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
Walking into the dance studio today, there was a feeling of excitement and maybe a little apprehension as no one really knew what to expect from this experience. This is the first time movement art classes are being offered through the PALETTE program and I am excited to be a part of this inaugural class. As I conversed with fellow participants before the start of class, I realized that regardless of our different backgrounds and experiences, we were all starting on the same page today. We were all a little nervous about what was to come, but also excited to be experiencing something new. The older adult sitting next to me commented about never being too old to try something new. I think this is true on many levels. For all of us today, trying something new was participating in a movement class without really knowing what that meant. As a child, it was learning to walk instead of crawl. As an older adult, it may be picking up a new hobby after retirement.
Today, it was exciting to see both younger and older adults trying something new together. We started by introducing ourselves and then had a chance to be creative right away with moving and making shapes with our bodies, and connecting with and moving with others. We later worked in small groups and took turns leading others with our own creative dance moves. Everyone had a chance to lead and follow through this exercise. My favorite activity from today was moving our bodies through space to spell our name. I am well-practiced at using my arms to spell out VCU during basketball games, but found it a challenge to think about how to represent my own name and having more freedom to move about than when packed into the student section at a game. We had a chance to share our name dance with the entire group and it was absolutely beautiful to watch everyone share something they had created and that was unique to them. By the end of class today, I think everyone seemed a little more relaxed and much more connected than we had at the beginning. I am looking forward to making deeper connections as the movement classes continue.
Kelly Hainline, graduate student in Physical Therapy