Today during PALETTE in Motion we explored expansion and compression. We moved individually to discover how expansion and compression can articulate the body, and moved in groups to discover how these concepts can be applied spatially. As always, dancing served as a unifying component of PALETTE in Motion, allowing us to laugh and step out of our comfort zones in a room full of smiles. I feel that the intergenerational nature of this program has shown me how beautifully unique people are at every age. Each person brings to the room their own experiences, fears, and self-consciousness; but also their own openness, energy, and encouragement, which allow the space to fill with positivity.
I had an interesting discussion with my PAL after class about the role of gender in dancing. This PAL had always viewed dancing and intuition as “feminine,” and saw masculinity as being defined by logic and order. My PAL said that the class is revealing to them how dancing from intuition can be genderless (just as I am discovering it is ageless), and that if we ask our minds to let go of preconceived notions, we can all move together as human beings. I find this reflection to be a valuable representation of my experience here as well. PALETTE in Motion breaks down many barriers: personal, generational, and physical.
Aria Roach, student in Dance
Last week, each group was assigned at least one student in the dance program. This is very helpful because inexperienced dancers (like me and I’m sure several others) were able to mimic motions if they were unsure about where their limbs needed to be
next. This week, all the dance students were part of a major performance, so they were absent and the physical therapy and pharmacy students were expected to take the reins. Don’t get me wrong, the dance students were definitely missed, but their absence allowed all of us to dive into our more creative sides.
The theme for today’s class was listening. By listening, I do not mean listening to words.
I’m talking about listening to actions, motions, body language…etc. Engaging in non-verbal communication made me recall the common phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”, which usually is used to label those who make promises or statements and do not follow through with them. Today’s class allowed to contemplate a different perspective of that phrase. At the start of class, there was an assigned leader that initiated motions, and then the rest of the responders reacted to the movement. It was amazing to watch how quickly we became comfortable with each other. We reached a point, within minutes, to where there really was no need for a leader because each group was so in-sync with each other. Watching people dance gave me a snippet of each of their personalities, which is something that may take hours, weeks or even months to discover in verbal conversation. Some were outgoing and goofy while others were more reserved and shy. It also reminded me that age really IS just a number and that we all, no matter how young or old, are just people trying to live life and have fun.
Aging is change and it happens to everyone. Most people do not like aging because of
all the negative-associated and uncontrollable changes that comes with it. I don’t know what’s in store for me when I get older, but I do know that there are several constants that I know I can control and keep: my goofy, outgoing personality and my positivity to enjoy life and have fun.
Teri Draper, 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
Today is the last section of the movement class for PALETTE program and I was really happy to have an opportunity to be a part of this amazing program. Today’s learning objective was move with tempo and working forming shape around negative space of body. People were forming shape around each other, which makes me felt we are really close to each other, and making body contact. I really enjoyed this afternoon. I felt tired but also satisfy after the section. I am really glad to see all the seniors try their best to participate the movement class and felt warm from them for all the supports. I remembered the first section people still felt awkward dancing in front of people; some seniors did not really participate. But today, everybody moved and laughed during the entire section. The program brings people closer together.
Pei-Chun Chu, graduate student in Pharmacy
The PALETTE in Motion experience has been amazing every week. This week in particular I noticed everyone’s heart rate was increased from all the full bodied movement we were doing. I thought it was really nice to see how everyone was able to connect with the music we were using in some personal way; it didn’t matter that we all come from different backgrounds and we’re at different moments in our lives, we all moved together. Moving down the soul train line with my PAL I felt so connected to her, partially I think because of how the music was making us feel, and also just because we were sharing a space together. Movement is present in our everyday lives but during the PALETTE in Motion classes we get to explore new ways of moving that we don’t typically get to explore (including the dance majors). You get to know everyone just by observing how they present themselves in the space. It also doesn’t matter what age you are, the movement still looks beautiful and there are always some sweet moments between smaller groups where you can visually see the trust and respect between the dancers. When creating movement, everyone is able to work together to create material as a unit regardless of your major or your age. I just love being able to dance with so many different personalities and see how differently people move.
Nicole Anderson, student in Dance