful dynamic in the class.
Cara Whiting, graduate student in Physical Therapy
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